My host, Andrew, was around today, and he suggested we engage in one of his weekend hobbies: archery. I’ve always wanted to try archery, and had even signed up for a class in high school (but unfortunately never got the chance… the thuggish coach explained that there wasn’t enough equipment, so the girls would learn archery while the boys “got” to play football; do I sound bitter? I hope so). So we drove to Olympic Park, where the 2000 Olympics took place; the archery range was the site of the Olympic archery competition.

It was a lot of fun: I paid $20 Australian for an hour-and-a-half session, with a droll lesson included, as well as periodic tips throughout. I used a recurved bow with a 20-lb pull; Andrew had his own snazzy collapsible 40-lb bow. We shot around 10 “ends” (rounds of volleys, with six arrows to an end) at a target 20 meters away, and Andrew assured me that I did adequately. My top score was 41, out of a possible 60 (that’s around 68%… a high “D”. Me fail archery? That’s unpossible!). I missed the target completely on a few arrows, but got at least one bullseye (10 points) and several gold-ring shots (9 points). For the last 4 ends, they attached balloons to the bullseye, and while I missed it the first end, I popped it the last 3 rounds. I was pretty happy about that. My technique definitely got better as we progressed, but my arms and fingers got more sore. It’s a surprising amount of work to hold the bowstring back while you’re aiming, compounded (pun partially intended) by the trembling as my strength sapped away, making aiming even harder. I’m not an athletic guy, but if I went again, I think I could make a decent showing when I was fresh.

I think I got a bit of a traveller’s cold, so we laid low the rest of the day back at his place, doing a bit of work, and then walked to his favorite local Thai place for dinner… amusingly enough, called Sawasdee, the name of my favorite Thai place in Raleigh. I had a delicious green curry noodle tofu dish, with just the right amount of spice to leave me glowing and alleviate the cold symptoms.