May 14 – National Archery Day

Posted on May 14, 2016

If you're a toxophilite, you probably already know that, in the United States, the second Saturday of May is Archery Day.

I know that toxophilite sounds like someone who loves toxins (poisons), but it really means someone who likes – or is expert at – archery.

In other words, someone who knows how to use a bow to send an arrow flying through the air to hit the intended target.

Check out that bow!
(And I bet you thought such folks were called archers or bowmen. So they are, of course! But somewhere along the way, this other word was also created! Aaaaand, I guess someone can be a fan of a sport without actually doing it. There might be a few “armchair archery fans” somewhere about; I gather from the “fond of” part of the definition, they too can be called toxophilites.)

This ancient activity used to be more about getting food to eat than about sport, but of course even prehistoric people liked to play at important activities in order to get better and better at them. There have probably been archery contests as long as there have been bows and arrows.

Archery is considered one of the safest sports, and even though it seems like it wouldn't require a lot of stamina – you stand still in one spot for long periods of time! – it does of course require strength and stamina to hold a bow through those long periods of time, not to mention the muscles needed to control one's body well and keep consistent form while shooting. 

To be really good, archers tend to lift weights and do cardio exercises; the weight training increases strength, and the cardio helps with stamina.

I thought it was interesting to realize that archers still compete in the rain – and they have to adjust their shot, knowing that arrows will fly lower when they're getting hit by raindrops. Also, if there is wind, you might have to aim off the target for it to actually hit the target!

By the way, archers don't keep shooting when there is lightning! After all, the bows and aluminum-filled arrows could act as lightning rods.

Here are some reasons to try archery:
  1. It's a sport you can do all your lifetime. And you don't need to find a team. Neither of these is true about, say, football!
  2. You can do it in bad weather. Can't say that about tennis, unless you have an indoor court available.
  3. It's in the Olympics and the Paralympics. Something to shoot for!
  4. Interest in archery is on the increase, and so are college scholarships for the sport.
  5. Last but not least, archery is so darned cool!

To learn archery, try websites like this one

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