Olympics provide an appreciation for archery

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, July 7, 2015

When the Olympics come around, I become obsessed with the tradition and competitive nature of which country is the best at a particualr sport.

The last incarnation of the Olympic Games were fun and exciting. I watched Serena Williams perform a dance representative of some groups in her hometown of Compton, Calif. I watched the United States basketball team thoroughly beat every opponent and the gymnastics team perform at high levels to bring home a slew of gold medals. The intriguing thing about the Olympics is the display of smaller, niche sports. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor excelled at beach volleyball, and I was exposed to events I didn’t know were considered Olympic events like rowing and archery.

I took an interest in archery because it seemed to require a lot of determination and skill to hit a precise target from a distance. My school district in North Carolina, more or less, had traditional sports. I could have been a decent shot-putter in high school if I hit the gym and I wasn’t tall enough to play basketball. I did enjoy memorizing dramatic monologues for speech and debate, and loved being a member of my school’s step team. Archery was just one of those things I had to admire from afar.

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Recently, the Vicksburg Warren School District voted to make archery a sport in its high schools. While researching the sport and talking to VWSD Superintendent Chad Shealy and Warren Central archery coach Matt Brewer, I found out bowhunting is common for students in Vicksburg. I always wanted to try shooting a bow and arrow, but my aim is so terrible I can’t drop a piece of paper from my desk into the trashcan 10 inches beside it. I also learned from Brewer how safe the sport is, since shooting arrows at a fast rate may seem a bit dangerous.

The idea to implement the sport into the school district, even though there is a large majority of schools in Mississippi already participating, seems fun and exciting. It makes me wish I was back in high school, so I can have the opportunity to try something I’ve only admired from my television screen every four years.

I also believe this is a great way to get students involved in athletics who might not be fast, tall and well-spoken. It’s a chance to have fun with their peers and share a commonality in something meaningful to them.

Alex Swatson is a staff writer. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, Ext. 178, or via email at alex.swatson@vicksburgpost.com