My grand-daughter has begun participating on her school’s archery team. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her! She and her mom began archery skills almost two years ago…when she was just seven. Their biggest enjoyment came from doing something together outside or inside…either at targets in a field or at an archery range.

And I learned a lot about the sport I did not know. There are re-curved bows, crossbows, and “guideless” bows. She has learned how to shoot bows with sights/guides and without. Her form has to be different for each one.

The fact that she wanted to join the school’s team when she was only 8 years old blew me away. She has gone to three competitions so far and scored better each time. This Saturday she will participate in a State of Iowa meet at Johnston High School. Two weeks ago, she participated in the Greater Des Moines Metro meet with over two hundred other kids.

When I saw her picture at her first meet…8 years old…standing between kids who were a good head and shoulders taller…my heart swelled with pride. That takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there where everyone in the stands can see how you do, or don’t do. It’s a solitary sport, even though you are part of a team from your school. You stand there, by yourself, aim the bow all by yourself, use your own strength and steadiness of eye and hand and let the arrow fly.

And she had to shoot FORTY arrows…at targets put out at varying distances. That’s a lot of pulling back against the “pull strength” of your bow string. And a lot of aiming. And a lot of remembering your form and stance. All by yourself.

That takes a lot of guts…fortitude…confidence. And she did it!

taking aim

Her mom did a great job in telling her that first time that the goal was simply to shoot forty arrows. Hitting the target was not the object. Just being able to pull that string and get those arrows down the lane was the goal. We were proud of her simply for doing that.

Also, her mom gave her something she could repeat to herself as she stood on the line, “Back to the Basics: S (stance) T (target) A (anchor) R (release)…STAR.”  And when one round of arrows didn’t quite go where they could have, mom saw her moving her mouth telling herself, “Back to the basics.” Then she turned and planted her feet in the correct stance, and went on from there. What a great thing, to know you know inside yourself what to listen to and succeed!

The Olympics continue this week, and I feel for those athletes who are skiing down a mountain…on their own. Figure skating…on their own. Cross-country skiing…on their own. The luge and skeleton competitors, hurtling down an icy track…on their own.

When I look inside myself, do I think I have to do this thing called “life” on my own? Do I have to pick my goal and plan my path and practice what I’ve chosen…on my own? Thank God, the answer is, “No!”

Life takes guts, no doubt about it. But I am not alone. I have not gotten off on the wrong path and left God somewhere behind me. He is with me every step of the way, and He can give me strength, guidance, a calm spirit and the insight to get me through. I only need to quiet myself and listen.

by Cindy Best

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