The outdoor season is now firmly behind us, with Katie representing the county in the last of the outdoor shoots over the weekend and AoR shooting its first full indoor round earlier today.
Reports have reached me of Katie shooting yet another Personal Best and hopefully I’ll have more on that story shortly. In addition, it was good to see several of our new members shooting their first full indoor round and posting initial personal bests – well done to Richard Wise Junior, Richard Wise Senior and Jonathan Spicer who also shared their success with me at the end of the session. You now all have something to aim for next week.
However, the best news of the day was seeing Helen and Dave Fox join us. For those of you not in the know, until recently, Helen devoted a lot of her time and effort to the club as Club Secretary and she is the lady responsible for securing our recent lottery grant that has enabled us to invest in badly needed new equipment. This will primarily be used enable us to attract new beginners into the sport of archery. With three new beginners last Saturday, potentially eleven more this Friday and the November course now full, the club is well on its way to its lottery target for the year.
Seeing Dave arrive was an added bonus for those of us who have been with the club for a couple of years or more. With his health deteriorating both Helen and Dave felt it necessary to put archery behind them for a while and they dropped out of the club, albeit armed with an honorary club membership awarded by the outgoing Chairman (Tony Kemp) at the club’s last AGM.
When Dave was just 17 he suffered a broken spine which resulted in two eight inch rods and no less than ten bolts being used to hold him together. Following three lots of major surgery and suffering with spinal deterioration he is never out of pain, regardless of the massive drug intake that he has to cope with on a daily basis. Just getting out for a couple of hours of shooting is an effort and major undertaking and it results in an afternoon in bed and heightened pain to be controlled the following day.
Now Dave is no average archer within the club. He has been a key member of the club for a number of years and he has helped to introduce countless numbers of people into the sport, not least coaching Bradley Denny in his early days. Through additional coaching with Roy Harris and at county level and now national level, Bradley has already represented England and he is now looking at the real possibility of joining the Archery GB squad and taking another step towards his Rio dream.
Anyway, we digress, confined to his wheelchair Dave arrived at the club earlier today with his usual broad smile (some things never change) closely followed by Helen carrying his bow. The round to be shot was a Portsmouth and with his bow setup and his chair straddling the shooting line, the shoot began. Between ends, Dave went up to the boss, called out his scores and with each end the smile just got bigger.
The shooting line was full and having not shot much over the summer I was happy to shoot the occasional end. Towards the end of the shoot, I dropped in alongside Dave and was pleased to share a few ends with him and share in his enjoyment of the session. However, I was even more pleased to see his final score.
Take into consideration that Dave is in constant pain and other than an hour or so practice in the summer of 2011 (which does not really count) he has not picked up his bow since March 2011 (that’s 18 months ago), and at his last shoot he shot a Portsmouth and posted a score of 466. Today, he scored an impressive 463, that’s just three points less than he scored 18 months previously, with no real practice in between and only the usual six sighters.
PLUS, he then had the audacity to bang an arrow right in the centre of the target, almost taking out the tiny X, in his last three arrows of the session. When congratulated, he simply shrugged his achievement off saying that “It’s just like riding a bike”, once you learn you just don’t forget. There has to be a lesson in there for all of us somewhere.
All I can say is – Welcome back Dave and Helen.