An article on Science Daily today outlined all the horseshit ways idiotic parents of feeble children can fear that their incompetent larvae will maim themselves when they pick up the relatively low intensity (but totally AWESOME) sport of archery. Citing the recent popularity of archery in the media in things such as TVs Revolution, and Arrow, movies like Brave and The Avengers and books like The Hunger Games, they offer some sage words of advice for any befuddled parent of a child looking to emulate its favourite bow-wielding protagonist.
“Most would think the obvious injury would be accidentally shooting yourself or others with an arrow, but it’s actually injuries involving shoulders, elbows and wrists that predominate,” F. Kay Brown is quoted as saying in the Science Daily article. Brown, senior occupational therapist at Harris Health Quentin Mease Hospital, then continues to outline that a child looking to get into archery should be able to nock an arrow and pull the string. Things soon get even more ridiculous when it is recommended that a beginning archer consults a family physician… to start archery… yeah.
Now, I am a bit of an archer myself. I don’t claim to be a good one, but I was a bow technician for a while, have sold and serviced many bows, and talked many people through their first few shots. I applaud the article on pointing out that getting hit with an arrow is highly unlikely, but I condemn the fear mongering and needless paranoia of the rest of it. Maybe I’m crazy, but if your kid made it to kindergarten age, you as a parent probably have the faculties necessary to make the rest of the article unnecessary.
Archery uses a lot of weird muscles that don’t get much use in day-to-day life for most people, and once you get really into it can involve some pretty powerful forces working on your body. It’s also a sport with a huge amount of misconceptions about it, leading a lot of people to start out with gear that is incorrect for them- and that can lead to injury. But if your kid has an actual coach, and you yourself can tell your ass from a hole in the ground, your child will emerge from archery practice unscathed except for a few welts along their forearm (which many, many, many young archers get- don’t bother with an armguard just yet. Just tuck in your pinky and ring finger and quit throttling the grip and that will clear right up). Are they shaking when they try to draw? Looks tough, doesn’t it? Get a lighter draw. Kid can’t draw even the lightest thing available at the shop? Maybe next year kiddo. Your kid watched Brave and wants to be like Merida but you don’t know your bows from your arrows? Find somebody to teach them, don’t just go out and buy the first archery kit you see.
And really, shouldn’t you be more excited that your kid has taken an interest in sport and is outside and off the couch than immediately terrified they’re going to cripple themselves? It’s not MMA or bullfighting or Russian Roulette. Football, karate, hockey, hell even just running can wreck you just as bad and often worse than anything picking up a bow will do to you. I appreciate we all want to keep our kids safe, but there’s no need to consult a physician for every little thing in their lives- just use some common sense, don’t push them to over exert themselves, and make sure whoever is teaching them something knows their stuff inside out and backwards. Am i a crotchety over-reacting blowhard? Probably. Let me know what you think in the comments!