Three years ago I was substitute teaching some for extra money, (my real job is as a copy editor.)

One day I was at my old junior high school taking over a friend’s English class on what I still think of as the archery field.

The children were fascinated to know PE class used to include a week of archery. I was fascinated that anyone would think this was a good thing. Archery terrifies me.

And as so often happens, I started explaining, and it started sounding ridiculous to me….

Every year in spring Mrs. Tilson marched us across the campus in our little white shorts and bright yellow — which they cooled up by calling ‘gold’ — striped T-shirts. We stood with our backs to the busy street, facing blocks of hay with targets on them, and heard about the dangers of the feathers.

That’s right, the feathers.

‘Don’t get your fingers in the way of the feathers,’ is how the speech began. ‘When they whiz by, they’re like razors. They will cut your fingers.’

And then came the worst part. Mrs. Tilson told about the kid who held the arrow too close to his face, and when he released it, a feather sliced his eyeball in half.

In preparation for writing this entry, I Googled ‘archery dangers,’ ‘feather dangers’ and ‘archery safety tips.’

Guess what. Mrs. Tilson is the only one who knows about the feathers.


6 Responses to “Archery”

  1. roberto Says:

    It is good that you are a skeptical free thinker and don’t take the word of your PE teacher even decades after the fact. You do me proud, girl.

  2. Lori Says:

    o.k. I have the best, well maybe not the best but pretty good story on archery in p.e.
    Like you, I always thought this was a pretty ridiculous thing to have for p.e. also.
    Get this ….. in my p.e. archery they had the hay stacks set up inside the running track. Where the lucky kids who had track for p.e. would run.
    Yes, run behind the stacks while stupid kids were doing archery.
    One day poor little Sammy Coyazo was running and all of the sudden I saw him go down. Yes, with an arrow in the side of his head.
    It was horrible!

  3. Toni Says:

    oh, that IS the best archery P.E. story. that’s for posting. i love it.

  4. gunky Says:

    i know that you didn’t even have to get out the year book or a report card to remember the name “Ms Tilson”.

  5. aloft52 Says:

    It is too bad there are those that think of archery as “bad”. Is it dangerous? Sure, but when safety rules are implemented by a RESPONSIBLE adult instructor, and observed and practiced by RESPONSIBLE students then it becomes no more dangerous than football and other sports, driver education, or eating lunch in the school cafeteria. (that last example required some consideration. :)There are millions of kids out there enjoying the outdoors at archery events with family and friends. It beats the hell out of letting them(kids) hang out with other teens at a week-end party or rave. If archery is not to your liking then don’t knock it, let others decide for themselves.

  6. aloft52 Says:

    I found that recording you recommended by Loreena Mckennitt, it is very beautiful.
    Thank you,

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