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Archery is a true test of champions
Pulling a string and sending an arrow flying through air with the flick of a finger, looks effortless compared to other Olympic sports.
It requires no running, or lifting, no swatting, kicking or shooting a ball. As an uncoordinated reporter with a fear of pulling a muscle, my knowledge of archery was limited to watching the 1993 Mel Brooks movie, “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”
If Dong Hyun, the legally bind South Korean archer, could hit a target the size of a softball from 230 feet away, how tough could it be for someone who easily passed the eye exam at the DMV?
Faster than I could say Cupid, I learned it’s a lot tougher than it looks.
“To become an Olympic champ takes years and years of training,” said Joe McGlyn, owner of Proline Archery in Ozone Park, Queens, who volunteered to give me a few pointers Sunday.
Alarmingly, safety is McGlyn’s chief concern. It’s hard to shoot yourself, but you can severely scrape a forearm or a boob if you’re not careful pulling the string. You can also develop some gnarly calluses on your fingers.
I was fitted with half-harness contraption that partially covered my left breast, a mesh covering for my forearm and a leather ring to protect my fingers, but I quickly learned how heavy the bow is and how much of a strain it is pull the string.
My target was only 26 feet away, a fraction of what U.S. hot shots Brady Ellison and Miranda Leek aim from at the London Games. But finding the bull’s-eye through a tiny sight while shaking like Shakira was nearly impossible.
I starred the target down with my right eye, then my left, before going back to my right. McGlyn instructed me to pull the string back until touched my chin.
When I finally let it go, I felt a powerful sensation tingling through my body, frightened how much damage I could really if I were shooting at a deer.
But the only thing that got shot down was my ego when the arrow hit the bottom left corner of where I was aiming, nowhere near the rings of the target.
My best arrow stuck in the fourth ring, sending my spirits soaring.
“It’s just fun hitting the target,” McGlyn told me. Then he turned as serious as Rex Ryan in the fourth quarter, and put me in my place.
“There’s a difference between hitting the target at 10 meters starting out and hitting the target at Olympic distance,” he said.
With that, I left the course to ice down my sour shoulders and arms, and marveled at the accuracy of the true Robin Hoods.
So I’ll be watching the American men archers Tuesday with some genuine appreciation — and a sore right arm.