How Al Taylor got started with Field Archery
I did not go along to archery to take it up. I was the driver for my son (Alex) and his school friend Murray Briton. Back in 2006 I dutifully ferried my son along each week and watched, from the back.
There was this wonderful old gent (Jim) who lavished hour after hour on the new archers. You could see the passion in Jim, he really enjoyed the progression of the youngsters.
Each week Jim would come to me with a big smile and say "Come on have a go" and I would always say "No no I am just the driver".
Jim would sit there and tell me all the things the youngsters were doing wrong and telling me what Alex needed to practice. All this slowly rubbed off on me and I started, in my own wee way, to understand what Jim was telling me.
One week, in a moment of weakness, when Jim came over with is usual call, "Come on have a go", I surprised him (and myself) and said "OK".
Jim rushed off and found me a bow to have a go with. He was not going to let this opportunity go.
I shot a few arrows that night and pondered later that I did actually enjoy it. BUT I was worried that if I took up Archery it would put my son off it. The next week I could not help myself and was back on the line, lobbing arrows all over the place, but Jim just kept pointing out what I was doing wrong and each week I slowly started to get the hang of it.
After a few months Alex did not seem put off by me joining in. Especially as I was now understood and could see that Alex had progressed so far the he really needed his own bow. Alex chose to follow recurve archery and this allowed me, a few months later, to go down the line of compound archery to become an Adult Male Freestyle Compound archer (AMFSC). I saw this as a good way of not putting Alex off, although being rubbish helped a lot.
I have enjoyed Archery over the last 7 or 8 years ( I lose track of the time), and since being persuaded by my chosen club, West Lothian Archers (WLA), to take part in the various competitions that enjoyment has only grown.
The nature of Archers is to be friendly and helpful to each other. Yes there are those that feel the need to win but they appear few in number and the field archers I have encountered in my time have all be there to enjoy the day and the company. Some of the Archery humour can be a wee bit base at time but it is all part of the fun (I mean when you are talking about shafts half in, it’s going to get a giggle).
Some archers are always willing to impart there knowledge and experience to help you along, it done from the goodness of their hearts.
I would encourage all to come and have a go. You may surprise yourself. Just remember when you get advice from all sides….. Do what’s comfortable as that’s what you will revert to.
My memory is not great. It’s a bit like value pack Swiss cheese, the stuff with extra empty space. So I will put down as much as I can recall. I will also not cover all the events I have entered, don’t was to bore you too much.
I am not including Alex’s memories. He can do that himself.
March 2010, SFAA Scottish Indoor Championship 2010
I entered this competition with real fear. I had not entered a competition before and this just seemed too real. I had been the previous year when Alex entered.
The day arrived and Alex and I ventured down to the venue in Musselburgh. There were a lot of people there and we were nervous of what was to come.
We had arrived so early we were able to keep our minds busy by helping out with some of the setting up. I have since found that this is a good method of calming the nerves on the day and you get a good feel for the layout.
It was amazing to see all the people arriving. There were so many and thankfully most looked just as green as I felt. Alex had found his friends and was completely distracted.
Soon enough the sheet with the target numbers was up and I could stare at the target I would be shooting at. It was useless those 4 round eyes on the target never blinked.
Then all too quickly the competition started. I had no idea how many other archers shooting the same style as me so I just got on with the task at hand.
All the practice over the previous weeks seemed to help and I was soon racking up what I thought was a fairly decent score. Then it happened….. My son came over and told me I was currently 4th. I could not believe it. Of course my one and only remaining nerve got up and left for the bar. Thankfully it was time for the lunch break. I broke the rules (as I keep getting told) and noshed down on sandwiches, chocolate biscuits and coffee. I am always told coffee and chocolate are a no no at a competition as it introduces a type of high that can throw off your shooting. For me it has never been an issue and I will continue to break that rule ;0)
The shooting resumed and I just carried on where I left off.
As it turned out the two people who had been in 2nd and 3rd spots before the lunch break must have had too much chocolate and coffee as there scores dipped and in the end, with total amazement I walked away with the Silver medal. All the others shooting AMFSC were so nice to me, I could not have asked for better.
I was so chuffed that I took a picture of it and copied the score sheet and sent it to all the people I knew.
My first competition medal.
Al Taylor Archery Achievments.xlsx