Pros and cons of becoming an archer

I’ve been doing archery for about two years now, I think. I like it a lot, and I’m pretty good at it. But I’ve noticed that even something as fun as archery has a few down sides.

Here is a list of pros and cons of becoming an archer.

Pro 1: Better posture.

If you’re doing it right, you’re supposed to use your back muscles to pull back the string. Back muscles are much bigger than shoulder muscles and can take a lot more strain. I’ve found that after a few hours of archery, my back muscles stay tight and I stand up a lot straighter.

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You can’t hear it, but my back muscles are screaming here.

Con 1: Tension headaches

The down side of using your back muscles to pull back the string is that your back muscles stay tight all the time. This has a tendency to lead to pain that crawls up my spine and tries to strangle my brain. Tension headaches bite.

I had a tension headache the other night that felt more like a severe migraine and lasted until two hours after I tried to go to bed. I felt like someone had stuck an ax into the back of my head and was hammering on it.

Pro 2: Increased finger strength

This is true especially for those of us who do the type of archery I do: recurve (or traditional) archery. Most archers who use compound bows also use a release that means all of the weight of the string is on their wrists. However, people like me hold all of the weight on three of our fingers. Which has the effect of beefing up our fingers.

Have you ever had to carry a lot of groceries and it felt like your fingers were about to fall off? I don’t really have that issue. My fingers (at least on the right hand) are used to dealing with worse.

The only down side to this is that the ring that wear on my right hand is getting a tad tight. Well, not the only down side…

Con 2: Dead nerves in fingers

One possible side effect of putting a lot of pressure on one very small spot, like a string on a finger, is that you might hurt the nerves. A few months into my archery career, I realized that my protective finger glove was far too thin. I thought that I was just getting used to the pain on my fingers (and on in particular), but turns out no.

The tip of my finger had just gone numb.

I was a little alarmed when I first noticed, but when I called up my dad (who is also an archer), he just shrugged and said, “Yeah, that happens.” It took a few months, but after I got better finger protection, the feeling did return in my finger.

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Side note: Do you have any idea how hard it is to type when you can’t feel the tip of your finger? It’s not easy.

Pro 3: Increased zombie apocalypse survival chances

Let’s be honest, most of us wouldn’t make it ten minutes in a zombie apocalypse. But I feel like we archers have a little better shot (archery pun. I am not ashamed). At the very least, we can hit the zombies from a distance.

And arrows are reusable, too. Unlike bullets.

Con 3: Mostly an utterly useless skill in normal life (if you don’t hunt)

I mean, it’s cool that I can hit dead center of a target many yards away, but that’s not something that’s going come in handy most of the time. I’m not a hunter, personally, so I can’t even use my archery skills for that. I’ve got this awesome skill that I use mostly just for fun and stress relief.

Pro 4: Really cool fictional characters who share my hobby

Whether it’s Katniss from Hunger Games, Susan from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or Legolas from Lord of the Ring, everyone loves the archers. They’re always the coolest member of any fictional universe.

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Stop drooling ladies.

Con 4: Undying annoyance at fictional archery mistakes

It is a general life principle that once you know how to do something, it becomes hard to watch stupid actors attempt to do that thing on a screen. Sometimes the production company pays for the actors to actually learn to shoot. Sometimes the actor can figure it out.

Most of the time, watching actors try to pretend they’re shooting anything just makes me laugh or rage. Take this example from one of the Hunger Games movies:

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First off, her left arm is so hyper-extended that it is a miracle that she doesn’t have forty bruises on the inside of it. Then, I have to ask where is the anchor point??? She’s holding her drawing hand in MID AIR.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble Hunger Games fans, but she’s hitting nothing. Except by pure luck.

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Archery is a ton of fun, most of the time. But, like anything, it comes with a few down sides. Not enough to make me want to stop doing it, but plenty enough to inspire a humorous blog post.

Bonus: Please enjoy this feature that my university’s sports show did with me.

The enchantress in Beauty and the Beast is a huge jerk

I promised you all a Beauty and the Beast post, so here it is.

I haven’t gotten a chance to see the new live action Beauty and the Beast yet, but it’s definitely on my list of movies that I want to see. However, I did recently watch the original animated version a few weeks ago in anticipation. It was the first time that I watched the movie in probably 5-10 years.

And I noticed something. Watch the opening sequence from the movie and see if you come up with the same thought I did.

Did you catch how old the beast was? I feel like the first time I watched this, I was too distracted by the narrators lovely voice and the creative stained glass visuals. The movie itself seems to gloss over the point. But I think it’s kind of important.

The narration specifically says that the beast would be condemned to eternal beast-hood if he couldn’t find someone to love him by his 21st birthday. First off,  a lot of my friends and I would likely be out of luck, if that were to happen to us. How many normal people manage to “find love” by the time they’re 21? Forget it, if you’re a big hairy monster.

But more importantly, that means he was less than 21 years old  when the enchantress cursed him. The narrator says that “many” years have passed since that event, and it’s been long enough for the town folk to have completely forgotten that they had a prince that lived in an enormous castle not that far from town. One has to assume that “many” years means at least 5, if not 10.

So… wait. The enchantress CURSED A CHILD?

What. A. Jerk.

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From this picture, the beast looks to be a little older, probably mid-teens I’d guess. So, let’s assume he was 15.

Have you ever met a 15 year old boy? They can be selfish and rude, sure. But most teenagers have their heads shoved so far up their own butts that they can’t seem to focus on anyone else. They’re immature, but that’s normal.

I’ll grant you that as a prince, the beast probably should have had better manners, but the point remains that he was a kid. And apparently, a kid being raised without his parents’ guidance, because they’re nowhere to be seen in this movie. I’m not sure if they just abandoned him or succumbed to whatever illness that always seems to kill Disney mothers.

Taking stock of what we’ve learned so far, that enchantress cursed a probably lonely, definitely orphaned or abandoned, 15-year-old kid with a curse that could only be broken if he basically did the impossible. I’ll say it again. What. A. Jerk.

That’s not even mentioning the fact that she cursed his entire castle! What did those poor servants in the castle do to deserve that? What, were they supposed to be able to convince their prince that he shouldn’t be such a jerk? That would have gotten them all fired, and left to become penniless peasants. It just feels like this enchantress cursed them out of either spite or negligence, and I’m not sure which is worse.

If you go back and watch it again, you’ll notice that there are actually lots of problems and plot holes in this overall charming movie about learning to love someone for what’s on the inside. But nothing is more ridiculous than the enchantress cursing a kid and his entire household for being rude to her.

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I mean, that is a gross mismanagement of magical powers and she should definitely be reprimanded by some sort of Court of Fairies, Wizards, and Otherwise Magical Creatures.

Hmm… I sense a short story approaching.

See you all on Sunday!

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Speaking of Sunday, the next episode of Contra Mundum will be on blowing glass and other forms of art with my very own sister. It’s a fun, Informative, and unintentionally hilarious episode.

Until then, catch up on the podcast with last Sunday’s “Talking Tech” episode.