I wrote about making it through high school PE, but my troubles didn’t end there. In my last semester of college the only thing standing between me and my B.A. in Russian History was a sports class.
I figured no problem, I’ll take swimming, but when I went to register all the swimming classes were full. What kinds of losers take swimming in college? If only I could have been one of them.
My choices were limited. I could squeeze in to field hockey, but that takes place outside, in a field. There was a spot left in softball, but on my list of fears playing softball ranks higher than nuclear war. I’m just that bad. The only thing left was archery. It was indoors, didn’t involve running or catching/throwing/kicking a ball of any kind…as good as it was going to get.
Have you ever seen a real bow up close? It’s enormous. The arrows are equally enormous. We’re not taking about throwing darts at a pub here; this was serious stuff. I tried to pay attention as the teacher droned on and on about safety this and be sure not to do that, but I was kind of sleepy. Apparently I missed some important things, but I am proud to say I did not harm anyone but myself. No one lost an eye, although admittedly it was close.
As long as we’re being honest here, the fact is that 99% of my arrows did not hit any part of the target. They either stopped short or went sailing over, or went to one side or another. Yes, the targets were huge, but they were pretty far away. As an expert archer, I can share with you that the trick to shooting is keeping your arm turned in; although I might have that backwards, maybe you’re supposed to turn it out? Details, details.
Whichever way was the right way, I couldn’t do it. And when you don’t have your arm turned in (or maybe out), every time you shoot an arrow the string comes back and snaps you in the arm, hard. After just two classes my arm was so bruised I looked like a junkie.
I had been dating Dan for a few months by then, and he was worried about how much more abuse my arm could take, so he took it upon himself to go to some kind of hunting store. Who knows what else he might have purchased there, but he for sure bought a long, wide arm guard intended for hunters. The good news is it protected my arm really well. The bad news is that the arm guard enabled me to continue to shoot with my arm turned out (or maybe in) and my shooting got even worse.
Whatever; all I had to do was go to class and mess with my bow, shoot a few arrows and call it a day. Here’s a news flash—the teacher didn’t like me one bit. Week after week, she looked at me with contempt while I gave her my biggest smile and then shot without even trying to show some technique. My IQ took a precipitous drop every time I spoke with her; golly gee this stuff was complicated. She’d sneer, I’d smile.
One day, through no fault of my own, one of my arrows randomly landed right in the center of the target. Bull’s eye!! I was smug as I turned around to look at my teacher, but she was still sneering. Dripping with sarcasm, she explained that what just happened was plain dumb luck. Well, duuuuh! Did she think I was delusional?
It was pretty annoying, but then I remembered that in just a few short weeks I would graduate from college and find some exciting high-paying job (we know better now), and she would still be there in that smelly gym, year after year after year.