You only have archery in your life !! – Helen Sharpe26th February 2021
Approximately 18 months ago, as I sat amongst the parents as our children were all in their coaching session, another parent threw these words at me in anger:
“You only have archery in your life!!”
As he stood there looking at me quite obviously waiting for me to argue with him and list all the things that I do outside of archery
My reply was in fact:
“without people like me, who give back – your sport, our sport, wouldn’t function on any level!”
So yes, I am proud to say I have, outside my day job and parenting, given much of my time to my sport.
On that day I could list myself as:
- Parent of archers
- Wife of an archer
- Club safeguarding officer, treasurer and health and safety officer.
- County secretary and county representative at regional meetings.
- Regional safeguarding officer.
- AGB ambassador.
I had also recently had the privilege of stepping into the county captain’s shoes to take care of the county junior squad at a competition when the county captain was away at work.
So, yes I would appear to have nothing else in my life other than archery!
Well, be honest, can you find me some spare time there for a hobby!
Those who know me well know I am incapable of sitting still with nothing to do.
What many see as a chance to chill and relax? I simply see as immensely stressful and makes me restless – often leads to mischief and trouble.
So 2020 brought a pandemic and lockdown, restrictions and furlough.
How to fill that time?
Well I started, along with a lot of the nation, by trying to work in the garden, it’s seriously neglected ordinarily as we concentrate on shooting those arrows.
This was however short lived when I stuck my leg on a tree and found myself with a hole in my leg!
So what to do now I have no work or shooting?
Lockdown 3 has also found me being approached by people new to furlough asking this whilst the range is closed and they have no access to the shooting that helps with their mental health.
I stumbled across studying, haven’t done any for a while so decided to see what might help in that list of roles whilst I was injured, furloughed and the ranges were closed.
Nearly 12 months on I have now completed 3 level 2 courses around mental health and safeguarding related topics along with some other shorter courses.
May 2020 saw the opening of ranges under restrictions, many people on the committee and coaches were on the shielding lists so with the help of 3 willing volunteers I took on the task of getting the club open, which was made easier by the many webinars and sessions related to archery and multi sports that I had sat in on since early April.
As we have rolled from lockdown, restrictions and tiers this has been my focus to allow anyone who wants to shoot the chance to be able to shoot. Our sport ticks so many boxes but in strange times many want that time on the range to help with their mental health.
I have worked with the NGB to get disabled archers back on the field last summer, when they do not have an agent in their household.
Now in lockdown 3 I am agent for an archer who is able to shoot under the disability exemption.
I am constantly in webinars, training sessions and meetings in our sport or across other sports working together to keep grassroots going.
Do I only have archery in my life? Probably, is it an insult? – never. I will work to allow people to enjoy my sport, our sport because I love it and all that it can give.
Would I recommend you give as many hours as I do to volunteer – no!!
Would I recommend you find a way to volunteer even a couple of hours a year?
Absolutely, because in my opinion, you will get something back if you give even a little.