Maybe the biggest success was just leaving the house?

Right now life isn’t easy, there are a long list of things happening and I am waiting on tests and results on top of all of that.
I haven’t been able to shoot properly after upsetting my back, literally 3 weeks ago today I couldn’t put my foot flat to the floor and I am blessed that my physio is also my friend and that my coach is my best friend because that is what it took to get me through that particular evening.
So today was going to be my first real competition with Calliope (my new bow). Booked weeks ago and long before all of the things that have hit to add to the usual struggles.

I had finally managed to get my first class badge with the 2021 outdoor season – 3 years in the making and hard earned.
So I came to the outdoor season with a goal and a new bow!
Tried a frostbite on Boxing Day and couldn’t finish, then the back!!!
Had a couple of issues leading up to this week, like sitting crying with my laptop because I could not press the on button and having to call the office to admit that my mental health had tanked.
Sunday morning arrived and I love competition, I am only shooting against myself and never have an expectation of the actual event itself.
But today it was tough, really tough, for a variety of reasons. Still struggling with the concept of sitting to shoot some days, because no matter how much support you have, some days the voices who are trying to push you down are louder.

No you can’t see what is wrong with me, no you have no right to ask or to share your opinion of me, but some feel it’s ok to tell you if you can’t stand you shouldn’t be shooting.
So, feeling vulnerable and having a rough week, I discover my agent is not joining me.
Why am I trying? Why am I fighting, surely just quitting would be easier!!
But I have people in my life who know how I would view that later if I gave in!!
So with some encouragement I took a deep breath and left the house, not easy and I have, in the past, spent weeks/months in the house unable to step outside so never underestimate the effort it may have taken to step over the threshold and go outside.

By the time I arrived I was sobbing, tears streaming down my face, but I knew there were people inside that range who would support me, and all the things in my head trying to tell me to go home would be wrong if I could just get out of the car.
So I walked in and indeed there were people, archers who don’t need information but I just reached out and said I need your help, I need to shoot today to allow me to continue tomorrow or that may be the end of my shooting for good.

And help they did with no information, people who knew me, people who didn’t, getting me and my kit in, set up and onto the line. Three different agents over 2 sessions.
Pretty? Not at all!!
Though there were a lot of photos taken so I will see if I looked like I might have vaguely had a clue how to shoot!
Scores? Who cares? First competition with a new bow, no agent and overwhelming anxiety.

I came home with 2 silver medals for the single and the double rounds but they are more like medals for surviving the day.
I cannot thank the people who got me through today enough and I look forward to returning to the same venue in 6 weeks to shoot again, hopefully with a smile on my face.
But also, from my day, came learning.
A club who saw me and the issues and reached out to ask some questions about the stool and how I felt and a realisation that actually they have never really taken into account some elements around seated archers, so a conversation with the judges and some new things in place to allow them to support anyone who shoots with them to be in the most comfortable environment that they can be.

It makes a difference to know a club welcomes anyone and will work with them to get things right if they realise they can improve.
So on a day when my biggest achievement was leaving the house and not letting the voices in my head beat me and take away my sport, a positive experience for us all and one that will hopefully help others in the future.
My point? Be kind, always kind because you never know what someone went through just to be stood in the room with you.

Author Archives: Helen Sharpe

I completed my beginners course in January 2018, the last in the house to pick up a bow.

I love my sport and along with shooting whenever I can, I volunteer - a lot!!!!

I believe that we are all lucky enough to have found a sport that welcomes everyone, regardless of age or ability.

Outside of archery I am a trading standards officer and having worked in enforcement for over 20 years I love rules and so when I grow up it’s my ambition to become a judge.

On the weekends just to top up my archery hours, I am the Saturday girl at Aim4sport.

Archery has also made me realise that what I had thought might be a little OCD to my personality - is actually much more than I thought and I think it’s because of this that my favourite target face is the Vegas 3-spot - shoot my arrows in number order at the targets in order - all of my happy boxes ticked.

But my belief is simply enjoy every arrow you shoot, regardless of how your day is going - where else would you rather be than at the range.