Today I had the best opportunity I could ever have as an archer when I came to Nottingham. I had just volunteered to work on the European Archery Championship right in the heart of the grand Old Market Square. It has been quite an adventure with the greatest archers of Europe and my first visit to Nottingham. I have picked the best event to come to the midlands, as the best archers from Denmark, Holland, France, Italy and Russia play against each other alongside Great Britain just as they are preparing for the Rio 2016 Olympics. With an early morning start to the day I got up and headed for the Old Market Square, just behind the hotel. It was such an easy walk I was starting to think that maybe I should have had that lie in this morning. But I don’t do sleep, there are too many things going on the world to miss out on. One thing that I wasn’t going to miss was this big event. I had a lot to enjoy and plenty of work to do. All in the manner of doing a great service for some truly amazing people who I had to serve. They were counting on me to see through their years of training to become champions.
First up was compound Saturday with Great Britain vs Netherlands and it was a mighty great battle to begin. Here was my home country playing on home soil qualifying for Rio in the rankings only a few days. The Dutch crushed Britain’s chances of taking the bronze but the girls did brilliantly. I watched some of our favourite girls play and shoot well. Later in the day I watched the Danes play against Russia in the men’s team and it was one of the most exciting games I had ever seen. The Danes managed to what words I could not describe with, score twelve 10s in two sets. It was so unbelievable it resulted in a tie that led to a shoot off. In the end it ended up with Denmark taking home the medal. It was so spectacular I had to hand to the Danes for being Europe’s best compound archers. Later Dane Stephen Hansen took the gold in the men’s individual round. That was a good way to round it off.
There was also a chance encounter with Merlin Archery’s ‘Grizzly Jim’ Kent. I talked to him about my campaign and how good the games were today. He was very interested in my proposal for core Commonwealth archery. He suggested I also ask about barebow in the CWG. I told him I’ll think about it but I think he needs to try something a bit more entertaining in his barebow adventures if I am to sell it to the president.
Later I found myself talking to the relatives of one of the archers about my activities with archery. There was some pretty interesting stuff and I found that archery has got a good entrepreneurial flair after all. There are some archers that are very good at gaining sponsorship deals and promoting sport to greatness. I was delighted to meet a friend who I had known from Facebook for a while. It was nice to see someone in person for the first time. I think if you have cyber-friends that you like really well then you should go out in pursuit of them and make contact with them. It was nice to know someone like Vikki for a friend and I am glad to have joined her circle. After the event I went to join her and her husband Paul at a pub nearby. It was a good friendly atmosphere and we made a really good impression on Whatsapp. I ended up talking to Ms Caughney, the mother of Scottish junior archer Shaun Caughney. I told her about my work on campaigning for core Commonwealth archery and she was happy for me and would welcome the day that the CGF will be willing to take on my proposal. This group of amazing new friends found me to be a lovely young man who was worthy of their company. I told them about some of the blogs that I had written for Legend Archery and in particular some things about archery that they had never heard about. Such a wealth of knowledge from a grand geek.
I stuck to my usual rules of exploring the local cuisine and to my delight we picked a really good place just next door to my hotel. As it happens Nottingham has a very big Indian culture where there are a lot of Indian restaurants so we went for a curry at a nice place called Curry 77 in Maid Marian Way. It was a nice atmosphere there with plenty of jokes going around. I think I may have overfed myself there. There was a plentiful supply of poppadums before the main course! After all that I have never felt so tired. Right let’s prepare for tomorrow’s game, it’s Recurve Sunday.
Okay let’s go into Recurve Sunday from here. I found my own bowmen playing with three sets of Team GB playing for medals. First up were the girls team against Germany. Consisting of Naomi Folkard, Briony Pitman and Amy Oliver. They played really well but sadly they were beaten to bronze. But they had a lot of fun and so did I watching these magnificent ladies shoot. Later I saw the men’s team play against Russia with Patrick Huston, Larry Godfrey and Kieran Slater. They almost scored gold but took home a sensational silver. It was a great lining to what was coming next. A couple of days ago Patrick had secured a place as an individual shooter for Team GB in the Rio Olympics. He later shot in the men’s individual and took the bronze in a splendid display of accuracy.
I went up to him afterwards and I got him to sign my volunteer badge. Looks like I got first sports collectible to treasure to go along all the other autographs in my sci-fi collection. I will defintely be looking out for him on TV in August. There was some talk with him about my campaign for core Commonwealth archery and he was glad to meet me. I told him how pleased I was to see the petition on his Facebook page and that I will hopefully one day see him shoot for Northern Ireland in the games. Perhaps I might be challenging him to a shoot off in Durban or Gold Coast! Talking of campaigns I spoke to some of the staff from Archery GB who were happy to see me there. I found some useful connections to help me further the campaign and get me into the good books of the talent development team for my own archery prospects. Good things abound, and I will be looking forward to getting back to where I need to go once my exams are finished for this year. Once that is done my main priorities will be to get in contact with Louise Martin CBE and to develop my business to improve archery and kickstart a revolution in archery equipment.
At lunch I had a talk with new friends about how my skills in entertaining the crowds along with Robin Hood has come from my past as a sci-fi fanboy. I remember when back in the day I used to be an active autograph seeker and collector of toys, DVDs and books for Dr Who, Thunderbirds, Star Wars, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Red Dwarf. I can vivdly remember the entertainment on offer at those conventions which included a lot of cameradery from cosplay entertainers dressed as Daleks, Marvel heroes, etc. From there and from my artistic friends at the Queen’s Theatre I learned how to roar up the crowds by playing along with the cast. That also got me thinking about a way in which archery can be promoted at conventions. i know from my own experience as a sci-fi fan that I was first introduced to archery from watching Robin Hood films. I reckon if I had seen an archery try out range at a convention I would probably have taken up the sport a lot sooner. Archery is gaining in popularity from fantasy films and TV and yet the archery community hasn’t really found a way to connect with getting all these film fans into archery through conventions. If you get archery classes in conventions you might some potential Olympians through these conventions. It would certainly be a big publicity tour for Archery GB with wannabe Katniss Everdeens, Robin Hoods, Hawkeyes and Meridas.