Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olympic Archery, not just for the boys

Being an archer in Ireland can be frustrating as arrows don’t like the rain. Máire Hackett says damp ground pulls the arrows down and can make outdoor shooting difficult.

Picture Credit: The Irish Times
 Hackett took up archery a year ago and already has a target in her garden. “I have three boys and a few dogs,” she says. “I lock them away when I’m shooting. The dogs, not the boys.”
One son worries she might be arrested for having a lethal weapon in the house. But she admits her male friends struggle more with her new hobby than the women do. Training with the Wicklow Archery Club twice a week, Hackett says she has no interest in killing anything, that shooting with her Recurve bow is just a sport.

But it’s one the slightly-built 49-year-old takes seriously.
Sitting outside a cafe, she jumps up mid-sentence and demonstrates how to maintain “form”. One fist under her chin, the other arm stretched rigidly ahead of her, she plants her hips in a move familiar to anyone who’s seen Robin Hood in action. “There’s a lot of physics involved in getting it right. But I love the sound of the bow. I love the sound of hitting the target,” she says.
Hackett says archers are a close community, maybe because there are so few of them. But she hasn’t held an Olympic party in spite of her excitement.

“It would be the sort of thing you’d pause and watch slowly,” she says. “It wouldn’t be a group thing with a few drinks. It’s a serious business, you have to concentrate.”

This is part of a series of interviews: 'The Minority Sports Report' I did for today's Irish Times


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