June 21, 2012

Archers and arrows everywhere

I don't know if 2012 is really the year of the archer at the movies, but it feels like it because films featuring bows and arrows have been released one right after another. Since March, archers have been prominent characters in The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Snow White and The Huntsman, and in the upcoming Brave. You've got Katniss Everdeen, Hawkeye, William, and Merida. It's more than that these are characters who just happen to own bow and arrows - being talented at archery is an integral part of who they are and their skills are showcased in their respective films.

So many bowmen/women/people on the big screen seems to be a weird coincidence (or maybe not, it could be a conspiracy planned by some archery supply corporation), and as a result, archery is currently one of the hottest sports around. I like seeing a centuries old activity in the spotlight. So much so that even Louis Vuitton incorporated arrows into a recent window display. Crazy.

After The Hunger Games swept the nation, archery clubs reported a marked increase in interest and membership. A Los Angeles area club, the Pasadena Roving Archers, has even had to turn people away. They have the following note posted on their website regarding their free Saturday morning beginner classes:
"Due to the release of the Hunger Games movie we are experiencing a dramatic increase in the numbers of people wanting to take archery lessons. We normally recommend people be at the range by 7:45 am to ensure a place in a class. That is not working at the moment - by the time we arrive at the range at 7:30 am to prepare for classes there is already a long line of people waiting to register and so we can not reliably recommend a time to arrive at the range.
Sales on equipment have gone up, too. I can only imagine the effect The Avengers had on the number of people interested in archery. Brave will be out next weekend, and I hope it encourages a flood of young girls to ask their parents to go to the nearest archery range. Well, boys too, but I'm especially excited about Merida being a great role model for little ladies.

She certainly has good shooting form. An archery coach, Jim MacQuarrie, posted about Merida, Hawkeye, and Katniss over on Geek Dad. He observed their shooting methods in the trailers, and Merida and Katniss come out on top. Hawkeye gets less than great marks. The articles are fun and educational reads; you can find them in this list.

Will you be trying out archery because of any of these films? Are you already an archer?

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  1. I'm an archery instructor actually, got certified last summer as part of a Girl Scout camp project, completely unrelated to pop culture. I really need to find some of these excited people and run some classes out by me!

  2. My local archery range seemed to start advertising their presence this spring and it makes me wonder if they did that in response to the films / seeing such articles.

    So my plan is to start to take archery, but my interest was renewed when I found that one of my local woodworking store had classes on how to build longbows every so often.

  3. Funny enough; we have a saying here similar to "when pigs fly", that's "the year of the goalkeeper"... It's "golero" here, but you can also use "arquero", which is the same as "archer". :)

  4. Suddenly I understand why I bought a bow and arrows one week ago and have started going to the local achery range.. Well.. it's also because I've always wanted to, and because I just started larping!

  5. Hehe I love how archery is in a prominant spotlight now, too ^^. It's an underrated practise.

    Thanks to trips to places of history (English Heritage and Natural Trust places...Mostly for historical battle sites), years ago I used to have a wooden bow with sucker-arrows...Once caught a bug in mid-air, splattering it on the target! As gruesome as it was for the bug, I still think it was a damn good (albeit lucky) shot! XD


  6. Interestingly enough, my wife just approached me randomly about two evenings ago and said she wanted to take up archery.

  7. Dang. I've been slowly researching my best approach to taking up archery as a regular hobby, as I even more slowly save up money for the equipment (hobby spending is way down for me since I bought a house last year, not long after I reconnected with my bow-hunting friend). Sounds like I should let the hub-bub die down a bit first.

  8. Or just do it cause you want to, Peregrine! Segui il tuo corso et lasciar dir le genti.

  9. Exactly @Peregrine, go cause you want to!

    I'm going to try out the Pasadena class tomorrow morning. I'm cosplaying Merida later this year, and I want to make sure I know how to hold a bow properly. Additionally, I think it will be fun. It's one of those sports I always wanted to try (I don't think the one day of doing it in high school gym class counts), and it's about time I went for it!

  10. Heh. Well, who am I to argue with Dante? There's a class in Pasadena, huh? I was thinking of visiting Archer's Haven (Monrovia or Arcadia, I forget) to see what classes they have there.

  11. I'm an okay archer with compound or longbow. My wife has been picking up on it too. But one thing that will never make it to movies is the SLING. I take my to the archery range with a bag of rocks (free ammo!) and everyone asks me what it is. No one would understand what it is if they saw one in a movie either. And the actors wouldn't spend the time learning it.

  12. @Peregrine - Yep, and the folks were super nice!

    @Stonesthrow - I bet if you pay the actors enough money, they'd take the time to learn. :)

  13. Already a competition target archer but I am so glad to see that there is more interest in the sport with the onset of these archery themed movies. (Hawkeye unfortunately has TERRIBLE archery form :) )

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  17. I am a hunter. I always liked characters who could use the bow in the movie. Love Jennifer Lawrence <3

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