Exercise does the body good, but more than that, sports get your mind pumping too but forcing a person to think strategically. So whether you are trying to sneak past the opposing team's defenses in a game of hockey, football or soccer - or beat them mentally in a game of courage like downhill skiing, or even outdoor activities like mountain climbing. Now before you ask "Is there competitive mountain climbing?" I checked, yes there is, and I even have a photo on the right of competitive mountain climbing on the island of Crete.
Basically if it is remotely physical, then it is a sport. This explains why a bunch of drunken Scots invented golf.
Archery - The Fastest Growing Sport in America!
You may have already heard that archery is the fastest growing sport in America. Especially since advent of all the movies and TV shows like The Hunger Games, Brave, The Avengers, Game of Thrones, Arrow, Revolution, and The Walking Dead. (Although to be fair the latter two are mostly crossbows.)
But what you might not know is that archery was ALREADY the fastest growing sport in America BEFORE those movies and TV shows came out.
And it has been the fastest growing sport in America for a long time. It has held the top spot since 2005, and 8 years later in 2013 is now growing faster than ever before. Which means that the recent media fuss in 2012 and 2013 over archery as a sport is actually behind the curve. It was archery that was popular first, not the movies and TV shows.
So if it wasn't the movies or TV shows that caused all the sudden interest in archery, what did cause it?
Honestly it all came down to a middle school club that started in 2003 in Alabama.
The project was created and approved in 2002 and 2003 it was implemented in 16 of Alabama's middle schools. By the Spring of 2003 75 other middle schools in Alabama applied to join the pilot program in an effort to get students interested in outdoor sports (Alabama has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the USA). In the beginning equipment was scarce so only 2 additional schools were approved for the program, despite the huge demand.
In the following years however more money was allocated to buying more archery equipment for school use and the program was spread to other states. Within years the program was available in all 50 states, and not just middle schools but high schools too.
The archery program caters to 5th-12th grades as part of an in school curriculum and topics covered archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, and self-improvement. Before being able to teach the archery course the teachers involved undergo a 12-hour National Archery in the Schools Program archery-training program.
The students shoot at bullseye targets placed before an arrow resistant net in their gymnasium. The equipment used is designed to fit every student regardless of size and shape. Initially each school kit includes $4,800 worth of archery equipment, but thanks to generous support from the archery industry the price was lowered to $2,641.
Unlike many other school sports like football, basketball, soccer and rugby this sport was available to all students regardless of physical ability. Everyone could join the archery club.
And being female was not a hindrance (although the more busty young women may wish to purchase sports bras) which meant that unlike football it was a sport both girls and boys could enjoy equally.
Since the program began over 400 American schools have either joined the program by completing the training and buying the kit or started their own archery club using different equipment.
And participation in archery clubs? It is now in the hundreds of thousands and ever growing.
The movies in 2012 gave archery an extra push to make it even more popular, but it was already a sport that was growing in popularity. So popular that even elderly people are getting into the sport because archery doesn't hurt the joints but makes for great resistance training.
In Canada there isn't the same support for school archery clubs, but they do exist both in high schools and universities. The University of Toronto has an archery club in the basement of Hart House, Rosedale Heights School of the Arts offers an archery club administered by civics teacher Stephen Young.
But what if your school or university doesn't offer archery? Or if you're an adult with a busy schedule? Well you can also get archery lessons from a Toronto certified personal trainer who offers that as an option.
And the plus side?
As sports go archery is a fairly cheap sport to do. Yes, the equipment can be really expensive if you go for the high end bows, but the more expensive equipment makes very little difference on the quality of your shot. Patience, practice and experience matter a lot more.
Which means archery is a sport YOU CAN DO!
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