The past couple of weeks have been very hectic. Last week things came to a crescendo with work projects piling up and the highly anticipated Mid Atlantic Section Championship, at Lower Providence Rod & Gun Club, taking place over the weekend. With everything I had going on between work and play, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it to the last 3D Archery Shoot of the year at Hamburg Game Association.

I shot the Section Championship with the other staff members on Friday. It was a beautiful day to be on the range and everyone enjoyed themselves. I spent all of Saturday at the range helping to run Bay 4 of the match. By the time we were finished, I was sore, tired, and sun-burned. When I got back hom,e all I wanted to do was sit back and relax.

When Sunday rolled around, I packed my things and was ready to head out the door to help once again. My hand touched the doorknob and I stopped. Sunday would be a shorter day at the range but I just had so much work piling up. Would I get any of it done or would I relax like I did the day before?

I walked away and set my things down. I knew that if I went back down to Lower Providence I’d get even further behind with work. Instead of helping with the match, I’d stay home and get some work done so that I didn’t get impossibly behind. But, I had friends shooting and I wanted to see how they did, I couldn’t just not go. I picked my things back up and headed for the door once again. This time I got the door open before stopping. This was crazy, as much as I wanted to go I’d be setting myself up for an impossible task at work if I didn’t put a dent in my workload. I closed the door and walked away, this time with no turning back.

I made myself a cup of coffee, got a cigar out of my humidor, and sat down to get some work done. The project was a mess and I had even more work ahead of me than I anticipated. I got to a point where I felt better about my workload and glanced up at the clock. Four hours had passed and there was a little time before registration closed at the Hamburg Game Association Sunday 3D Shoot.

Shooting the 3D Course would take a couple of hours as opposed to the all day event at Lower Providence. I grabbed my bow and headed out the door to spend a little time outside and clear my head. In anticipation for working the Mid Atlantic Section Championship, my daughter was spending the weekend with her Grand Parents so I was flying solo this time.

I spent a little time chatting it up before I set out to shoot the course with Zena. With her shooting a brand new bow that hadn’t been completely sighted in yet, I thought maybe I had a chance at keeping up with her. I was wrong and she proceeded to outshoot me target after target.

It didn’t help matters that I was off my game. The past two days spent running around in the sun left me more fatigued than I thought. I struggled to keep my bow arm steady and noticed that I wasn’t following through with my release. I was jerking the bow up slightly as I released the string. My shots were all over the place and I managed to completely miss at least four foam animals. Of those missed shots, two lead to lost arrows.

Despite putting up a miserable performance, which was the worst one since I started shooting again, I enjoyed myself. I’m glad that I was able to identify my problems but it would have been nice if I would have been able to overcome them. I had a few decent shots but I wasn’t able to put it all together and stay consistent.

As usual, the course layout was different from the previous shoots. Even though the Match Director is limited on the amount of land and shooting lanes he has to work with, he does an excellent job of mixing it up. I spent a little time after the shoot talking and it sounds like there are bigger and better things in store for next season. I’m very much looking forward for what he has in store for his shooters.

Joining The Hamburg Game Association

With the Hamburg Archery Season coming to a close, I have a massive void that needs to be filled. My daughter loves spending time at the club with me and, the family that runs the Archery Program are good people. They’ve made both my daughter and I feel welcome and continue to produce quality matches week after week.

I’ve been having an inner-battle with myself as of late. Do I join Hamburg despite the Archery Program being finished for the year or do I redirect my time and effort? Volunteering to help the club isn’t mandatory but being the way I am, it isn’t even a question. If I join the Hamburg Game Association, I’ll be offering my time and energy into helping the club.

The concern I have is that the Archery Program is small. The club survives on selling drinks through its social quarters. Shotgun Sports and Archery are a perk, so to speak. This is the area where I’m having trouble deciding. To put it plainly, I have virtually no use for the bar. I don’t drink very often and if I want a beer in Hamburg it will most likely be enjoyed at Cigars International, with a cigar of course.

Shotgun sports are fun but I’m already a member at Oley Valley Fish & Game. The club is a very active Shotgun Club and does Sporting Clays, Trap, and Skeet every week. If I ever get the urge to dust off my Remington 870 and bust some clays, I’ll head over to Oley. Not only is it a little closer, there isn’t nearly as much traffic along the way.

This leaves the Archery Program being the only real benefit to me. The Field Course is in dire need of repair and has been closed for some time (I hear Superstorm Sandy really did a number on the woods). What I’m left with is a practice area, which requires the purchase of an archery button to use, and virtually nothing else since the field course is closed. The Archery Button is cheap but the practice area is closed during shotgun events and pavilion rentals. I’m afraid that it might turn out like the Muhlenburg Area Shooting Association where I get an email blast every month with a giant list of closings.

In the end, everything hinges on the Field Course. I enjoy walking through the woods and shooting. My daughter loves walking through the woods helping me find the targets. Now that I have a bow for her to shoot, I want to be able to continue to do that with her. I want to be able to give my daughter the same fond memories that my Grandfather gave me. That stems from being able to walk through a course and shooting at various targets (preferably animals) at varying distances. I genuinely don’t care if the course is up to a national organization’s standards. I just want to be able to walk through the woods and shoot with my daughter (and maybe my wife if her school schedule allows and she shows an interest).

We aren’t talking about a lot of money to join, I think it is $20 per year. Its just that I’m a member at 3 Gun Clubs and adding another annual membership fee for a club I’m only going to get a little use out of seems like a waste. At this very moment I’m not sure if I’m ready to commit to joining and helping the club if I won’t be able to shoot there for another 4-5 months (when 3D Season starts back up).