William Tell he’s not. But John Weisbarth gives it a darn good try.
John Weisbarth brings us the Newbie view of many different sports via television, his website and his vlog. He’s a seasoned on-camera presence with an endearing ability to laugh at himself — a necessary talent for Newbie Commentary, and one which, as Newbie Archer Girl, I strive for. He’s also a terrific all-around athlete (which I most definitely am not!), as you can tell in his video “Can You Hit The Bullseye?,” featured this week on Wonderopolis.org.
USA Archery’s Facebook page featured the link as a story on getting an archery lesson at the , which was why I looked at it. We do get to see the Olympic Training Center — for about 15 seconds — and we meet Guy, a mysterious man with gangsta sunglasses and really great teeth, who may or may not be an Olympic Archery Coach. Guy knows some stuff – like that an armguard is not a prop in the “Thriller” video — but it’s not made clear what his actual position is. He certainly does not coach John. But he’s cute and he smiles a lot. It’s all good.
How Does He DO That??
John is apparently one of THOSE guys ( like my husband) who can do anything well the first time they pick it up. (I think I “Grrrrrrrrrrr-ed” last time I mentioned this, but it bears repeating. Bears… see what I did there? Ack, sorry, ADD attack.) Good thing, too, since the second instruction Guy gives him is to ignore the sight. In fairness, the target distance is 18 feet, so there’s not a lot of trajectory to worry about.
Then John shoots.
Now being a Newb, I am totally unqualified to critique or analyze form. (After that caveat, I can say anything I want, right?)
I can’t help but notice that John, without any coaching at all, seems to know his way around a recurve. His shoulder and arm alignment look pretty good, his bow arm elbow is rotated correctly, and his release is a nice, passive relaxation of his string fingers. (Yes, I DO see him grasping the bow. Ha! He’s not perfect!) I can’t tell what the draw weight is on that bow, but whatever it is, he has absolutely no problem with it. Unfortunately for us, the viewers, we don’t see Guy coach him to that point, so we don’t get the benefit of Olympic-level coaching for free. Darn it!
And Now, The Inevitable Apple…
The video is great fun. Our hero John laughs at himself as he displays his mediocre archery skills (which are still WAY better than mine), and cracks up when challenged to shoot 30 meters because “we have 12-year olds who shoot that.” He and Guy both shoot at an apple suspended over the closer target while the William Tell Overture plays — and when John knocks the apple off without hitting it, he remarks, “Scared it.” The deadpan tone is priceless, as is his enthusiastic “BOOM!” when he finally hits that rare and elusive Malus domestica. It really is a joy to watch.
*** TRIVIA ALERT ***
John asked one question Guy could not answer: why are the arrow feathers called “fletches?” As a Certified Word Nerd, I could not let this lie, so I looked it up on the Interwebs. For those of you who don’t already know, but do care (because you share my deep and twisted love of etymology), the word “fletch” derives from Old French “fleche,” thought to be a back-formation of “flechier” meaning “arrow-maker,” and traces back from there through the Frankish “fliugica,” Old Low German “fliuca,” and Middle Dutch “vliecke.”
I bet THAT made your day.
John may not have provided me with free Olympic archery coaching, but he did give me some excellent lessons in Newb Commentary.
And the joke’s on me….. here I am belittling the instructions given by Guy the Mysterious Gangsta Glasses Dude, and it turns out that his secret identity is Guy Krueger, Assistant Archery Coach under KiSik Lee, for USA Archery’s National Team. Ouch! I humble myself on the ground before thee, oh Mysterious Guy of Gangsta Glasses, and I will henceforth ignore the sight at 18 feet.