The Art of the Bow and Arrow

By Edo Steinberg

Whitney Eklof

Whitney Eklof was first introduced to archery when she took it as an elective while an undergraduate here at Indiana University. “This was before The Hunger Games was a big deal,” she says of the book and film series which prominently features a bow and arrow-wielding heroine. “I thought it sounded interesting, so I took it and it stuck with me.”

Archery has a few advantages over other sports. “I like that you can do it solo,” says Whitney. “You don’t have to rely on getting a group of people together. If you want to play basketball, for example, you have to find a group of people who are willing to play and find a space to play. With archery, if you have your own target, which I do, you can go outside to any place that’s relatively open and start firing.”

Whitney even got permission from her apartment complex to practice archery behind her building. “There’s a nice big open space there, without any danger of hitting buildings.”

“There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility with archery,” Whitney explains. “There isn’t a huge learning curve. If you’re going to play a more complex game like football, if you’re really intense about it you have to learn plays and things like that, but archery is relatively easy to pick up.”

Whitney hasn’t participated in competitions yet, but would like to do so in the future. “It’s still in the hobby stage. It’s a matter of having time to practice. Also, as it gets colder, I’m going outside to practice less and less, because there aren’t too many indoor places around here that I know of.” She hopes that in the future she will have enough time to practice and get good enough to compete.

bow arrowWhitney uses a traditional recurve bow. “It’s not the fancy compound ones. Those are better for hunting,” which Whitney does not do. “I know people who use compound bows for competitions, because the way they’re built allows for much greater speed and you can add all kinds of gadgets to them, like sights. With the traditional recurve bow, it’s all pretty much on you to do everything, and the bow is just the tool to get the arrow to fly.”

Archery is a great stress reliever for Whitney, but that’s not the main reason she does it. “It’s a good way to get outside, enjoy the day and be active. It definitely works out your upper body.”

Whitney also shoots low-caliber guns and would like to enter such competitions as well, but that is more expensive than archery. “You constantly have to buy bullets. With archery, your arrows will last for a decent amount of time, as long as you’re taking care of them.”

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