Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Archery – Unless You Play You Will Not Understand



‘This guys having no work…singing short first stanza of the song….with only one dance step for any types of song… wasting time and wasting money’. I thought as I passed by the people playing archery, a couple of years back. I know most of the non players, yes, I say NON PLAYERS would agree with my thinking. But how wrong we all are…..

It is known by the fact that more and more people are learning how to play and the compound bows are selling like a hot cake. I am not trying to encourage more people to take up the game but I would just share my experience as a player. It is an interesting game. The expensiveness of the equipments add on to the charm in playing, just as expensive coffee adds on to the charm of drinking even when it tastes the same from the roadside coffee shop.

It encourages building up of team spirit and preservation of culture and traditions. Only songs with the tone resembling a ‘shungdra’ or ‘boeddra’ can be sung with archery dance steps. Wearing of gho is compulsory during the matches. Game is always begun with ‘marchang’ ceremony. All these are done without being told, or without being monitored from the federation or any authority, imbibing discipline, ethos and values among the players. It is only in the game of archery that elders and officials are respected and shown by keeping them as ‘maa’ – the last shooter.  

It is also in the archery field that many issues relating to business and other things get sorted out, just like those important business deals taking place on the golf course, in the west. It is in between the leisurely walks between the target end that the archers get to know each other creating a bond of friendship and trust, resulting in semi-formal deals and plans.

It is of course a dangerous game as some may argue, but then which game is not dangerous? With proper range drills and safety measures it is not as dangerous as, a football game.

The live telecast of the game inspires many players to come to lime light through the game. And the fat prize for the winners draws more teams to contest without compulsion. Whether we like it or not, the game of archery is to Bhutanese what cricket is to Indians, without much patronage from the anywhere but with collective individual interest and effort.

I am drawn into the game because it is the only game that can be played with any number of players. The aging bones of my body do not allow me to play the games like football, basketball or rugby that in army lingo known as ‘troops game’. After some time we grow out of ‘troops game’. And to keep the sportsman’s spirit alive we should either play golf or archery. I did not opt for golf due to the paucity of golf course in Bhutan, vis-à-vis archery field; besides there is no dearth of archery players.

The constant movement and standing in the field is a good physical exercise, leading to a healthy life. More calories are burnt in archery than in some sedentary games like chess and worse still, the game of cards.

The speculation of increase in tax for the equipment would not deter the archers much. It would in rather add on to the charm of owning the bows and playing with it.  Before the speculation proves itself to be right like in the import of vehicle, I better get myself a new bow. Many others might be thinking like me as there was sharp increase in demands of compound bows.