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Beyond Belief- We’ll be back

What do a bunch of elementary and middle school kids (and one high schooler) have in common with Robin Hood? Good Aim. It was the end of a long winter and just when you thought you’d never get off this island something amazing managed to warm the ice. Now I’m not saying that this group of 17 kids changed the weather, but I know they changed people’s minds about what we call fun. Archery.

Archery for me has always been Errol Flynn, in his tights, locked in mortal combat with Basil Rathbone with a swooning Olivia De Havill looking on, the object of both their affections. Or perhaps the funnier version our kids might know, the humorous spoof “Men in Tights” directed by Mel Brooks. Archery really has never been a mainstream school sport until now. With the help of the ODNR, some grant money secured by Susan Harrington and the school and a little magic, archery has come to the island.

Every year April is a month of new beginnings here on PIB, when hope stirs our hearts. Businesses dust off winters grime for a new season, softball teams start to shape up, (this will be the Winery’s year I can feel it), and a brand new play, “Never Kiss a Naughty Nanny”, (at town hall April 2,3,4) is being presented. But that can hardly compare to fun of a possible first ever trip for our school kids to a national level competition when our first year Put-in-Bay School Archery Team aims for success at the National Archery in School Program (NASP) competition in Louisville Kentucky on May 8th.

How did this happen? It was cold, the ice was lingering, and on a chilly dark and dreary afternoon as the fog began to form over the water our intrepid team flew off the island fearful that if they waited until the next morning they might never see Arnold Schwarzenegger (but that’s a story for later).
The team made its way by van to the balmy weather that greeted them when they arrived at the third annual Ohio NASP State Tournament held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus on March 6, a competition in coordination with the Arnold Fitness Classic.

Dozens of Island folks from the bay also converged on the Lauche building at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. They had come to see what all the buzz was about. Some were returning from their warm winter haunts in the south, others escaping from the frozen tundra known as South Bass. All who came managed to see something we could have never imagined.

And I can tell you it wasn’t just RANDY COUTURE showing off his physique and posing with our kids or ARNOLD signing autographs (and looking for stimulus money from President Obama also in town the same day), no it was something much more. Now over the years Put-in-Bay has had some shining moments in sports, some great runners, sailors, even some talented ball players (not to mention some quick thinkers on the academic challenge team) but how about these 17 kids.

Out of 800 plus contestants and 100 or so teams our kids placed 8th in the state in the middle school division. Now I’m not sure everyone gets the idea about how this works, but a 50 pound 10 year old kid has just as good a chance of being a top scorer as a 200 pound 18 year old. In the scoring of the sport, even though they are broken up into divisions, Put-in-Bay can compete “toe on the line” with the big schools. This unique sport is the great equalizer for kids of all age and sizes.

Now our team is qualified for the national championship in the High School Division in May. Singer Elvis Costello said it best “my aim is true”. Each and every one of our kids, under the direction of Coach Harrington, has learned how to aim. Now that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when less than an inch could be the difference between winning or not, you start to see that we’ve got the “right stuff” right here in Put-in-bay. And this is no flash in the pan accident; some of the highest scores on our team were managed by 4th graders. Yes in the inimitable (albeit somewhat twisted) words of Arnold “we’ll be back”.

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