Back in April, while lunching at a local restaurant, I bumped into an old friend I hadn't seen in years. We used to take a martial arts class together back in the day. I asked if he was still training at our old martial arts school, and he said, "No, I'm actually into archery now."
Archery? How cool! My interest was definitely piqued. I asked where he went to shoot, and he told me about a few local ranges. "But every time I’ve been lately, they’ve been really packed," he said. "Mostly with kids. Lots of young girls. Are you familiar with the Hunger Games?"
Of course I was—truth be told, it was actually the first thing I thought of when he mentioned archery. I had finished the trilogy a few months earlier (loved it!!), recently watched the movie, and had seen an interesting news report just a couple nights before about how the fervor surrounding the release of the movie had stirred up tons of new interest in archery, a phenomenon advocates of the sport were exceedingly grateful for, as archery often doesn’t get as much attention as other sports. I remember thinking this was a fascinating side effect of the books' popularity. We all know books impact readers, of course, but I think this goes to show how wide-reaching and unexpected that impact can sometimes be, especially when it comes to young readers. And, yes, I'll confess—I think Katniss is mega-cool, and I kinda sorta wanted in on the Hunger Games archery craze, too.
I eagerly jumped at the invitation to join my old friend at a local range. After two-and-a-half hours shooting at targets on a Saturday morning, I can unequivocally report that, well . . . Katniss I am not. The photo above shows my best set for the day, which I don't think is too shabby for a beginner, but it's not like I'm gonna win any archery competitions soon. Frankly, in some of my early sets, I think I was lucky to hit the target at all. And I managed to give myself this lovely bruise by snapping the bowstring off the crook of my elbow:
Funny, Katniss never looked bruised in the movie. But I suppose she did get a little bloody, so perhaps I shouldn’t really complain…
Still, I very much enjoyed myself, and this will definitely not be my last trip to the archery range. If I ever find myself with some more free time on my hands, archery is certainly something I’d consider taking up as a regular pastime. So thank you Hunger Games, for not only a great read and a fantastic movie adaptation, but for inspiring myself and countless others to try our hand at this fun and underappreciated sport. Books just keep on giving, don't they?
P.S. Funnily enough, when Black Gate Magazine recently reviewed my book Ivy and the Meanstalk, the reviewer compared it to Hunger Games, which I think is quite hilarious considering how different they are, but I guess that was sort of his point. It’s a fun review, and if you’re interested you can read it here.
And here’s the original review for Ivy’s Ever After, which appeared in a 2011 edition of Black Gate Magazine.