Archery events across the country are diminishing at an alarming rate. The reasons for this drastic drop in participants cannot be easily explained. We will try and explore some of the trends happening across the United States that may help us to grow the sport in the coming years.
Most kids just aren’t exposed to archery for a number of reasons. As more and more families move back to the cities and migrate away from the countryside, children have fewer opportunities for exploring the alluring sport of archery.
Back even as early as the 1990’s, families could survive in rural America. Farming was still a viable option for income and many people depended on agriculture and tobacco farming as their main source of livelihood.
As farming becomes more and more industrialized and mechanized, the need for the family farm has severely dwindled. Thus, fewer children are in an environment where they can even have a bow and arrow set up. Or at least that’s the perception among families living in the inner cities and suburbia.
When kids were raised on farms and in more rural communities, they had peers and other familes who may have had an archery set up either in the yard or at a family member’s house. When there wasn’t much opportunity for other sports in the farming areas, archery became a very popular endeavor.
Archery was often passed down to children and grandchildren from parents and grandparents who used the practice as a means of survival. Not only survival but also as a sport.
The sport of hunting with a bow and arrow gained much steam in the early 1980’s and through the turn of the new millennium. As hunting and fishing shows on television displayed the art of catching big game with a bow and arrow, the sport of archery soared.
Hunting wasn’t seen as just a barbaric way of killing the innocent mother of Bambi. It was seen as a way to hunt big game in a sustainable manner that is not only healthy for the individual who consumes the wild game’s meat and fur, but also something that is good for the overall heard population.
Large game animals have fewer and fewer predators in the natural world. AS their numbers rise, they cause strain on their own resources as well as the natural resources of their environment.
Take for instance when the wild wolves of Yellowstone were reintroduced to the area. Big game had dominated the area and had taxed the land to such an extent that the river was affected in an unsustainable fashion.
More will be written about this phenomenon in a future post as I find it most fascinating. It sheds a wonderful light on the benefits of archery as a sport in big game hunting and how this practice makes a forest and the natural world even more vibrant.
But other reasons exist as to why archery seems to be a dying hobby and sport. Many youth today are so over consumed with other activities it leaves little to no time for things such as archery.
Most kids are playing at least one sport and several of them are two sport athletes. Bouncing from one practice or out of town tournament to the next. In addition, any piece of free time they may have is more than likely spent on the Xbox or PlayStation shooting zombies or other fictional characters.
Throw in academic requirements and social time and one can see why the sport of archery isn’t as popular with the youth of today. Being outside of a rural area just isn’t favorable for the sport.
It doesn’t have to be this way and it’s been proven in cities across the country that they can introduce successful archery programs and competitions.