Chapter One complete…

Classof2013On Thursday, I finished the first chapter of my life by graduating from Kingston Vocational & Collegiate Institute.  My graduating class was about 300 kids, with more 80% graduating with honors (academic 80% average) and Ontario scholars of which I was one. I remember walking across the stage, my brothers and sister cheering, apparently my mother cried, my father could not stop taking photos they was so proud and happy.

Besides being an Ontario scholar, I was also the recipient of couple of awards and scholarships. With the first award, my name with forever by etched on the walls of K.C.V.I. as it in engraved on a plague.

AdrienLangloisThe Adrien Langlois Award (Physical Education)

Awarded to a graduating student who has completed a minimum of three physical education credits including PSE4U (Sport Science). The student is considered the best overall physical education student as determined by the Healthy Active living department

The Sandy Prentice Memorial Scholarship

The scholarship is designed to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of a graduating K.C.V.I. student with an identified communication disability. The student must have demonstrated outstanding and persistent effort in overcoming the challenges of their learning difficulty such as reading, writing, organization or social skills. The student must also demonstrate a high degree of academic competence, the ability to self advocate and self regulate, and some level of contribution to the school community in the area of sports, clubs, or student leadership.

IMG_8776Graduating from high school was an extremely important moment for me, since at five years old, my parents were told I would never learn to read or write so not to bother to try and teach me. I have dyslexia, severe auditory processing communication disorder to be more exact, so much so that when officially tested, I scored in 1st percentile.

There is often a misconception about dyslexia, most people think of people reversing letters or numbers; however dyslexia is about learning differently, and auditory processing disorder is a broad umbrella for people who have difficultly either understanding or expressing ideas or information either verbally or written. For an overview about various types of auditory processing disorder check out the Wikipedia article.

This is the first time I have publicly acknowledged my learning challenge. Mainly because I never ever wanted anyone to treat me differently or for one minute think that I could not do something. Personally, I think it is a learning GIFT, since I just learn differently and the list of famous people with dyslexia is very extensive including Muhammad Ali, Cher, Robin Williams, Albert Einstein and many more.

RedeemerAlthough, I had been accepted at Dalhousie and Acadia, I will be attending Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario this fall studying Kinesiology, with  goals of becoming a physiotherapist and a national level archery coach.  To all who read this, do not let anyone else dictate your path in life. You can achieve anything you want to, it just takes a little hard work.

Archery is not all about Winning

victoryaSport should be about participation and physical fitness, not solely about winning. Archery is a sport you can participate in for your entire life. One of the things my coach always told me was there is a real danger of achieving success too earlier in young archers. Young kids sometimes get use to winning, and they start to expect it. They never expect to have to work at it again to win and archery (and sport in general) loses more participants that way than any other.
As a national level athlete, everyone expects me to win all the time. I sometimes want to yell out “It just doesn’t work that way”. There is very little difference between top level athletes and it is more than a game of inches. As you develop into one of those athletes that are lucky enough to gain sponsorship, there is even more pressure to win. This is why I believe some athletes turn to performance enhancing drugs or cheating.
The movie “Cool Runnings” has an excellent scene where Derice Bannock ask Irv why he cheated…
CoolRunningsIrv: It’s a fair question. It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see, Derice, I had made winning my whole life, and when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. Understand?
Derice Bannock: No, I don’t understand. You won two gold medals. You had it all.
Irv: Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.
Personally, it really troubles me to hear about athletes that use performance enhancing drugs or cheat, especially successful ones. They have made winning their whole life and they are not enough without it.
As part of your New Year’s Resolution, why not make sure you are participating in Archery or any other sport for the right reasons. Whether your are participating for the competition, hunting, social aspect, physical fitness or just for pure fun, make sure you set your goals to participate whether you win or not.

Arrows Series – Part 5: Cutting Arrows

In this blog, we will discuss physically cutting arrows. Remember, the correct measurement for your draw length is from the nock groove point to the end of the shaft NOT including the point.” For most archers, accuracy within half-inch of your draw-length is close enough. If you are competitive and working towards improving groups you may need to cut just a couple millimeters at a time, until you find the optimal length. I recommend you visit your local pro-shop for assistance at this level. For young archers who will grow and change frequently, you need to weigh the cost of arrows versus the ever changing physical size.

Remember:  Draw length plus 1” minimum for safety and for young archers draw length plus 2” minimum for safety and growth.

The best way to cut Aluminum and Carbon Fiber is with an Arrow Cut-Off Saw or build yourself one using a Dremel wheel saw. Although when cutting wooden arrows you can use a straight blade such as a saw and I have seen some people use a plumbing pipe cutter and this may be okay for recreational shooting however I would not encourage it.

Quick Tip: The first basic rule of carpentry is measure twice cut once. In archery I like to measure a few more times than that.

Personally, I still get my coach to cut my arrows on their shop machine to make sure they are consistent and clean. Usually, when you purchase arrows at a pro shop, they will assist you cutting your arrows to length, most will even help with the fine-tuning.

If you are interested in cutting your own arrows check these two videos: “How to use an arrow cut-off saw” and “How to make a arrow cut-off saw using a Dremel”.

Whether you are cutting your own arrows at home or at a shop, cut them a little long and test them out first. Make small adjustments until you are happy with consistent groups. Remember, once you cut them, you cannot make them longer again.

2012 Paralympics Games

Wednesday will mark with start of the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games in London England. The Paralympics are the second largest sporting event in the world, second only to the Olympics. The Paralympic Games are linked directly to the Olympics. They follow the same schedule running every two years and alternating between summer and winter, and since Seoul 1988 (Summer Games) and Albertville 1992 (Winter Games) the games have taken place on the same venues following the Olympic Games. 

The paralympic games were the dream of Dr. Guttmann, a German born British neurologist interested in helping world War II veterans with spinal injuries. Dr. Guttmann was an archer and setup an archery demonstration between two teams of paraplegics that coincided with the 1948 London Olympics.

His dream was of a worldwide sports competition for people with disabilities to be held every four years as “the equivalent of the Olympic Games.” Twelve years later, his dream became a reality.

The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 and involved 400 athletes from 23 countries. Originally, only wheelchair athletes were invited to compete. Since that time, the Paralympic Games have grown dramatically. The present-day Paralympic Games include five major classifications of athletes: persons with visual impairments, persons with physical disabilities, amputee athletes, people with cerebral palsy, people with spinal cord injuries and Les Autres – athletes with a physical disability that are not included in the categories mentioned above (e.g., people with Muscular Dystrophy). History of the Paralympics Games

Canada is internationally renowned as a leader of the Paralympic movement and has participated in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games since Tel Aviv, Israel in 1968. Canada has sent an archery team to every Paralympic games since 1968 with only one exception being the 2004 games in Athens.

My coach Kathy Millar of South Nation Archery was interviewed last Friday by CTV Morning Live to discuss Paralympic Archery ahead of the Paralympic Summer Games. She explains Paralympic archery and how Paralympic archers use different muscle sets when competing depending on the disability or limitation of the archer. You can check out the entire interview here.

For these games Canada is sending a team of 5 archers including Kevin EVANS (Jaffray, BC), Bob HUDSON (Leoville, SK), Karen VAN NEST (Wiarton, ON), Lyne TREMBLAY (Magog, QC), Norbert MURPHY (Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC), and Rob COX (Winnipeg, MB). Good luck to all the athletes and GO CANADA GO!