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Tag: Archery

Biweekly Wrap-up: I <3 the Olympics

I don’t love sports.

I guess I should say I don’t love games: football, basketball, baseball, this even extends to chess and Connect Four and any other board games or yard games. Because I do really love the Olympics (except for the soccer, basketball, volleyball and tennis parts).

Maybe the difference is the Olympics come with feature stories about each athlete’s journey to the games, and I’m a sucker for a good story. Or because the Parade of Nations brings to mind apocalyptic visions of a new creation, of people of every tribe, tongue and nation jubilantly gathering together (without trying to kill each other), as Rachel Held Evans noted. Or because these are games that push athletes to do their personal best or to push their bodies to their most magnificent  limit — or are just cool, like curling or archery, which is the new curling, or haven’t you heard?

I wrote about both games, and my abiding love for the Olympics, in a column this week for The Courier-News (“Trying out archery to get to the point of the Olympics“), the climax of what my friend Crysta has called “The Emily McFarlan Best Summer Ever Tour.” Alas, the first of the two school districts I cover starts class in just over a week!

Stay tuned for more Olympics coverage next weekend. I wrote about Algonquin native Rockne Brubaker for The Courier-News when he just missed out on competing in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Another Algonquin native, Evan Jager, just qualified today to race for the gold Sunday in the steeplechase at the Summer Games in London. Meantime, here are all the other articles I wrote the past two weeks, when I wasn’t on a crossbow-shooting high:

Don’t forget to enter my very first giveaway by leaving a comment on Monday’s post by 11:59 p.m. Monday. You won’t win a gold medal, but you will win a book, which is just about as good as gold to me.

Photo credit: Sun-Times Media.

Trying out some archery to get to the point of the Olympics (Sun-Times Media)

My friend Nate asked the question, as we demolished the Olympic rings of cheese my husband Joel and I had created for the opening ceremonies in London: If you could take your natural abilities and amplify them, which of the Olympic games would be your event?

I knew mine right away: Curling, if we’re talking about the winter games. Shooting, either archery or skeet shooting, if summer. (In the days since, the BBC has created the incredibly fun “Your Olympic athlete body match” app, which concluded I actually am built like a German cyclist.)

That’s because, for someone who isn’t much into sports, I get a little caught up in the Olympic spirit. These are sports that look fun to me.

When I was a senior in college at New York University, I freelanced for the “Imus in the Morning” show on MSNBC while its production assistant was at the winter games in Torino. After watching hours and hours of curling during those games — since that’s what was on MSNBC during “Imus in the Morning” — I signed up for a “Learn to Curl” event at the Ardsley Curling Club in Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y. Then I joined the club, and later, the Chicago Curling Club.

Then Don Imus told me, “Emily, you are a fine young American, and I hope to see you in the Olympics someday.” This remains the greatest compliment I ever have received.

After graduation, my friends surprised me with a trip to Dave’s Pizza in Bemidji, Minn. The owner, Pete Fenson, was the “skip,” or team captain, of the men’s curling team — the first U.S. curling team to medal in the Olympics (it took the silver).

This past weekend, it was the men’s archery team with the silver, the first medal for the U.S. in the London games. And after writing an article last month for The Courier-News about archery’s pop culture moment — not just in the Olympics but also in summer blockbusters “The Hunger Games” and “Brave” — I decided this Olympics, this was my sport.

For the rest of the story, read Trying out some archery to get to the point of the Olympics (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Follow me on Instagram. And for more photos of BEST DAY AT WORK EVER, view the photo gallery.

Archery hits the mark with young film fans (Sun-Times Media

ELGIN — It was, quite possibly, the coolest birthday present ever: The curve of the green plastic bow; the nearly instantaneous twang as Madeline Moeller’s fingers released the taught string, the whiz of the arrow through the air, the thud as it hit the grass in her Elgin backyard; the deadly point.

It was the bow and arrows for which Madeline had begged her dad for weeks after seeing the movie “Brave,” the bow and arrows Marc Moeller didn’t tell his wife, Elgin City Councilwoman Anna Moeller, he had bought for the girl’s ninth birthday in late June.

Madeline’s eyes popped out of her head when she opened the present, she said. She, her 6-year-old sister Eleanor and her friends spent an hour straight shooting and chasing the arrows across the yard — “part of the game,” Anna Moeller said.

“Everyone thinks it’s cool. My friends have said, ‘I want a bow and arrow now,’” Madeline said.

And it’s not just Madeline and her friends.

USA Archery said it’s seen a “huge increase” in interest headed into the 2012 Summer Olympics, which begin next Friday in London. So have area stores that carry archery equipment, like Buck Stop in West Dundee, Dick’s Sporting Goods in Algonquin and Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates.

“Hunting around here has always been popular,” said Kaarin Mull, who owns Buck Stop with her husband, Pete Mull.

“But now that ‘The Hunger Games’ and that Pixar movie ‘Brave’ have come out, it has been nuts. We’re getting them in as little as 7 and 8 years old. They want to shoot because that little redhead in ‘Brave’ shoots.”

Both movies, released this year, feature female archers as their heroines.

In “The Hunger Games,” it’s Katniss Everdeen, hunting with a bow and arrow to provide for her family, then to survive the televised teenage fight-to-the-death that is the Hunger Games. In “Brave,” it’s Princess Merida, relying on her bravery and archery skills to undo a curse.

Madeline hasn’t read “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins or seen the movie, she said. But she saw “Brave” with her grandparents and said that’s what “inspired” her.

“I liked how she showed that even a girl can be so strong. She also showed how fun archery could be,” she said.

For the rest of the story (and a list of places to practice archery in the Chicago area), read Archery hits the mark with young film fans (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Michael Smart for Sun-Times Media.