Archery is experiencing a resurgence of sorts, and we can thank Hollywood for making this ancient sport the latest craze on and off the big screen. Suddenly the bow and arrow have replaced the leading man in a co-starring role, as everyone from princesses to bad-ass heroines are showing a prowess for the sport. Previously considered a stodgy sport for the upper-crust of society, this new found love for all things archery has given a dying industry a much-needed boost, attracting new fans to the sport, particularly girls.
According to the Archery Trade Association, archery clubs are reporting a significant increase in attendance in their classes and sales of archery equipment have increased more than 20% in the last year. “It’s been crazy, to be honest,” USA Archery CEO Denise Parker said in a recent interview, “our clubs are literally being overrun.”
USA Archery‘s under-20 group has more members than the over-20 group, with the largest age category being 15-17. Two years ago, the organizations website averaged 14,277 visitors per month. In March it had 30,585. Something clearly is going on.
Parker continues to say, “It’s funny because we used to have issues… how do you get clubs to promote their programs and get people to come in? Now we say, how do we develop more clubs to accommodate all the kids coming in, especially young girls?”
It’s no wonder that girls are interested in archery and Suzanne Collins’ book series, “The Hunger Games”, can probably take most of the credit for this sudden boom (if you haven’t read them yet, get to it, but that’s another post!). The books were huge bestsellers and the film brought to life the lead female character and heroine Katniss, who shows that you don’t have to be an amazing athlete or be the strongest to be good at archery. More recently, is Pixar’s animated feature Brave, where a Scottish princess named Merida, enters an archery contest against prospective suitors so she can marry whom she chooses. Both films use archery to showcase prevailing themes of self-sufficiency, individuality and feminism, which is encouraging to the mostly female audiences. Archery is a sport that rewards focus and precision over strength, and girls everywhere are clamoring to draw their bows.
In a recent local New Jersey newscast, a little girl told a reporter, “I like it (archery) because it looks elegant but you feel fierce!” Anything that can make a girl feel this good, is certainly worth the attention… where can we sign up?
If you haven’t gotten enough of archery from the silver screen, stay tuned for the summer Olympics where archery is certain to be a big attraction and where the American team is expected to kick some ass!