Additional reporting by Emma Lam.Sophomore Zachary Chow was only seven years old when he shot his first arrow. While attending a church retreat at Camp Koinonia near Santa Cruz, Chow noticed the camp’s archery range was open. So he made his way in, and began learning how archery worked. After missing many times, he was elated when his arrow finally made contact with the target, and ended up receiving compliments from surrounding adults who had been watching.
Chow originally started practicing archery because his parents told him that he needed to pick an activity and stick to it. After trying out numerous different sports, he was unable to commit to any of them, simply because he did not feel a connection with them.
“I tried soccer, I tried basketball, I tried baseball, I tried football, I’ve done so many other things too, and I didn’t stick to any of them,” Chow said. “I was good at them, but then once I hit a bump, I was like ‘Nope, I want to stop.’”
Chow explains that he chose archery because it seemed like a sport that he could continue even as he grew older, because it isn’t the most physically strenuous sport. And as the years went by, Chow committed more and more time to archery and went from a recreational archer to a more competitive one. Currently, he practices four times per week, from 90 minutes to two hours, depending on the day.
“I just thought it was really cool so I stuck with it,” Chow said. “And here I am now, going to competitions.”
Over the years, Chow has sharpened his skills and continued to improve. He explains that in archery, the smallest circle on the target is worth 10 points, but many archers strive to hit the small “X” that is within the ten point circle, although it isn’t worth any additional points. Chow recalls the first time he got all 10s, which he says is probably his biggest achievement to date.
“When it first happen I kind of [celebrated]in my head like ‘Wow, I actually did that,” Chow said. “But then after I did it several times I kind of can’t get excited because then it messes up my other shots, especially in competition.”
Now a member of a competitive archery team called the Regional Dream Team, Chow attends numerous competitions which involve traveling as far as Sacramento and Michigan. But he knows that his progress will not end here, and he aims to continue moving forward.
“I’ve made it to the Regional Dream Team,” Chow said. “I’ve got all Xs and all 10s, but I’m still yet to make it onto the Olympic team.”
Chow is the Public Relations officer for Archery Club at MVHS and says that the club is good for those who are interested in giving archery a try. Chow explains that the club plans to go on shoots at least twice a semester to allow members to gain experience and practice their skills. He claims that the archery community is very friendly, and everyone is willing to help.
“No matter where you go … you can talk to anyone and they’ll be fine with it,” Chow said. “Especially if it’s your first time, they’ll be more willing to talk to you and help you, because it’s [kind of]like [a]welcome to the sport.”