PARKS: Archers relish playing Katniss locally
Published May 24, 2012
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.
Man, did I catch a break last week.
My daughters came home from college and they were already bored. Then the Sarasota County Archers called about using the popularity of "The Hunger Games" to recruit young members.
The girls jumped at the chance to play Katniss Everdeen.
They're big fans of the brave young heroine in the book and movie. Marie has a mockingjay stickpin. Audrey uses Rue's whistle as the ringtone on her iPhone.
So we drove out to the archery range on 17th Street in Sarasota. My girls were impressed. The woods looked like a semi-tropical vision of District Twelve in the movie.
"This is 'The Hunger Games,' " they joked as we passed beneath a canopy of live oaks. "We're in 'The Hunger Games.' "
A couple of Sarasota archers -- Joe Formella and Ted Yengling -- seemed happy to play instructor and recruiter.
Actress Jennifer Lawrence is the best role model they've had in years.
"The girl from the movie took lessons with a pro in California," Yengling said. "If you saw her form, it was really good."
My daughters, along with a college roommate named Krishna Patel, started at the indoor range. First, they learned how to hold a bow and shoot an arrow. They were nervous and excited, giggling and shaky, which meant they couldn't hit anything at first.
Finally, after five stray shots, Audrey drilled a bull's-eye.
She was so excited, jumping up and down and shouting "Oh, my god," that she totally forgot to quote a great line from the movie. After Katniss wows the crowd with a daring shot, she curtsies and says, "Thank you for your consideration."
'We are so Katniss'
After about 20 minutes, Joe took the girls outside to shoot at paper silhouettes and 3-D animal targets. The archery club has shooting stations set up on trails that wind through the trees, brush and vines.
"We have a little more than 7 acres," Yengling said. "Best-kept secret in Sarasota."
The girls had a great time cheering for each other on the range. Soon their aim improved. They started hitting paper on almost every shot.
"We are Katniss," one said.
"We are so Katniss," another agreed.
Last stop on the tour was a 3-D target of a bear. The girls shot nine arrows, three apiece, and every one stuck in the side of the target.
It was a big target, and they were standing pretty close, but it was still pretty impressive.
We left the range in a great mood.
In five minutes, the girls had uploaded photos to Facebook. In 10 minutes, their friends were commenting about how cool they looked.
Sarasota County Archers welcomes the public to Saturday morning open shoots at 4570 17th St. (Look for a narrow driveway in the woods next to the paw park.) At 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, the club welcomes young archers. Yearly membership in the club is $85.
For more information, visit sarasotacountyarchers.org or call 493-5230.
This story appeared in print on page E18
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