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Archery Club Shoots its Way Into Memphis this Fall

Starting this fall, the University of Memphis will have a club for an Olympic sport that provides novelty, fun, community and exercise to anyone regardless of any physical limitations: archery.

Coach Sarah Rohde and club officers have been working over the last semester to make the Archery club official here at the UofM. They are all very passionate about their club because of the physical, mental, and social benefits it affords students of any background.

“Over the last 15 years, it has been great therapy,” Coach Rohde said. “You’re having a bad day, you’re having a good day, you’re frustrated about something, and you just need to get out of the world and get into your own little bubble. There’s nothing firing a couple of arrows into a target down range can’t fix.”

“For me, it felt like a good accomplishment to just hit something, and I was like, the stress from this week has just gone away just picturing all the essays and tests,” said Zoi Maclin, club president.

The archery club is open to and accepting of people of any experience level or ability. Coach Rohde has been teaching for ten years, and Olivia Ensor, an incoming freshman, will be the club member instructor. The club shoots out of Avery Superstore in Binghampton, about a 5 minute drive from campus.

“Anyone can join beginner-level to advanced,” said Ari Peoples, a sophomore mechanical engineering major and club treasurer. “I’m a beginner, and my friend has been doing it since 8th grade. Anybody can join, everybody is really nice, and no one needs to commit to anything to seriously just have fun.”

“I have helped coach a few kids younger than me, but I have never coached anyone my age. I think it could be fun, but also possibly a challenge as I am in no way an authority figure,” Ensor said. “I am a little nervous about it, but I’m also excited because it will get me some experience, but also allow me to help others learn more about archery.”

Archery is a highly versatile sport that can accommodate anyone, regardless if someone is not the most athletic or has any physical disabilities. There are shooting methods that can work for anybody.

“It was beneficial to me because I, within the last year, have gotten two foot surgeries, one for each foot, and each time I did, I was unable to stand and shoot,” Ensor said. “With the way the sport works, I was able to continue shooting for the several months I was unable to stand because you can sit and shoot, and you’re just as capable as when your standing.”

“Some people may not be able to move their body as much as they want to,” Maclin said. “With archery, since you are just standing in one place pulling back and shooting, it is easy to enjoy yourself.”

There is also a level of community that is different from many other clubs, driven by the fact that archery has both a team and individual nature.

“You have a team and competitive factor that makes the team feel stronger; it’s a different feeling than just hanging out with someone,” Peoples said. “You’re hanging out while training and trying to beat other people, which [builds friendships], and gives you a workout.”

The club hopes to build up its member base in the fall, with the ultimate goal of entering into competitions. According to Coach Rohde, once the club does start competing, it will not be a requirement. Members will be able to do what they feel most comfortable with.

“It’s ambitious, but I’m aiming high; by the time I graduate, I want to win the Tennessee state championship,” Maclin said.

You can contact the club either through their email at ARCHERY.AWAIT95@GMAIL.COM or by texting Coach Rohde at 901-603-3295.

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