Archers Arena is privileged to share the sport of dodgeball/combat archery with many new beginners, and I was totally one of them. Totally understand reading the terms like dodgeball/combat archery can seem intimidating but looking back...it's the furthest thing from it.

I remember the day I was asked by my boyfriend, "Hey! Do you wanna go to the Archers Arena today?", I replied "Uhm, sorry the what?". "Archers Arena! It's like dodgeball, except with bows and arrows!" After 4 seconds of deliberation, I was in!

So off we went to North York and pulled up at Archers Arena, gosh was I ever nervous. We walked through the door into Archers Arena where the front entrance area was a group of folks who had just finished playing an hour of combat archery and re-capping all the sick moves.  "Dude I totally got you in the last combat!" or "Oooo that was a great shot!" rang throughout and it immediately lifted my spirits to see all of the excitement.

We were greeted by one the coaches at the front desk and he explained when the next session was running and where we could find the lockers, washrooms and invited us to use the pool or foos ball table or take some selfies on the throne of arrows (seriously, this chair is adorned with arrows and looks pretty cool). We chilled out on one of the comfy couches and looked at all of the different combat archery game modes posted on the wall. There are so many! Game modes can lean toward combat archery themes where I started to channel my inner Legolas. Or modes can be a playful co-operative archery tag theme like Infection to encourage our team to work together.

Our session started and we were lead to the orientation space. The coaches at Archers Arena are incredibly dynamic teachers while making sure everyone is having fun but is also safe at the same time. In our orientation, we were taught how to properly get our safety gear on, handle a bow, nock our arrows, aim at our targets with posture and shoot with confidence. My worries had totally gone away and felt pumped to get out into the arena.

We got out to the court where our coach further explained arena and game mode rules. Divided into 2 teams, we separated towards each end of the arena. The coach yelled "Ready?! 3,2,1 GO!" and in a mad dash we all raced to the centre to grab our arrows and load our bows to start our first combat archery game. What a rush! Honestly, nocking your arrow and getting your first hit felt AWESOME! That was when I think I caught the combat archery bug.

We got to play so many game modes and got a good taste of both combat archery and dodgeball archery. The strategy, teamwork, rivalry and omg the workout (protein and stretch!) was the beginning of immersing into a whole new sport but also a new community. A community that is full of support and is so welcoming. Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned archery vet, the archery community at Archers Arena is accommodating to all skill levels just out love and admiration of an evolving sport.

So here I am, around a year later with many, many visits with my boyfriend to Archers Arena and I absolutely adore the sport, the energy and the new friends we have made. Once a form of defense, has evolved into a sport that I never knew existed but so happy to be a part of. So go ahead, try it! Make an appointment, make the drive, take a deep breath and try combat archery. Who knows, you may catch the archery bug too....just the way I did.

Your fellow archer,

Erin S.

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