Ryerson archery club taking aim

The Ryerson archery club is up and running and students can now learn to channel their inner Legolas or Katniss Everdeen without the fear of taking someone’s eye out.

Samson Wong, a second-year industrial engineering student, originally brought up the idea for the club last January in a thread on the Ryerson section of Reddit.

“There’s definitely more membership than we expected,” Wong says. “We actually have to stop accepting new members.”

When he submitted his proposal to the athletics co-ordinator, Wong discovered that another student at the time, engineering student Jodh Anandjit, was also interested in starting an archery club.

They worked together to make it happen.

“We got to know each other, we got to know more about the community,” Wong says. “We started a Facebook page and posted posters. … That way we could show the funding committee that there is (a) community that wants this and prove to them that it can be successful.”

Randy Pipher, the intramural clubs co-ordinator, says he was surprised by the amount of interest.

“I knew there was interest but I didn’t expect it to be quite this overwhelming,” Pipher says. “We initially thought there would be 20 or 30 people but we had 50 sign up in the first week.”

For safety and proper instruction purposes signups are closed for now.

Archers of any skill can take aim at the club, which occupies the Kerr Hall West lower gym three days a week. Wong says there is no experience necessary. They teach new members and give enthusiasts a place to try their craft in the winter.

Jimmy Kang, who shoots at a range near the Ontario Science Centre, was asked to coach the club in the fall. Wong says they chose him because his curriculum best fit teaching archers of all abilities.

Having a place to practise at Ryerson alleviates the need to travel elsewhere to do so. Ranges are few and far between due to a lack of archers.

Arash Mouahedi, a second-year student, says the sport is hard to get into because of barriers like price and safety.

“People see someone with a bow and think they are dangerous,” says Mouahedi. But he insists it’s safe.

Composite bows fully collapse into different pieces: the riser, two limbs and the string. More expensive professional bows have stabilizers.

To purchase these pieces can cost a hefty amount. Risers alone can go for upwards of $300, and a professional setup can go for more than double that.

The archery club costs $45 for members of the Mattamy Athletic Centre and Recreation and Athletics Centre. It costs $60 for non-members. The option to attend a one-time $10 session was closed due to high enrolment.

The university provides equipment but members are welcome to bring their own.

The club operates on Mondays from 4 to 7 p.m., and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

Pipher is optimistic about the club’s future.

“We’re still new to it as well, but we’re weighing the positives and negatives with all our clubs right now and who knows, maybe in the future archery could expand,” he said.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Jan.  28, 2015.


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