Archers form community around unique hobby

NORWOOD – A sign on the door of the BayState Archers Training Center on a recent Monday morning read “closed,” yet 11 “elite” team members were gathered at the range to start their four hours of weekly training.

“Everybody line up!” Michael Allen, a coach, commanded.

Quickly, everyone gathered their quivers and drew an arrow.

“This is my calm place,” Allen said.

Allen, who owns the Norwood training facility, said archery is enjoying a comeback in the region. Some people tried archery once or twice as elementary students at summer camp or in school physical education class and that was that, but adults are choosing the sport as a regular activity or casual hobby.

Those passionate about archery call it a mental game, and Allen said he even has clients who’ve used it to help children with autism work on focus.

Emily Polcaro, 15, of Boston, found that archery is something she loves to do. She practiced for four hours each Monday and took a regular class on weekends at BayState. She joined the elite team last November.

“Archery is not like the other sports. It’s more mental. It’s all you, ”she said.

Emily Polcaro, 15, practices archery with her self-designed finger sling at the BayState Archers Training Center on April 4, 2022.

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association estimates that 7.3 million Americans participated in archery in 2021.

Archer Dayenne Walters said everyone is friendly.

“I find a supportive community here,” Walters said.

Walters went to an archery range 20 years ago, looking for inspiration for an art project, she said.

“I was thinking of old-fashioned, Robin Hood kind of bows,” Walters recalled.

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