An Archer’s Journey: Pulling out of the Parking lot 1:1

February 3rd, 2018



Well, I got enough feedback to make me realize that some people wanted to hear about the journey. I’ll do my best to chronicle my progress this year and share the highs and lows and all of the work that I put into it. Although I’m not a great shooter, I’ve been reached some successful points along the way. I’ll never be a Jim Despart, because there are very few who can ever reach that level, but I do love archery and put a lot into it. This is more for the average Joe’s who are trying to get better and dedicate a lot of their free time to it.

On Jan. 15, 2017, I headed out to see Mike Price. I made plans to see Mike because I figured that through our longtime friendship, Mike wouldn’t pull any punches, and he would do his best to help me fix any issues that needed attention.

After spending the day with Mike, we determined that I needed to work on having better posture in my daily life,  and I definitely needed to add draw length to my bow. Mike told me I could probably go an inch to an inch and a half longer. He believed that would take the pressure off from my shoulders.

Somewhere along the way, I got dragged into the hype of having to go shorter and shorter. The best year I ever had indoors, I averaged 59.4 Xs in my indoor league, and shooting was really easy. I aimed and the shot went off. I never thought about the shot itself. Along the way, I lost the ability to do that, and I began thinking about all of the things I needed to do to make a good shot. On the days when I was nervous, I couldn’t hold the bow still to save my life.

Well, this week I finally got the draw length on my bow to a good starting point. To my amazement, my draw length is now pretty close to what it was back in those days when I shot my highest scores and didn’t think about my shooting. I’m back to the same draw length I was at when I finished at the top in every class I shot in at the national level, including Freestyle in NFAA, MBR, MBO and SPM. I had top 3s in every one of those classes at the national level before I ran into the shoulder problems. I’m proud of those days, too. But somewhere in my travels, my draw length ended up at 27′ and the tension started to build. Looking back on it, I can now trace my problems back to when I kept shortening the draw length.

It felt really good this week when I measured the draw and saw that it is now at 28 3/4. It seems so long to me, and when I changed it, I didn’t think it would be possible for me to be comfortable. I’m already beginning to feel more comfortable, and it has only been a couple of weeks since I made the change.

On Monday night, I dedicated a solid two hours to aiming at arrow holes from 5 to 10 yards and executing shots with the new form. My main focus was on transferring the shot into my back during the draw. Once the shot settled into my back, I focused on following the steps in my shot sequence and remembering to hold steady pressure on my hand against the handle and in my back. During this two hour process, I played with some stabilizer weights to get the bow to settle down a little bit. I switched back and forth between a 27′ and 30′ front bar. Finally, I decided on the 30′ front bar. I have 2 ounces on the front of it and 14 on the 12′ back bar. It’s  not that much weight as compared to what many archers are currently running.

Tuesday night found me at my weekly Vegas league. When I got there, I had a very hard time holding steady and making good shots. Since I brought two bows with me, I decided to roll with the one I started with. After getting halfway into the round, I realized I needed to try something different. After the seventh end, I hung that bow on the rack and grabbed the other one. The next eight ends, I only dropped two 10s and ended up with a 441 17xs. The bow I changed to had a tad shorter draw length, which is what helped with my execution and aiming. While a 441 isn’t great shooting, it could have been a lot worse. I’m not overly happy with where I’m at because I feel like I’m shooting better than I’m scoring.

On Wednesday, I spent a lot of time blank baling and shooting at huge dots from close yardage. I’m not sure of the exact amount of time, but I shot arrows on and off from around 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. My shot started to feel repeatable that night. I realized that I needed to work on my hand pressure on the riser.

I went back to the range on Thursday when I got out of work. I worked on my drawing, settling and aiming. After I got done working on execution without caring where the arrows hit, I decided to shoot a 300 game on a Vegas target. I didn’t expect much since I was shooting my small diameter 3D arrows. I got through the first 5 ends clean and shot a 150 with 8xs. The next five ends, I began feeling the wear and tear from the previous two hours, as I was headed toward hour number three of firing arrows with this new system. When I finished the round, I had a 298 with 15xs, and I dropped both 9s in the same end. When I dropped the points, it was because I didn’t stay in the shot. I need to focus more on that going into the future.

Friday night is 5-spot league night. I knew that 60 arrows was going to be rough because I kind of over did it this week. I figured if I could get through the night, I would take Saturday off and get back at it for a few hours on Sunday.

When I was warming up, I had a really hard time holding the bow still. When the round started, the sight picture calmed down and the pin held much steadier. I’m still having some trouble holding the pin super still, but it feels like it’s improving, after all, it still is a very new process to me, and I’m using different parts of my body that I haven’t used in a long time.

I didn’t start very well out of the gate, but everything seemed to go right in the beginning of the round. I’m not sure if it’s because of the new paper. I waited three rounds before clicking the sight, and after that, I seemed to be dialed in the rest of the night. I ended up missing two Xs in the first end and two Xs in the last end. Besides those four, I only missed two other ones over the course of the round. I shot a 300 with 54Xs. I also shot the two practice ends and may have missed an X or two in them, but I can’t really remember those two ends.

Looking forward to next week, I know I have to continue the grind if I’m going to be ready for 3D season. It’s a work in progress in will require a lot of work to get back to where I feel like comfortable and confident with the new changes. In the few rounds I shot, I quickly realized that I need to let down as soon as I lose back tension. If I try to struggle through it, the weight goes from by back into all sorts of places in my body that it shouldn’t be. Last night, when I lost the tension a few times, it moved into my shoulder, forearm and hand. If I feel that in the future it’s a red flag……………GO BACK TO START. When I shoot shots the right way, I know I won’t miss, and it’s a tremendous feeling.  I really like it.

This week I saw a few guys on Facebook who were talking about shooting their best rounds, and a few other guys who said they were working on things. After reading this, how may people work this hard? Remember that most of us aren’t pros, we are just Joes. Sometimes it seems like Joes just don’t put in the work. I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t believe that’s true. Sometimes Joes put in a lot of work, but the work doesn’t come out on the other end. My only advice it to keep plugging and have fun doing it. I just love shooting arrows. Hopefully, I will get a little better, but either way, I’ll have an awesome time while I’m trying.

The target below is the one that I shot in league on Friday night. 300 54Xs…………..I’m making progress. This round felt really good. I’ll work on front and rear pressure this week and making sure the steps in my process are firing like a well-oiled machine. How is everyone else out there doing? Now, is the time to work toward spring when we all start winging arrows at 3D targets.

An Archer’s Journey…..

January 29th, 2018


Last year when I was talking to my good friend Scott Tozier, he told me I should think about constructing a blog that chronicled my adventures in archery for a season. He said he came across one somewhere and thought it might be something that some people would be interested in reading. I’m unsure it that’s the case, so I guess I’m putting it out there to hear different people’s opinions on this.

While I’m certainly not a professional, I do put a lot of time into the sport. Most people would probably be a lot better than me if they invested as much time into as I do every year. I guess in the end it’s probably just because I love the mythical flight of the arrow. I love watching an arrow get launched and travel toward its intended target. Sometimes the arrow buries itself in the center and other times it ends up someplace that bothers me.

I got  a late start this winter because I used up every available second I had to hunt. I never launched an arrow until the last few days of December. The only reason I did that was because I made plans with my buddies George, Chuck and Jeff to go to the annual New Year’s Day shoot at Nimrod in Massachusetts. After all, I wanted to be somewhat prepared so as not to make a fool out of myself, even though nobody really cares how anyone else shoots. And that’s the amazing part, we too often get wrapped up in everything and think that others actually care how we shoot. Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that some people notice if we have slipped, but nobody really cares.

So, when I began shooting that week, I had a significant amount of shoulder pain. After some soul searching, I decided that I would call my friend Mark Meyers and ask him a few questions while I was discussing another archery related topic with him.

A week or so later, I decided to give my longtime buddy Mike Price a call to see if he could take a look at a few things for me and help me with some things that I’ve had problems with after getting back into archery after my reconstructive shoulder surgery in 2011……..which seems like it just happened two years ago.

I guess I’ll end this entry here to see if anyone out there has any interest in following along, participating, asking questions, and sharing it with your friends. I would probably give a weekly update as to what transpires each week and what I’ve done or worked on in the time period. I figure it might give others an idea what goes on when we really don’t know how much people shoot or how much they put into it.

Nothing I’ve ever done has come easy to me. I’ve had to bust my balls to achieve an inkling of success in anything I’ve ever done. I’m definitely not a natural and never will be. I’m a hard worker who probably fell a few steps short of different dreams in different areas of life. Archery has always helped me to center my mind. If you want to follow along on my journey, I’ll share it with you for the 2018 season. I’d like to hear anyone’s thoughts on this idea.

Looking Back at the Year in Archery

August 21st, 2017

I’m not even sure where to start this, so I guess I’ll go back to the beginning of the year and take a look to see where it brings me. Unfortunately, Chuck and I canceled our plans to go to the Lancaster Archery Classic in January. I wasn’t shooting well and neither of us were really up for it. Deciding not to go ended up being a good decision.

In doing so, I was able to sit home and watch from afar as Jon Purdy and Mike Speed shot some great qualifying rounds and advanced into the elimination matches. Mike drew the number one guy and had him on the ropes until the last end. Jon kept his cool and began mowing people over before moving into the rounds that took place on the big stage. He looked cool as a cucumber and let the world watch his flawless shot execution on the big screen. It really was like watching poetry in motion. I feel fortunate to be able to shoot next to him two times every week during the winter archery leagues. Jon also shot an incredible round at the Mid-Atlantic sectionals and took the title home. He couldn’t do anything wrong during the indoor season. It was awesome to watch. It’s a pleasure to be in his presence. Just a few days ago, Jon’s 3D season came to a close when he shot an awesome round at the IBO World and made the cut. He came out in 5th place, which was another incredible accomplishment in an entirely different format of archery. Not many people can say that they have done the same. Congratulations Jon, you had a heck of a year. Hopefully, your success continues next year. It’s always easy to route for the good guys.

Of course, his brother Brian couldn’t let Jon have all of the recognition. Brian also put up one heck of a round at the IBO World and went into the final day in second place. He was able to secure a spot on the podium for a runner-up finish at the IBO World. Great job, Brian. Although he got mad at himself a few times over the summer, he put it all together when it mattered most. That’s what makes a true champion.

Since we’re cruising along with the family genre, I can’t forget John and Jacob. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with both of them this year on the 3D range and indoors. Everywhere my dad and I go, Jacob and his dad are there, too. When I look around at the younger generation, I  see a lot of disrespectful young people. Jacob is a pleasure to be around. He’s always very complimentary and thankful. Although he’s one of the very best archers in the country, you would never know it by talking to him. He’s very humble and he seeks advice from people who are nowhere near as good as him. He gains a little bit from a lot of people and that is part of what makes him so great. Watching him shoot is a little inspiring. It brings me back to a time when I was much younger, and I like going back to that place. I’d be here all night if I listed his accomplishments, but I can tell you how hard it is to win the IBO National Triple Crown and the IBO World. If you ever accomplish either of those feats, you can sit down and pat yourself on the back. To win those two things at any time in your career would be incredible, but to win both of them in the same year is beyond believable. Besides doing that Jacob shot 119xs at the indoor nationals as well as rolling off another amazing three rounds in Vegas and his normal awe-inspiring round at the Lancaster Archery Classic. Although all of those things are amazing, the best thing Jacob did this year was to win the third leg of the national triple crown the same weekend his dad got on the podium at the same shoot. John, you had quite the showing this year. When we shot together at the New Hampshire state championship, I knew you had it in you to get on the podium at the nationals. Sometimes, you just have to trust in your ability and let it happen rather than trying to make it happen. Great job to both of you this year. I’m glad I was able to share a lot of time with each of you in different venues throughout the year. It made me a lot better, and I’m thankful for being pushed into a higher gear. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Stay hungry and judge your yardage. You can be one of the best ever if you put your mind to it. Keep judging and gaining knowledge from everyone.

I could probably spend hours writing this, but I’ll spare you the time of having to read through it and try to make it short. There are more people than I can possible think to include in this entry, but some of you definitely deserve recognition.

Jeff Wagoner never ceases to amaze me. Two years ago, he shot a 300 at the NY State Indoor Championship and this year he was shooting 60xs and 450s in indoor winter league with a release. It goes to show you that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

I was pretty excited when my traveling partners from another era both contacted me this year to try out some of the shoots in New England. When Brett Dufour and Wade Chandler decided to come out of retirement, I knew they would be able to hold their own. They were always great shooters, and I was certain that time probably hadn’t changed their abilities. It was no surprise to me when they both won their respective classes at the Vermont IBO State championship, the first shoot they that both chose to come out of retirement at. I felt like I had been transported back to the old times when we competed against each other, competed as teammates and drove each other to be the best we could be.

As long as I’m talking about the old timers, I might as well include the person who I’ve shot competitive archery with for the most amount of time. In my early 20s, I began going to big tournaments with Doug Vaughn, and we’re still going together. I’ll never forget sitting in a bar in Oswego, NY, after a day on the course in Fulton, N.Y., at the second leg of the IBO Northeast Triple Crown, and seeing a white bronco plastered all over every TV in the bar. We had no idea what was going on until someone told us it was OJ Simpson in the white bronco. Wow, how time flies. We finished the tournament the next day, and they brought national guard truck in with water to keep people cool. The temperatures never dropped below 95 degrees. Since that day in the early 90s, Doug and I have shared a lot of adventures. I could never ask for a better guy to talk to about anything. Doug’s year this year was second to none. He started the year in SHC but chose to move into HC in hopes of winning the Bowtech bow at the finals. If he had stayed in SHC, he would have won shooter of the year, and even being in his late 50s, he still came close to winning the HC and beating the young bucks. Great job Doug. I hope I can stay at that level in a few more years.

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention a couple of my favorite people in New England/NY series that put a lot into it, and the results show. Deb Beaupre is always very positive and her positivity carries her to heights that many other archers never attain. A lot can be learned tom that, and more people would be better served to model themselves after her while shooting their bows. Great job this year! I was disappointed that you didn’t make the dance at the IBO World Championship, but I can say that I know exactly how it feels to be the first person on the outside who is looking in. I’d rather get stomped than to end in that place. I’ve finished there on four different occasions. All I needed was one tie to get in, and there were no ties. One year, I even shot a 5 on the very last target when I was shooting in the semi-pro class and that 5 cost me from participating on the final day. All I needed was an 8. I guess that’s what a bad yardage call does to you. Hopefully, you continue to improve, and you’ll have your day to shine. Keeping preparing yourself mentally and the sky will be the limit for you.

Melanie “Superstar” Gross never ceases to amaze me. She’s a grinder, a grinder that collects an awful lot of belt buckles to make one helluva wind chime. Her damn neighbors must get pissed off because they can never get any sleep with those things banging around when the wind blows. You did a great job this year, especially at the IBO World Championship. It’s pretty hard not to lose ground that final day when the nerves are coursing through your veins like an out-of-control locomotive that’s ready to go off the tracks. You did really well to come off the mountain and finish on the podium. A podium finish is the most satisfying thing you can get for all of your hard work. Heck, of the 1,200 people who competed at the championship, there were only about 40 winners. There are always more losers than winners and to win always takes a little bit of luck. Sometimes you have the luck and sometimes you don’t. Great job this year. I hope you are able to use the experience and improve next year.

As I’m trying to recall everything that happened this year, I’ve come to realize that I will most definitely forget a lot of people. I have to say that I was pretty impressed when I opened the scores from the Maine IBO State Championship and saw that Gary Jones had won the SHC class. He grinds like all of the rest of us, and being relatively new at it, this shoot was the highest of highs. It shows him that he can do it, even when he finds himself near the bottom of the pack at times. Great job on your win and hopefully your pursuit of perfection brings you to the top of the mountain many more times.

Mike “Baby Bob” Lambertsen, you never cease to amaze me. When I think you’ve hit the bottom of the barrel, you always make me realize how incredibly well you shoot. I love when you put up the big scores just like the old days. If you would stop beating yourself up for insignificant things, you will improve your path to success and many of the obstacles will disappear. Congratulations on your Vermont IBO win and your tie at the New England Championship. When you can finish at the top anywhere in the northeast, it’s quite an accomplishment, especially with the level of shooters you’re competing against. Keep plugging and find the groove for next year.

I had the pleasure of shooting with some old timers a few different times this year. At one tournament, I got to shoot with Rick Baker, Bill Romanchick and Wade Chandler. It made me feel like I had been transplanted back into the late ’90s, and it was awesome. It always amazes me when I watch Rick shoot his bow. It seems effortless and nothing ever bothers him. He holds like a rock and executes perfect shots every time. He’s the most consistent shooter in New England when it comes to both venues, indoor target archery and 3-D archery. He’s always in the hunt no matter what game he’s playing, and not too many people can say that. He always lends me his ear when I have any type of question, whether it’s personal or bow related.   Billy has also been around since my initiation in NewEngland almost 30 years ago. It has been a pleasure to watch him lay down some impressive scores, especially the way he shot at the New York IBO State Championship when I shot with him. When he’s dialed in, he’s unbeatable in the MSR class. Not many people can dominate their region in the class they shoot like he does. It amazes me how he does it.

It was nice to see my buddies Wade Chandler and Brett Dufour come out of retirement this year. They both made their return at the Vermont IBO State Championship. After the dust had cleared, they were both winners. Who can do that? They came back after 10-15 years of being away, and they won their respective classes. I guess it shows you that people who learn how to shoot the right way never really lose it.

A lot of people in New England impressed me this year, but a few really stood out other than Jacob. Brandon McFadden is one of them. He put up some pretty impressive scores this year, especially when he shot pins and crushed everyone in the BBO class. Who can shoot pins and beat all of the guys in a scope class? I was amazed at how he lit up every course he shot this year. Then, at the IBO World, I was glad to be paired with him on the final day. We had a really good time, and I watched a tremendous display of shooting. Of the 10 targets in the final round, he smoked five 11s and barely missed a few others. Unfortunately, he had a little bit of bad luck near the end and ricocheted off from my arrow into the 5. It’s a really crappy rule that we couldn’t do anything about, but it sucks to give a great shooter a 5 when it landed where it did because he broke an arrow in the kill zone. Although I can’t stand the rule, I understand it because I lived it last year. I know how frustrating it can be when it happens. At the end of the round, Brandon found himself on the podium, which was pretty cool. In one class there were two people on the podium who were from New England. Brandon kept me honest and made me strive to improve.

Without having my big buddy Donny around too terribly much this year, Brandon brought out the best in me. He pushed me to the limit and made me realize that he will continue winning. Donny always pushed me to get better to keep up with him and not having him around this year very much made me search for other motivation. I was really disappointed that he had to take a step back. I’ve had a good time competing against him the last few years, and I value his friendship more than he could possibly imagine. Hopefully, he can return to his winning ways next season. I missed him a lot this year but also feel lucky to have been able to shoot with him two or three times.

Since I’ve spent some time on pin shooters, I must mention Andy Bush, whom I met in 2015 when I won the IBO World. He was in my group the first couple of days. His attitude and easy-going nature made it easy for me to stay focused and shoot to the best of my ability. He has worked really hard at his game, and the results associated with his work have been nothing short of phenomenal. Andy put on a shooting clinic at the Winter Cam Classic in Rochester, and he followed it up at the NYFAB Indoor State Championship. He didn’t stop there, either. I was happy to have him join me on the final day for the shoot off in the IBO World Championship. He made the cut and shot very well. I expect him to keep improving and posting great scores and finishes. Andy also hooked me up with a Beestinger stabilizer that I was looking for this year. Andy, continue pushing forward and gaining ground. I always route for the good guys like you. What you did this year was really impressive.

Everywhere I go, I see my little buddy Jeffrey Paes. He struggled at times this year, and I saw him getting frustrated. Having been through it in my own travels, I tried to offer advice and explain that it happens to everyone. Although he listened to what I said, he kept on working at his game. He’s improving every time I see him, and I wish him all of the luck in the future.

No matter what tournament I’m at or how far I’ve driven to get there, I always see the Kays, and seeing them makes me happy. When I see them, I smile and realize that they’re as addicted as we are to this game. It’s nice to hang around people who share the same passion at the same level. We’ve both been traveling around doing it for the last 25 years. This year the Kays put up some good scores in their travels, and Sara impressed me more than once since I occasionally shoot the same stake that she shoots. At the New England Championship, Sara put up an incredible score that reflected all of her hard work. It’s always cool to watch people make equipment changes, whether it’s a bow, release, sight or something else, and come out and put up a big score. It shows all of us that it’s okay to take chances. I hope we continue to see the Kays at all of the events in the future.

Sara wasn’t the only person who put up some impressive scores this year, Jerry Galley absolutely pounded a couple of courses, especially the New York IBO State Championship course and the course at the first leg of the National Triple Crown. His wins in both of those shoots were pretty damn impressive. Congratulations on your first win at a national event. Sometimes when we thing our hard work will never be rewarded, it finds us when we’re least expecting it. It was good to see that your hard work paid off. A national win in any class in impressive. While I sometimes here people talk about the number of people in a class and downplay other people’s success, I understand how hard it is to win in all of the classes, since I’ve shot in many different classes. It’s always hard to win and learning to win at that level is important. It was nice to see you learn how to finish the job and get it done. I wish you much more luck in the future.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to type this entire thing and not mention the guys in my group at the IBO World Championship this year. Robert John Vayro, Robert Montgomery and Jim Fogle made my tournament enjoyable, and they contributed to my success. They made me feel relaxed and everyone in the group was positive, even when things weren’t the brightest. This helped me remain focused and calm to accomplish one of my goals for the year. I have to thank all of them. Robert Vayro is from Australia, and I had the pleasure  of shooting with him last year, too. He’s a great guy to shoot with, and he always keeps everything relaxed. I haven’t shot with many guys like him. I feel very fortunate that he presented me with a hat, pin, belt buckle and a shooter shirt from Australia. I felt very honored and thankful for his gratitude. Shooting with guys like them is what makes the game so much fun. That’s why we should always try to treat others with respect and just go have a good time, even when we’re not shooting well.

Every year, I work with a lot of people to help them get better. Although I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of things in my archery career, I always take more pride in the people I try to help.

George Connors had a phenomenal 3-D year last year, but came up a little short this year. It took him all year to figure out that it was equipment related. Although he held his own, he didn’t put the hammer down on everyone like he did last year. I was really glad he was finally able to go to the IBO World this year. He ended up being the first guy on the outside of the cut line. I’ve been there many times, five I think, and it really sucks. I hope he gets another chance to redeem himself and make the dance. I know he has the game to do it. His indoor season was nothing short of phenomenal. He pounded out a few 60X games and 450 games, and he won the New England NFAA Indoor Sectional for his class with 56Xs, and that was one of the worst rounds he shot all year. I expect great things from him next year.

My award for the hardest worker has to go to Chuck Weeden this year. It took me a long time to convince him to sacrifice the rest of the year and shoot nothing but his Stan Black Jack. He has worked harder than most people can imagine, and when I snuck up behind him a few times and watched him shoot, I was more than impressed. He has learned how to be patient and let down shots when they don’t go off rather than force them off. He has learned that score doesn’t mean a damn thing. Score is insignificant when you’re retraining yourself how to shoot. By the end of the season, Chuck became really consistent. All of his scores were within a few points. When people become consistent, they usually stay there for a bit before jumping up a little bit.  I look forward to watching Chuck’s progression because his journey reminds me very much of my own journey that started almost 30 years ago. Hopefully, I have saved him some time that I wasted while learning the hard way.


Victoria Vrooman gets my new archer of the year award. I’ve never seen anyone who picked up proper execution of a shot as quickly as Victoria. She shoots a perfect shot every time an arrow launches from her bow. She wants to be at the top but has to realize that it’s a progression. She was in 15th place after the first day at the IBO World. I was more than impressed. Some bad weather rolled in the second day, but she still finished around the halfway point of the class. She has only shot a bow for six months. I can’t wait to see how she does this winter when we go indoors. She’s a pleasure to be around, and I really enjoy her desire to succeed. She’s a winner. She needs to continue working on her patience to allow her to achieve all of her goals. Focusing on the process instead of the results will lead her to the place she wants to go. Great job, Victoria. I’m glad I’ve been able to help you find a hobby that you can excel at. It has been a pleasure to watch.

I almost forgot Sean Roberts. Of all of the shooters out there, he reminds me the most of myself. He has to work at it extremely hard to succeed. Success is a direct result of the amount of work we both put into it. Neither one of us are naturals. We don’t have that magic rock that helps us get to the winner’s circle. Instead, we grind every day. We think, breathe, eat, sleep and drink archery. We strive to do the best we can. I was really happy for Sean when he finished in 5th place at the last leg of the National Triple Crown. He earned that finish, and he learned he could compete at that level. He got the confidence that he needed, and that confidence helped him get the big win at the IBO World Championship. I was really happy for him when he secured the win. It’s always easy to route for the guys who route for me and respect when I’ve accomplished. Great job Sean! I hope you improve upon this year and put up just as good of a year next year. You deserve it.

I need to wrap this up, especially since I’ll be headed to Colorado in a week. I was glad to see 3-D season come to an end last weekend when I teamed up with Jacob at Shawn Couture’s shoot. We had a great time. Although we started off a little slow and whacked a tree, we quickly regained out composure and got on track. I’ve learned that when Jacob gets pissed off, you had better watch out because he goes into autopilot and becomes possessed. I love being around Jacob because he’s calm, confident and humble. He goes about his business, and you would never know how good he is unless someone told you. We got lucky enough to get a win and collect $400. That was pretty sweet.

Whenever I’ve shot with Scott Tozier in team events, I’ve always shot well. Jacob has the same type of calming effect for me that Scott has for me. I’d sign up with either one of these guys anytime I had the chance to do so. I think we all bring out the best in each other.

This winter, it was nice to shoot next to Scott at a vegas tournament. I enjoyed filming him in a shoot off and trying to figure out what was causing his small misses. We figured it out after a few minutes. I’m thankful for Scott’s friendship. He has helped me on many occasions. He always listens to me bitch, and he offers good words and advice at the right time. Jacob’s approach reminds me a lot of Scott’s approach. That’s probably why they’re both winners.

Watching Scott win the IBO World in crossbow was incredible. Is there anything this guy can’t do? I don’t think so. He knows how to win. It’s that simple. There aren’t many people who  know how to win like he does. It’s impressive to watch. I’m certain that there aren’t many guys who could take down the crossbow legends in target archery like Scott did at the final shoot of the year. It was unbelievable to see what he did. I always enjoy watching him do his thing.

Well, as for me, I can’t complain about my year. I broke out my moveable sight in the spring after having the worst indoor year I’ve ever had. I wanted to prove all of the naysayers that I could shoot with a moveable sight since so many of them don’t know my past history. I broke it out in Rhode Island and shot the highest score of any shooter off from the blue stake by about 10 points. It felt really good to know I could still compete at that level. When the season had ended I got to the top of the mountain many times and shot the highest score a few other times. I had one of those memorable years in which there were peaks and valleys. Some days were flawless and other days were a brutal grind. Jacob saw me grind, and he also saw me shoot with ease at other times. Even while grinding, I still stay focused and try to accomplish the same thing………..shoot good shots.

A few weeks ago, when the season ended at the IBO World Championship, I was glad to be able to go home with a World Champion belt buckle for the second time in three years. When people talk of the “zone,” I can relate to it. I was in the zone for most of the weekend. Although there were a few lapses, I stayed calm on the inside until it was over. I’m glad the season is over, and I look forward to all of the new memories that are waiting to be made.

Since this was so longwinded, I apologize to all of the people I forgot. I didn’t forget you, I just got rambling and wrote what game to my mind. I love everyone in my archery family. I’d like to thank Scott Tozier, Mike Lambertsen, Rick Baker, Doug Vaughn, George Connors, Chuck Weeden, Jacob Slusarz, my dad, Travis Boyd, Paul Bertrand and Jim Despart for always listening to me when I have questions and answering me to help me out with whatever I might be asking questions about. I take a lot of things from a lot of people to help me with my pursuit of making good shots every time I draw my bow.

Until next year…………………….visualize making perfect shots and stay warm in the tree this fall. Shoot straight.



Rounding the Bases

May 4th, 2017



As spring gradually rolls toward summer, I see a lot of kids on baseball diamonds, girls on softball fields and adults reliving their glory days in recreational softball leagues. No matter where I go, the same memories race to the forefront of my mind. I can see my father wearing his red McCann and Clary shirt while standing on the pitcher’s mound and hurling strike after strike at me and my teammates, since kids were not allowed to pitch at that age.

I can feel the ball striking me squarely in the back during a game on a hot summer day when Mike Ahrens, who was a year older than me, launched the ball toward the plate but lost control of it. The stinging sensation as I tried to pick myself up from the dirt, regain my composure and walk to first base is still within reach, even 38 years later. I was fortunate enough that day to round the bases and score, which now makes me realize that I’ve been lucky to have relatively good health. I’m still rounding the bases, but others who I knew when I was younger have not been so lucky, including Mike. Although Mike and I were never friends, I did share a lot of good memories on the baseball field with his brother, Roger. When I look back on the simple things in life, it’s amazing how certain things stay attached and others disappear. Many home runs are unforgettable and others become a simple swing of the bat that get mixed in with batting practice cuts.

When I got out of college and entered the workforce, I joined the co-ed softball team at work. I figured it would give me something to do during the week. There were only about 70 people who worked in the office, and most of us on the softball team were like family members. Although the games were meaningless, they brought us together. I watched Ruth’s daughter throw dirt in Jim’s son’s eyes, and I saw Ruth discipline her in front of everyone, something that very rarely gets done these days, almost 25 years later. Meanwhile, both of the kids grew up and moved away from this “small town.” They had bigger dreams than all of us who stayed behind. It doesn’t make those children any better or worse than the rest of us. They are just trotting around the bases and taking in the sights and sounds.

I don’t recall getting upset with anyone. It didn’t matter if someone made an error, struck out, hit a home run, popped out to end the game, or even pulled a no-show when we really needed people. Every Tuesday night, Bob Choenier would roll into the beaten down ballpark on his Honda Aspencade with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Matt and Jim would arrive early enough to take some fly balls and get a few swings in before the game started. Jim always swore by his Subaru vehicles, and two and a half decades later, he still drives one. Gary Carter, Jim Patnode, Wendy Duval, Paul Schmiel, Ben Lapham, and a few others whom I’m sure I have forgotten were always on the field having fun. Nothing was bigger than any of us. We would all show up at work the next day and go about our business.

I’m not sure if it was because we were all so much younger, or if time had a way of changing things in a variety of ways. Our business expanded and the ratty, old ball field quickly had stands built around it. People started coming in droves and tore the players in many different directions, but the players kept rounding the bases. A few of  our contributors passed away far too young, but many of us still remain. Some of us headed down different career paths, some of us tried advancing our careers, and others fell in line and accepted the changes of time. Some of us made out better than others, but we are all still the same people. When you’re at the plate, you do everything you can to get around the bases and score. The team that scores the most runs wins…………..right?

Now, I wish I could just stand at home plate and blast home runs over the fence. I don’t want to round the bases. I don’t want to score. At the time, many of us didn’t realize that time doesn’t stand still for anyone or anything. Instead, we felt immortal. Many of our kids were young, some of us didn’t even have kids, and others were becoming grandparents. A few of us had battled health issues, but most of us didn’t have a clue about the beauty of life and the cruelty that can accompany it. We were ignorant to the ways of the world.

When I spoke to Ruth this morning, the topic of that old softball team came up, and I spent the rest of the day thinking about those days. I would race to Johnsburg after work to shoot in a 3-D archery league so I could get back in time for the game. It was the beginning of my target panic, which crippled me for a few years. Eventually, I was able to leap over the demon, and I found myself on the national scene, a place I had never dreamed of going. Although I wish I could go back, I’m extremely thankful for my journey.

When my bat connected with the ball last night, I was overwhelmed with how it felt. I knew the ball had a chance when it began its flight. Unfortunately, the wind held it up, and it hit the fence halfway up. When I began my journey out of the batter’s box, I realized how lucky I am to still be able to do many of things I have always loved doing. It saddens me that a few of the people I wrote about in this piece were not able to enjoy long lives. We never know how long we have, and that is why I pursue the things that make me happy. I might still be in the same office that I was when that ragtag group of co-workers formed that special team, but I have rounded the bases in my own way. I’ve reached for the sky in some areas, but fallen short in others. I’ll still keep chasing dreams, but I’ll never forget the teammates I had on the team that didn’t matter, the people who were around before things became complicated. I thank all of those people for giving me something to remember. When we hit balls in the gap, we always think we can get to second base. Sometimes, though, people never have the opportunity to get to first base. My trip around the bases has been incredible. I’ll keep running as long as possible. Although I enjoy(ed) hitting home runs, I’m now content to do it in my mind so I never have to cross home plate.


Where Did the Obsession Start?

February 2nd, 2017


Someone tagged me in a post on social media today and asked me to post a picture with a bow. Well, the picture above is the first one that came to mind for a number of reasons. I actually remember the day it was taken like it was last summer.

My mother and father were building a new house for us to live in. It would be close to the house I had spent my whole 4 years of life in, so I knew it wouldn’t be that bad. When the house was completed, my love for archery sprouted. My father set up hay bales to shoot at in the back yard. He taught me how to fling arrows at paper plates. I learned how to steady my aim and concentrate until I was ready to put the arrow in flight.

After releasing my first arrow, the sport of archery was cemented inside my being. I wore a path down in the backyard from walking back and forth to the target to retrieve my arrows. Along the way, my dad and I figured out that the mystical flight of an arrow is something that has no comparisons.

When I went to college, I joined a local archery club and found myself at the club every day. I went there to get away from the pressures associated with college exams and living on my own. Launching arrows brought me into another world, a world where everything was unimportant and carefree.

After graduating from college and returning home, I joined a local fish and game club, where I would participate in my first archery league. I shot at a single spot target the first time I ever shot a scoring round in a Freeman 300 league. I scored a 224…………..a perfect score of 300 was the furthest thing from my mind.

As I continued shooting in the league, I eventually got into the 270s before the first year closed out. The next year I continued improving until I finally shot a 300………..the ever-elusive perfect round, then target panic hit me like a sledgehammer, shattering my confidence. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get the pin to sit in the middle of the target.

After that 300, I went on to crash and burn. I got to the point where I couldn’t finish a 300 round because I shot all of my arrows off the cement floor. I couldn’t even get the pin on the target bale, which brought out the demons. The demons took hold and pushed me to the limit. There were nights that I left without any arrows, but I went and bought more to continue the misery. I wasn’t going to let it win. Unfortunately, not many people remember that part of my journey, but it lives with me every day I walk into an indoor range or onto 3D range.

Finally, Ed Dufour let me borrow a 4-finger Stanislawksi release. I learned how to let my subconscious mind fire the arrows. After minutes, days, hours and months of practice, I gained back my confidence.

When the league rolled around the next winter, I was ready for the challenge. I went on to roll off all 300s in the league, claiming the first-ever 300 average in that league. For the next 13 years, I did the same thing over the course of three three leagues, with my best year resulting in a 10-week average of 300 and 59.4 xs. The only four I shot during that time period was caused my someone accidentally? bumping into me while I was executing a shot.

Over time, even after having major reconstructive shoulder surgery, I’ve been lucky enough to stand on the top of the podium to receive state titles, regional titles, national titles and world titles. Although I will never match what many of my friends have done in this sport, I feel very lucky for the little bit I’ve been blessed with in this archery life.

When shoulder pain began creeping in, shooting became very difficult and some of my mental game went by the wayside along with my body. Although I’ve never returned to that special place of shooting perfect arrows almost every shot, I do have many fantastic memories that started in the yard of my mother and father’s new house back in 1974.

Archery has brought me to places that I never could have imagined. I’ve shot in competitive archery all over the United States, and I’ve traveled to hunt all over the United States and Canada with my bow. Archery is something I love. It’s who I am. I’m calm at the center and live in the soft spot behind the center of the gold.

Although I wish I could have reached my full potential while I was in my prime, life has a way of dealing blows that can’t be understood at the time. Some days when I see many of the guys whom I shared the stakes with while shooting in peer groups who are now making a living in the archery and outdoor industry, I’m a little envious. But I’m still glad that I have the memories. The experiences have allowed me to write for many different publications and shoot at a variety of venues.

I guess I didn’t plan on writing this much, but it kept flowing when I started punching keys. It reminds me of flinging arrows. I can still stand in the yard, just like I did in that picture, and shoot arrow after arrow after arrow for hours on end. I will never get tired of shooting arrows, and I’ll never tire from the daily grind of life.

When the release breaks, and the arrow is sent toward the target, I know it will follow the correct path if I have done everything the right way. I try to follow the same steps for my life. Shooting arrows and walking through life should be one in the same. They should both be fun, enjoyable, relaxing, depressing at times, and incredibly rewarding at other times.

Keep striving to follow the process and all of your arrows will find the gold no matter where your life brings you.








A Different Kind of Trip to the Woods

December 7th, 2016

A few days ago, I headed to the woods with Alex Kershaw, an internationally known visual artist from Australia. I hadn’t seen him in a few years. The last time he was in town, we worked from sunup to sundown for a few days, allowing him to gather enough footage for his project that will be released in international art galleries when it is completed.

In my travels, I’ve been around a fair number of very intelligent people. Each person has had unique qualities that sets him or her apart from the others. Alex stands out above all of the people I have met in the past.

I’ve never been around anyone who is so open-minded and objective. He listens, observes and doesn’t cast opinions based on his own thoughts. He takes things at face value. These qualities are so incredibly hard to find in a person that it seems like people like this don’t really exist. Instead, they are fictional characters in fairy tales that are shared with kids while they’re growing up.

As Alex followed me through the snow and down the hill to the place where I intended to sit with him until it got dark, I made sure to show him how to figure out if a deer was a buck or doe by showing him the urine-stained snow. I explained how does urinate behind their tracks and bucks usually urinate in their tracks or slightly ahead of them. This fascinated him ….. and me.

With a few minutes of daylight left, I spotted a doe making its way down the hill toward us. I gently reached behind me and grabbed Alex’s ankle and whispered, “There’s a deer up there.”

The deer fed along the ridge behind us. I could hear another deer, but couldn’t tell where it was standing. I heard a few sticks crack when it was moving, but I couldn’t pinpoint the noise. I whispered to Alex that I knew there was another deer in the vicinity.

Suddenly, the doe snapped her head up and locked onto us. I knew she was going to bolt, so I let Alex know that the fun was about to end. Seconds later, she blew and bolted, and two other deer ran out of the small depression behind her.They quickly disappeared into the brush above us.

We packed our gear and headed up the mountain. He asked a few questions along the way, but we didn’t waste any time getting out of the woods since it was now dark.

He couldn’t figure out how I knew there were other deer in the area when we couldn’t see them. He also didn’t know how I knew that the deer was going to run away.

I never really thought about it, but I realized that I take these things for granted. I’ve spent so much time in the woods that when I’m in a deer’s world, I know how to speak the silent language that is only found among the animals of the forest. I have become so in touch with nature that I am one of the beings that calls the forest home.

While walking out, I realized that I see things that very few people ever experience. I see the woods come alive almost every morning. I watch squirrels wake up in the morning, stretch their legs, and start scurrying from tree to tree to gather food. I watch woodpeckers  fly to their favorite trees to hammer them like a jackhammer tearing cement apart. I look into the gray sky as I hear geese and see them flying south.  I watch their V formation and wonder how they can hold it so steady. I watch owls quietly glide through the air and land on nearby limbs. Their heads turn on a swivel while they ready themselves to pounce on an unsuspecting mouse, which I might have seen crawl out of a stump a few minutes earlier.

Before I head out of the woods, I watch animals fill their bellies on the way to their homes. Deer browse along and mind their own business, and squirrels sometimes compete with them for a few morsels of food. The birds stop making noise, the turkeys fly into their roosting spots, and coyotes begin to howl as they get ready to search for food.

I’m unbelievably thankful that I was introduced to hunting when I was a child. It felt good tonight to be able to give back in a small way. Alex is an incredible man. I’m not sure if he will ever hunt. I suspect that he probably won’t try it, but he has at least experienced a few of the things with me that he never would have otherwise.

Every day in the woods is a gift to me. I enjoy it for what it is. I get to witness the cycle of life, the hunters and the hunted, and the education that is passed on in the silence of the forest. Hunters have a unique bond with nature. When Alex’s art project is released in one of the top art galleries, I’ll be interested to hear what the viewers see when they stand back and take it in. I will be able to learn from a different brand of people, just as a different brand of person learned from me………….a contribution to the cycle of life.t

The End of the Tournament Archery Season

August 15th, 2016


Well, the time is here again. Twenty-five years ago I began attending the IBO World Championship in August. In some ways it seems like it was just a few years ago, and in others it seems as if it happened in another lifetime.

I’ve had as many ups as downs, but I continue launching arrows toward the scoring ring in hopes of hitting what I’m shooting at. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a person with natural talent. I’ve had to work really hard at the game to achieve any of the limited success that I’ve been fortunate enough to experience during my journey.

One thing has remained constant through the years……………..I’ve met some phenomenal individuals, and I’ve become lifelong friends with many of them. I’m not sure when my desire to compete at a high level really started, but there is one event I can remember for a number of reasons. It was nothing more than an IBO World qualifier put on my Active Bowhunters out near Buffalo, N.Y. I had recently read in 3D Times about a guy named Scott Tozier who had won the IBO Indoor World Championship. I knew he lived in my home state, and I was pretty sure he would be at that tournament. The tournament was listed as a 30-target shoot. Although I thought I was a good shooter, I wanted to see if I could compete against one of the best in the country.

After shooting a few practice arrows at that tournament, I walked to the first target. A downhill turkey at about 37 yards looked back at me when I stood on the stake. Unsure of my yardage, I set my sight and put the arrow directly in the center of the waddle for a 5. Disgusted, I went to the next target. It was a small deer up a small grade on a hill. I shot out the top of the 10 for an 8. Since scoring was 10-8-5 at that time, I went on a run. Over the next 28 targets I shot one 8 on a pretty tough course. I was ecstatic. When I go the results Tozier had won the tournament with a 293, and I came in second with a 291. Although I didn’t know Scott at the time, that one tournament opened my eyes that I had the ability to be as good as one of the best 3D archers in the game. It gave me a desire to push forward.

Over the years, Scott and I became pretty good friends. We became teammates for some indoor and outdoor events as well as for the IBO National Triple Crown in the SPM class. Although neither one of us was as strong in indoor target archery, as a team we were hard to beat. He drove me, and I hope in some ways, I drove him to be better. We both went on to win a lot of things including our indoor state championship, which is always hard to win no matter what class you’re shooting in. Scott went on to win the IBO World a number of times in different classes, including SPM. Unfortunately, my luck always seemed to run in the other direction. Some unbelievable incidents due to equipment failures cost me some really big events. I was able to hold my own and finish at the top of my class in all of the major classes, and I’m probably more proud of that than any other archery accomplishment. If you can win in one class, you have the ability to be at the top of any other class. Scott and I are both living proof of that, so never let anyone tell you that you’re shooting a lesser class if you prefer to shoot one of the ones with closer yardages.

Back to this year…………it all started with Lancaster. As I prepared for it with my buddies George Connors and Chuck Weeden, I was shooting some phenomenal scores with a BHFS set up, which is a pin without any magnification and a short stabilizer. I was regularly averaging in the high 640s. I was ready. When I got to the tournament, it was as if the wheels fell off the bus. I suddenly realized that I was a phenomenal shooter in my own backyard…….probably like the majority of other shooters out there. I needed to work on getting over the hump.

Throughout the spring and summer, I was able to shoot a number of times with Scott, Rick Baker, and Don Doherty. I also got to shoot with some of my longtime friends in New England, friends who have always been good archers, including Bill Romanchick, Dana Harding, Adam Carlise, Mike Lambertson, and many others. They all helped me to improve, and I felt like I was finally gaining ground.

Don and I have become extremely close and as most of you know, we shoot the same class and have a great rivalry. While we both want to win, we both find great satisfaction in the other’s success. Don put on one hell of a shooting display over the course of the IBO National Triple Crown, besting the field by 20 points, which is almost unheard of for the overall in the triple crown. Although I’ve always wanted to win the National Triple Crown and have come so incredibly close a number of times, Don pulled it off on his first trip to all three of the shoots. I was disappointed that I didn’t make a good showing, but then I realized that the next closest guy to me was 20 points behind me —-I shot really well, but my big buddy just put it to me. I was happy for him, just as he would have been happy for me.

Last weekend after the first day of shooting at the IBO World Championship, I felt like I shot really well. I was disappointed when I saw that Don had a rough day. It really wasn’t fair because he had to shoot in some bad weather, but I also knew if anyone had the ability to crawl out of the hole to make a comeback, it would be him, and I always route for my good friends. As we waited for scores to be posted, I knew that Scott and Don were both on the bubble in their respective classes. When they were posted Don had made the cut once again for the second year in a row. I was really glad that we would be able to shoot together in the finals for the second consecutive year. Although I got off to a rough start on the first target the second day by shooting a low 5 on an alligator, I rolled off 13 elevens in the last 18 targets, which put me in 3rd place going into the shoot off.

Unfortunately, Scott didn’t make the cut, but for the battle he’s facing with his hip, I think he did a phenomenal job. If I could shoot like him, I’d be really happy. There aren’t many people who I respect in the shooting arena more than Rick Baker, Don Doherty and Scott Tozier, and I’ve had some pretty close battles with all of them over the years, even though Ricky doesn’t remember a few of ours in Semi-Pro back in the day. Every once in a while I was able to beat one of them, and it made me want to be better. If anyone in New England or New York wants to model their shooting after a good shooter, those three guys are at the top of the book for all styles of archery. A lot of times a shooter will excel in one discipline of archery, but these guys do it in every area. Sometimes I wish I could do what they do, but then I realize we all share our thoughts about the game with each other, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that knowledge.

When it was all said and done yesterday, I finished in 3rd place and Donny climbed from 5th to 4th. Last year we finished back to back, too, so it was only fitting that we did it again this year before Donny decides to go in another direction to try another division. I know he’ll succeed because I’ve shot with enough people over the years to know that he has exactly what it takes to be successful every time he shoots no matter who he shoots against. Just as I rooted him on when we shot together, I will root him on when he chases championships that don’t involve me. I love when my closest friends succeed, even if it’s at my own expense. It only makes me better.

This 3D season might have been the most fun I’ve had since the first day I ever stepped on a range, and that’s because Jon Brown and Bob Gattorna took the initiative to bring the IBO events back to New England and New York. Since I wanted to see it continue in a good direction and try to bring a giant event to the region like the old National Archery Festival in Merrimack, N.H., or one of the Northeast Championship events that used to be held in the Lake George region, I joined the team of IBO directors in New York. I need people in my region to work with me to help us grow the organization. We need to bring as many people to these events as possible. Encourage friends and family to attend and give me idea about what we can do to improve attendance.

The end of the 3D season is a time to realize the accomplishments of others, too. Although I’m sure I will forget a lot of people in this, I’ll give kudos to a few that come to mind as I’m typing this. Congratulations to Brian Kasten for winning the IBO Indoor World Championship this year. I know it was a long time coming, but nobody can ever take that win away from you now — Great job!!

Debra Beaupre congratulations on your New England Championship. You worked really hard to achieve it, and you should be extremely proud of how far you’ve come. I’m glad the PSE bow that JB hooked you up with is working great.

Adam Carlise, I can’t say anything other than what we all saw you do in Lancaster on lifestream was an unforgettable, remarkable performance………..well-done, oh, that arrow was in, too. hahahaha

Jason Kennedy, I’ll never forget the first time I shot with you and when we all learned that your wife has large fingers, but we will keep that between ourselves. Congratulations on a fantastic season that most people would give their right arm to achieve.

Brian Purdy congratulations on your shooting display in Maine. That was one of the best days of 3D shooting that I’ve ever seen. I hope it’s a sign of what’s to come next year.

Austin Jones, you my man, are an inspiration to me. I’m glad our paths crossed. I’m really excited that you won the IBO National Triple Crown and the World Championship. That is one heck of an accomplishment. I hope you continue moving forward and reach all of your new goals. I took the picture below last year before we were even friends. It’s amazing how things work out.


Jeffrey Paes, thank you for showing me that there are other people like me who battle hidden diseases every day. When I meet people like you, it makes me realize that we are all on the same team. You are an inspiration to me. I wish I could shoot as well as you, but I’ll be sure to practice harder this winter, so I can give you a run for your money. Congratulations on your great year. I hope you had fun at the IBO World Championship. You looked like you were a seasoned pro out there.

Nate Wilhelm, you have the tools to become really good if you decide to set goals. You will have to work for what you want. Those things don’t come without a lot of hard work. Congratulations on your first year of competitive shooting. You had quite a run. I hope you remember it as you get older. Enjoy your first year of college.

Jon Purdy, you have one of the best shots I’ve ever seen. There are many days when I wish I could execute a shot like you do. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments this year. If I’m not mistaken you started by making the cut at the Lancaster Classic and then went on to win three state championships and a shooter of the year title. I can’t wait to see how the next year unfolds for you.

Paul Morgan congratulations on your Massachusetts State Championship. You put on a heck of a performance. I hope you’re able to repeat it again next year. It was simply awesome on that course.

Rick Baker, you’re shooting skills are unbelievable. I’m glad we finally got to shoot together again this year. I had a great time when we did. Although your trip to my place for a few hours last month probably didn’t seem like much to you, it helped me in a lot of ways, so thanks. Your accomplishments are too many to list here, so just keep it going next year and stay strong and steady. I admire the way your shoot and I value our longtime friendship.

Chuck Weeden, you showed me that you have everything it takes to accomplish the impossible. When you put up a score like the one you put up at Northern Dutchess, you should realize the the sky is the limit. Thank you very much for giving me the desire to shoot again and to help others in the process. You are one of the key reasons why I’ve gotten back on the horse and haven’t fallen off yet.

George Connors, I’m not sure when you decided that you wanted to make sure everyone in the New England archery circuit knew your name, but you accomplished that this year. I’m still speechless from some of your performances. I’m still not even sure how you did what you did, but it was more than impressive. I can’t wait to see what the future brings, and even if it doesn’t every bring anything like this year again, you will always have that one special year. I know it will continue, though. Thank you very much for making me want to help you and driving me to succeed. Thanks for the support that you and Chuck gave me when I was on the road, too. Congratulations on all of your titles from this year, which are too many to name.

Sean Roberts, there’s not many questions about your ability. You can do anything with a bow if you put your mind to it. Just stay strong and steady. With a little more experience on the big state, I think you could make a great showing. Keep working at it. You definitely have everything you need to succeed. Congratulations on your wins this year.

Dana Harding, all of those miles turned out for the best. I was really happy to see you make the cut at the IBO World Championship. Congratulations. There’s nothing like seeing one of us old timers with a chance to win it all. Keep at it!!

Sara Kay and Ed Kay, you guys always seem to find your way to the top of the scoreboard. Congratulations on all of the fantastic finishes this year and last. It’s always good to see women shoot at a high level. It only helps us to introduce more shooters to the game. Good luck on your elk hunt this year.

Bill Romanchick, you put out some jaw-dropping scores this year. I’m glad to see it all coming together for you. There are very few people whom I’ve enjoyed shooting with over the years more than you. You are the man. I couldn’t be more impressed with your shooting. Congratulations on making the cut again this year. You keep giving yourself a chance at the World Title. I root for you every year, and I will continue to do so because it’s really easy to root for a good guy who does the same for you. Thanks for the support over the years.

Dad, thank you for continuing to go with me to all of the shoots as you go into your 70s. I couldn’t have a better partner to travel with, talk to, and shoot with. Thanks for everything. Congratulations on your continued dominance on the 900 round throughout New York and New England. Your reign has been pretty impressive.


Melanie Gross, congratulations on making the cut at the IBO World Championship. I know you’ve worked hard at it and sometimes it’s an awesome feeling when it all comes together at the right time. I hope you enjoyed the entire weekend and absorbed every minute of Sunday because so few people get to experience making the cut and shooting on the final day. Way to go!!

Jacob Slusarz, you are a freak of nature. I’ve never met anyone your age who is so grounded and appreciates the people in your home area. If you continue shooting we all know you will probably be a regular in the winner’s circle in the pro division. You make it very easy for all of us to root for you every time you go to a tournament. Although it’s hard for me to offer someone of your skill level any advice, I hope you were able to gain a little bit from some of the 3D advice I gave you and what bow to switch back to. On your journey forward stay humble and be a people’s pro. Darrin Christenberry has always been a friend of mine since we shot together in the late ’90s, and he’s no different to me now than he was then. He’s a great one to watch when he’s on the range. Congratulations on your phenomenal year. It was a great building block for you, and I’m sure you will keep climbing the mountain. Congratulations on your finishes in the IBO National Triple Crown as well as all of the indoor stuff.

……..and I save the best for last. Congratulations to Don Doherty for winning the IBO National Triple Crown. I can’t tell you how impressive your showing was in those three tournaments. Although I won the last leg, I felt bad in some ways because I wanted you to sweep the series when I knew the overall was out of reach for me. I’ve seen some good shooting before, but you were in the zone for most of the way. I’ve admired you as an archer and as a person since the day I found out we tied at the Massachusetts State shoot a couple of years ago and I won the tiebreaker. Since that time, I’ve gained more respect for your abilities as a shooter and your character. Thanks for listening to me when I call you up to blab or just chit chat about shooting. Thanks for not getting irritated with me when I bitched for 15 hours on the way from Indiana about ricocheting off the arrow. I appreciate all of your time, honesty and integrity. You have made me a better archer and I’m thankful for that. I’m also glad that we’ve both been able to share some of our greatest moments together. I’m giving you a fist bump right now big buddy.


So……….until next year………I hope everyone gets even better next year. I apologize to anyone I left out. The ones above are the first ones that came to my mind.





Father’s Day 2016

June 19th, 2016



I’ve seen all the posts all over social media today about people’s fathers. Although this entry will end up there, I’m pretty sure my dad wouldn’t be offended if I didn’t put anything on there at all. I’ve always made it known how I feel and to a lesser extent how much I appreciate everything he has done for me and my family members.

Looking back at my childhood, I never had to search for a role model. I had the perfect role models in both of my parents. They taught me the difference between right and wrong and laid a solid foundation for me to build upon.

Today I sit back and look at the big picture. I’m still not sure how  47 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. It seems like I was 30 years old a few weeks ago. Through it all my two role models have remained the same, and luckily they are both still with me today. They’ve seen me through all the highs and lows, and I’ve been on top of the world at times and in the very depths of despair at other times.

Today is the celebration of father’s day, so it’s only fair that my father gets his props today. I’m not about buying insignificant gifts to say thanks for being a great dad. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think a generic gift really does what so many other people think it does.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write anything for my mom this year, but she was in Europe with my dad on Mother’s Day. Once again, my two role models living a life that so many other people can only dream about. When they were pregnant and married in high school over 50 years ago, I’m pretty sure not many people would have given the relationship much chance of surviving the test of time. Parents of one at 18 and parents of three by the time they were 22.

Two children began giving lessons to their own children before they were old enough to know much about life. It’s amazing how much life experience can give to a person, but my parents figured out as they traveled along the road of adulthood.

My father introduced me to team sports because he never had a chance to play them since he grew up on a dairy farm and spent countless hours in the barn milking cows, in the fields cutting hay, and on a tractor plowing and sewing fields. The farm enabled him to learn how to do everything under the sun. Unfortunately, I never picked up on a lot of those things, but in reality it’s probably because he did everything for me. He showed me how to change tires, brakes and oil even though the dipstick oil event turned into a memory he will never forget. He taught me how to properly mow the lawn, rake the leaves and turn the power off in the fuse box when something needed to be worked on that involved electricity. He taught me how to cast my fishing line in the slow eddies behind rocks in the big rivers to entice big brown trout out of their hiding places. He taught me to find overturned leaves and determine if deer were overturning them while feeding on acorns or beechnuts. He taught me to locate a cluster of rubs in the woods and figure out a plan to see the buck that left them in that place. He taught me to inhale while steadying my aim with a rifle and exhaling as I squeezed the trigger until the shot broke. He introduced me to the stick and string, which has since consumed my life. He showed me some of his hobbies, and I followed in his footsteps and taught him a little bit along the way. I’m sure he never imagined where he and I would travel when he placed a bow in my hands as he was building his home in 1974. I’m sure he never imagined I would have a successful archery career littered with halfway decent accomplishments in amateur ranks as well as semiprofessional ranks. I’ll bet my last dollar that he never imagined we would reach the summit of 11-12,000 foot peaks in the Rockies while chasing elk. I’m sure he didn’t know he would have to pack extra gear to make sure I was okay and my diabetes wouldn’t lead me into the darkness of death. Although I was unconscious at times and it didn’t phase me, I bet he remained calm and steady while bringing me back to life. I’ll never forget when I came home and the red and white Yamaha 80 dirt bike was sitting in the driveway. He taught me how to drive it and let me rip around the fields behind the house. As time moved on, my mother took out a loan to buy me a Honda XL 200, so I could follow my passion of riding off road. She paid the loan every month for a few years just so I could do my own thing.

I still remember laying on my belly under an apple tree behind the house. My dad and I were inches apart when the turkey gobbled. My shotgun was pointed forward when I saw the bird coming toward us. Although I knew it was a hen, I could hear my father telling me to wait. Seconds later, I pulled the trigger and celebrated my first wild turkey. It was long before anyone in the area even turkey hunted.

Last fall I sat beside him on the float plane as we waited to take off. Once in the air, we both looked out the windows and took it all in. I’m not sure of his thoughts, but I know I was thankful for the journey that brought us to Newfoundland. It all started when he taught me how to shoot a gun when I was 10 years old, then a bow, and my passion for the outdoors and hunting took off from there. When a son shares the same passion as his father, it’s going to create a lifetime of unbelievable memories —— and it has done exactly that.

When I wrote my books, I dedicated them to my parents. They have supplied me with everything I ever needed to do anything I wanted to do in life. I don’t take it for granted. When my mother called me at work a few years ago in a panic-stricken frame of mind, I knew I might lose my dad. Luckily, he survived the heart attack and gave us more time to enjoy his fatherhood. Sometimes it makes me really angry when he doesn’t follow the doctor’s directions. I’ve always followed the orders since I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1975. I just wonder why he can’t do the same thing. It would probably extend his life, but at 69 years old it’s pretty hard to change a person’s habits.

I could continue writing for the rest of the day, but I have to cut this short because I’m going out to dinner with my heroes. Hopefully, the time together will be a good time to reflect on the meaning of the day and what brings us together.

Thanks dad for always being there, even when I have been less than deserving. Congratulations on your gold medals the last two weeks at the Massachusetts senior games and the New York senior games. It’s really nice to see that you’ve excelled in that arena after carting my ass around the country for all those years and watching me succeed. It’s nice to finally be on the other end of the stick and see the success. I hope you’ve enjoyed your day. I know you’ve probably been outside all day working on something. You might have mowed the fields with the tractor, worked on the deck, messed around with the stones or maybe, just maybe you sat back and relaxed for the day. No matter what happened, this is your day. Happy Father’s Day. I love you dad.














Goodbye 2015: What an Incredible Year

January 6th, 2016

When most years pass, I don’t take much time to reflect on the one being left behind. This year I find that task much more difficult for a variety of reasons. Many things happened this year that qualify it as one of the best years in my life, and I will never forget some of these things.

Far-off dreams became realities. What seemed like an unreachable goal a few years ago suddenly came back into focus. I did things I didn’t think I would ever be able to do, and I shared some incredible moments with friends and family alike. There aren’t many parts of 2015 that I can look back on and dismiss.

Social media gives people a way of telling the world that they can’t wait to leave the previous year behind and begin new adventures with new hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, most people do the same thing every year. They never try to reach their dreams. They stay in the same place and bitch and moan about all of the bad luck that lands in their laps. They wish they were others and talk about some people who they believe have everything.

I’ve always focused on myself. I don’t care what this person or that person does every day. I glance at the posts on social media and never give many of them much thought beyond keeping myself informed about my friends. They may be friends who I see every day or they may be friends who I once shared classes with in high school and haven’t seen since that time. It’s always nice to follow the dreams and accomplishments of others…………even if some of them are not even real.

As 2014 was winding down I set some goals and decided I would put a lot of effort into achieving them. If you set goals and don’t do anything to achieve them, what’s the sense of setting them?

When my friends George and Chuck asked me to go with them to the Lancaster Archery Classic, I didn’t give them an answer for a week or two while I thought about it. I hadn’t attended a national indoor archery tournament since going to the Atlantic City Classic more than 10 years ago. After having reconstructive shoulder surgery, I didn’t know if I could still compete at the national level at an indoor tournament.

After shooting a couple of practice rounds, I decided I would give it a try. Even if I didn’t perform well, I would still be able to see a number of my friends who I hadn’t seen in many years. Some of them have performed at incredible levels in the professional ranks, some have gradually improved, and others still go to shoots to socialize.

When the whistle sounded to approach the line and the voice came over the load speaker, “This is the first scoring end.” I was flooded with a lot of memories. The memories ranged from glorious victories to crushing defeats when I had to sit in a car for a 15-hour ride home. One thing was the same though — my breath became shallow and my nerves aroused all of my senses. I was back on the line at an indoor national event — a place I thought I would never return to.

The first 30 arrows weren’t too bad. I didn’t punch the center of the target out, but I also didn’t put myself in a position where I would have a hard time reaching my goal of making it to the elimination round.

At the halfway point when targets were switched from the top to the bottom, I knew I would have to shoot better in the second half to get to the dance. I settled in and went on a streak. Before it ended I had shot six 33s in a row.

When the scores were posted that night, I was ecstatic to see that I had made it to the elimination round. I made the cut. I still had game. Although, I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked to in my elimination match, I was still satisfied to make it that far. In 2016, hopefully I’ll be able to improve my score and my seeding in the Lancaster Archery Classic.



The rest of the indoor archery season didn’t treat me as well as that first tournament. A lot of shoulder pain from my reconstructive surgery on it combined with a sub-par mental game kept me from shooting at a high level. Instead of caving in and finding the negatives, I focused on the areas I needed to improve and set out to take care of the problem.

I plodded along through the summer months with one goal in mind — to make the cut at the IBO World Championship. If I could do that, I figured my season would be complete.

In early June I went to the Great Lakes Shootout in Erie, Pa. I wanted to attend it because it would be the last time the second leg of the IBO National Triple Crown would be held there. With so many great memories from that event, I wanted to be a part of the last one held there.

The Great Lakes Shootout was the first national event that I ever attended. Unfortunately, I just missed winning the tournament that year. On the second to last target the spring that held the gate closed in my release broke. The arrow went sailing through the woods and I shot a zero. With a zero I still finished in fifth place with over 850 shooters in the class. If I had hit the target, I would have won the tournament. Over the years I would encounter a handful of situations with extremely similar circumstances that held me back from winning a national event. Every time the only thing that held me back from winning was an equipment failure. I plodded along and took it on the chin………every single time. What could I do? You can’t do anything when a bit of bad luck bites you. If you keep trying and put yourself in the position enough times maybe your luck will turn around one day.

The decades passed and my finishes in Erie were vastly different every time I shot there. Another memorable moment came when I was shooting Semi-pro. When I got to the last stake, a wolverine target stood between me and a good paycheck. At first glance the target appeared to be just shy of 50 yards. After further examination I dialed the sight into 47 yards and executed the shot. It landed dead-center in the 10 ring and I went home with another fifth place finish.

I attended the 2015 tournament to send it off in style. When I arrived it was raining. I knew I had to finish the shoot in one day, so I packed the umbrella in my gear and headed onto the range. It was a long and grueling day, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I probably should have broken it up into two days, but my traveling companions had to be home that night.

When I came off the range that night, I knew I shot well but a few equipment problems cost me about 10 points. I didn’t finish in fifth place at this tournament, but the seventh place finish was still in the top 10. In all the years I shot there, I was able to finish in the top 10 a number of times and did so in three different classes.

By the time I got to the IBO World Championship in early August, I felt prepared both mentally and physically. I had shot about the same scores the entire summer no matter what tournament I participated in.

After the first day, I was on top of the leader board. I figured if I shot my game the next day, I would have a good chance at making the cut. When the scores were posted the second day I was glad to see that I was going to be shooting on the final day. Instead of putting any pressure on myself, I decided to just shoot my arrows and see where they landed.

That morning I never shot an arrow on the practice butt beyond 2o yards. I concentrated on making good shots. Most of my practice shots were taken at the 10-yard butt.

As I made my way from one target to the next, I didn’t pay attention to what anyone else was doing. I didn’t know if I was winning, losing, getting crushed, or blowing everyone away. I really had no idea. I just focused on making good shots and remaining calm.

I only experienced one hiccup on the last day. When the last arrow was launched from my bow, I felt relieved. The summer of hard work was over. The guys with the cards would add them up and I would be told where I finished in the shoot out.

I felt a weird sense of accomplishment when I found out I had won. It had been a long time coming. I deserved it. There were many years when I shot much better and came out on the short end of the stick. As I’ve gotten older, my skills have deteriorated. The recovery from shoulder surgery was nothing short of amazing after thinking I would never shoot a bow again. That fact more than anything is what made me appreciate this win more than anything I’ve won in the past and I’ve won a lot of prestigious events along the trail.

Shortly after the IBO World Championship I packed my bags and headed to the backcountry of Newfoundland for my first moose hunt. After hunting elk for 20-plus years, I’ve never really dreamed of hunting moose.

After we threw our equipment in the luggage area behind the seat, we quickly got into the float plane and the plane was zipping across the water. My heart missed a few beats when the pontoons lifted off the water and the engine launched us into the sky. Within a few minutes any signs of civilization were behind us. I could see miles and miles of lakes, ponds, streams, and bogs. A half hour later we were being greeted at the dock by the cook and four guides.

I went to Newfoundland with no expectations. By the middle of the week the guides were getting a little nervous when none of the hunters had filled their tags. I didn’t care because I was enjoying every minute of the adventure. The killing of a moose wasn’t on the top of my list of things to do. I’d say I’m probably different than 95% of the hunters who go there. I didn’t really care as long as I could a true feeling for what moose hunting was like.

We shared camp with Dale and Cindy from Pennsylvania and Brad from Connecticut. Since we all had different backgrounds, it was a pleasant surprise to find that we enjoyed each other’s company the entire week. We actually had a fantastic time by sharing stories and talking about life in the process.

Dale finally broke the ice on Wednesday when he put a nice moose on the ground shortly after daybreak with one shot. Before taking care of the animal, he and his guide returned to the lodge to ask his wife to take some pictures. She gladly accepted and they spent the rest of the morning taking care of things.

The next morning was absolutely gorgeous. Although it wasn’t cold, the temperature dropped enough to make it feel a little chilly. I knew the moose would move…………and they did.

Shortly after getting to the top of the hill behind camp, we spotted a few bulls in the distance. As we stayed there to glass, we spotted a good one on the edge of the timber below us. Since the bull was cruising across a bog, we didn’t waste any time crashing through the timber to get in front of it. When we broke out of the timber, we couldn’t figure out where the bull had gone. It was nowhere in sight, so we snuck onto the next knob and peered into the forest on the edge of the lake. We still didn’t spot anything so Duane told me to take a knee and wait as he raked his axe up and down on a spruce tree to sound like a bull rubbing its antlers.

Instantly, I could hear the moose thrashing its antlers on the trees in front of me.  A few seconds later all I could see were the antlers coming toward me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the body of the animal.

When the bull couldn’t locate another moose on the knob, it started to get a little nervous. A quick grunt and a race to the timber make me realize my opportunity was quickly fading. Running to the top of the knob on my right, I prepared for a shot in case the bull ran across the bog on the other side of the timber.

That’s when I saw it galloping like a thoroughbred racehorse. I led it a little and squeezed the trigger. As I ejected the casing, the distinct smell of burnt gunpowder stuck to the inside of my nose and Duane’s voice could be heard over the ringing in my ears.

“What a shot buddy! I’ve never seen anything like that. He went straight down. Let’s go have a look my boy.”

When I stood over the animal, I was in awe. Moose are amazing animals. The size of it was almost intimidating. I looked at the sky, said a quick prayer, and closed my eyes to take it all in.

My father killed his first moose about an hour later on another part of the lake. Getting them out of the woods was an awesome experience. I figured it would be harder than packing elk out, but in reality it couldn’t even compare. I had no problem with the moose and that was a direct result of the elevation. I’ve always been able to carry a lot of weight on my back, but out West it’s a lot harder when you don’t have as much air going into your lungs to breathe.

About a month after returning from Newfoundland, I packed my bags again and headed to the Midwest for a three-week stay. I’ve always lived for deer hunting and going to places where big bucks roam is something I long for the entire year. Although I love shooting in archery tournaments, there is nothing that can compare to being in a tree stand on a nice, frosty morning when the animals come to life and begin their daily routines. You never know what you might see. I’ve seen some amazing things along the way.

The first week was brutally hot. The mornings weren’t too bad, but the afternoons made us not want to do a thing due to the heat and humidity associated with the 80 degree thermometer readings.

Since we had never been on this public ground, we resisted the urge to lay around camp and waste time. We crawled through briars, trudged up steep bluffs, waded through creeks and streams, walked through swamps, weaved in and out of corn fields, and wandered all through thick CRP fields in search of any sign that might lead us to a big buck.

When the weather finally broke, we felt good about our chances. One of the places I found with my friend Brian looked as if we could get lucky if we returned to it. So, that’s what we did early in the second week.

Two hours into the sit I spotted a big buck cruising through some brush. It hopped a fence and started toward me before getting a little nervous and veering off in another direction. After a quick grunt to stop it, my arrow was on its way. It found its mark and as they say…………….the rest is history. From there I headed further West where I was able to capitalize on another opportunity.

The visible results don’t always portray the true story. People have a tendency to look at pictures and think the hunting was phenomenal, which it wasn’t. It was probably some of the hardest hunting I’ve experienced in the Midwest, but I learned a lot from the experience. Hopefully I can use the lessons to help me in the future.

When my eyes closed on the last night of 2015, I was happy. My life is good. I’m mentally at piece and feel good about where I’m at. I’m not sure if 2015 could qualify as my best year because every day I’m alive is probably the best day, but I can say that some of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced happened in that 365-day period.

I was able to compete at the national level again in both indoor and outdoor events. Instead of participating, I was actually near the top again. It was more rewarding than most people could ever imagine. I went to Newfoundland and got to experience moose hunting with my father. Heading toward 50-years old, it’s hard to know how many more adventures we will share together. He might outlive me or I might outlive him. Either way you can never take away all of the memories I have from all of the things I’ve participated in.

I can’t imagine 2016 being as satisfying, but then again I never imagined doing all of the things I did in 2015. It goes to show you that you can never predict the future. You can set goals and strive to achieve them. If you don’t reach them, you need to know that you gave it everything you had and you just came up short. Sometimes we don’t get to the top of the mountain. It’s those times that test your mental fortitude. Mine has been tested time and time again over the years. I will rest easier now that I’ve accomplished a few things I’ve always dreamed about. In the meantime, I will set new goals and look forward to the peaks and valleys of the upcoming year.




Father’s Day 2015

June 21st, 2015


Social media is buzzing today with tributes to fathers across America. Pictures ranging from childhood well into the latter stages of life dance across the pages with every click of the mouse. Some people celebrate the lives of their fathers who have passed and others enjoy a few special moments with the men responsible for giving them life. Still, others send heartfelt thanks from out of town.

Yesterday I spent the day with my father shooting in the New Hampshire IBO State Championship. We’ve attended the tournament many times over the last 15 years, but one thing has remained constant. Through the aging process I’m still my father’s boy. In all reality I feel no different than I did when I walked off the little league field at 6-years old when I suffered my first crushing playoff defeat. After receiving a life-lesson about winning and losing he promised to take me trout fishing the next day and that’s what he did.

He filled his backpack with goodies for our trip and made sure he had everything he would need to take care of his son who suffered from Type 1 diabetes. At the end of the day we headed out of the woods with our daily limit of trout. Teaching me the laws of nature he fried them up when we got home. Anything we take from nature should not be wasted.


Throughout little league I was fortunate enough to make every all-star team until those years came to an end. At 13-years old I played in a league called the Senior League. This was my introduction to politics. The coaches played the kids in the clique, including their own kids. The starters weren’t based on talent, rather favoritism.

I wanted to quit midway through the season, but my dad told me I had to finish what I started. I learned the lesson of never giving in to unfortunate circumstances. Sometimes in life you will come across things you have absolutely no control over and these are the times when you must stay the course. Instead of letting other people determine your actions you have to swallow your pride and understand things will come full circle at some point in time.

At the end of the season he encouraged me to get away from baseball for a little while and think about playing again in high-school. Since I loved the game I followed his advice.

When I arrived on the big stage of varsity baseball in my junior year I was glad I listened to his advice. The coach wasn’t overwhelmed by pressure from parents. He kicked a few kids off the team for smoking and he didn’t play the favorites from little league. Actually, the “superstars” from little league had disappeared from the game. I was granted with an opportunity to wear the Tigers uniform and it made me proud.

The Foothills Council was always one of the toughest councils to win. In my senior year our team won the council. Now, 28 years later, I believe that was the last time the Tigers won the council. I guess it’s the little things that we sometimes hold close to our hearts. The things that go unnoticed can bring a sense of pride. I’d never feel it if it wasn’t for my dad, so I must thank him for that as well as a myriad of other things. He got awarded the best fan of any parent from my teammates, too. He never missed a game. Even if he had to come from work he would get to the game and return to work when it ended. Many parents get involved in all of the politics. He never said much. Instead, he came to support me whether I stunk the joint up or seemed like an all-star for a few seconds every once in a while. The support never wavered. Just as it existed back then it still exists today in all of my endeavors, whether it’s authoring books, writing stories for magazines, playing adult hockey, playing softball or shooting in archery tournaments. The support has been strong and steady. Nobody could ever ask for more.


Next to senior pictures in my high-school yearbook there was an option to have a quote listed. For my quote I wrote: College; To one day become as good of a father as my father has been to me.

Unfortunately I never had children, so I missed out on that opportunity. They say everything happens for a reason. I’m not sure if I ever could have matched my father’s parenting skills and for that matter I’m pretty sure very few fathers can actually compare to him when it comes right down to it.


Then, there was the time in college when he spent the night with me in my dorm room. He was 40 years old. Some of my friends couldn’t believe he was my father because they had siblings almost as old as him. When the fire alarm rang at 2 o’clock in the morning we had to file outside. Wrapped in a blanket he made his way outside and asked me what the hell he was going to do. I told him to drop in line and walk back in like he was a student, so that’s what he did. It was awesome. I’ve never forgotten the little things.

One night when my mom had gone out with her friends he drove down to see me at college. He took me and my friends to Binghamton to watch the Adirondack Red Wings play the Binghamton Whalers. On the ride back to campus we learned with disbelief that Mike Tyson had been knocked out by Buster Douglas. The most feared and unbeatable man on the planet had been knocked out. I still remember where I was because the news was so unbelievable. From there Tyson’s career spiraled downhill, mostly because he lost the person who gave him guidance and support while keeping him grounded.

Anyhow, on that night after my friends climbed out of the car I told him he could stay with me, but he decided he would just head home. When I looked at him he said to me, “I love you bud.” Shocked, I couldn’t believe he said it because I had never heard him say it. I knew he loved me, but the actual words stunned me. I told him I loved him and got out of the car. Just as Tyson had been knocked out my father told me he loved me. Sometimes things seem so insignificant, but in reality they are things that stick with us for the rest of our lives.


Since the college days we’ve become inseparable. I’m not sure whether we’re more like brothers or best friends. We’ve traveled all across the country shooting archery tournaments and hunting. We’ve sat in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium as well as right behind the wall in left field. We’ve shared some incredible moments along the way. Many days I think I’m living in a dream and I never want to wake up. Life is so good I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to fully enjoy it.

A few months back one of my classmates from Hudson Falls asked a question on Facebook that made me sit back and reflect before attempting to answer it in my own mind. Although I can’t quote the exact wording it was something along these lines: When did you realize you were an adult and no longer your parents little child?

I thought about it and realized that I still feel like my parents little boy. Although I’m on the downhill slope to 50 I still feel today like I’m 12 years old. When I have a bad performance in archery I hear the confidence in his voice even if I can’t find it in my own head. If I miss an elk or a deer he always has an answer. If I don’t know how to do something he always knows how to do it. If I’m looking for something, he knows where it is.


How lucky am I to have both of my parents alive and together? I don’t take a day for granted and that’s why I’ll continue being the little kid with brown eyes who always searched for answers when I asked why this, why that, why, why, why.

Today’s the day to say thank you. Thank you dad for having such an impact on my life. Thanks for picking me up when I was down and being quiet when you knew I didn’t want to talk. Thanks for giving me the chance to do things that others have only dreamed about. Thanks for making me such a big part of your life and giving up things that you might have rather done along the way to make sure I was happy. I never could have asked for more.