Archery growing in popularity



As one of the oldest sports around, very little about archery has changed over its thousands of years of practice. Despite this lengthy history, the popularity of the game at the University has increased only recently.

During his first year on campus, Patrick Croce, a sophomore majoring in theater, found there was nowhere to practice archery.

“Last year when I got here, there was no archery club, so why not try and start one?” Croce said.

Croce, president of the archery club, grew to love archery while he practiced frequently as he was growing up.

“It was something that started out as an interest,” he said. “I did a little bit at summer camp over the years and snowballed from there.”

Even though archery is recognized as a club, the team faces some major hurdles moving forward growing their club.

The biggest problem they face is the University finding space for them to practice and play.

“The issue lied in the fact there was nowhere on campus for any of us to shoot,” Croce said. “I’ve been involved with negotiations with the University and outdoor recreation trying to get a place just for us.”

He said the lack of area to practice has prevented them from organizing and meeting to properly function as a club.

However, the reason they have not been given the land is clear to Croce.

“It’s a safety issue I would have to say,” he said. “While they’re not guns, bows are still deadly weapons. I have assured them I am a legitimate instructor with USA Archery. I guess the biggest issue for the University is the liability factor.”

Over the last few weeks, there has been progress in starting operations with the Student Recreation Center due to the interest that has been generated in the student population.

Croce said they have about 45 people interested and ready to play. The talent and skill of those people covers the whole spectrum, according to Croce.

“People send me e-mails saying, ‘Hey, I saw you in The Crimson White, you have an archery club. I’ve never shot an arrow a day in my life and I think it’s really cool,’” he said.

As well as beginners, he said people who have been shooting for years have contacted him and have shown interest in the club.

If they get the proper authorization, Croce plans to affiliate the group with the National USA Archery club program, divided into two parts. One part will be competition based and the other for learning and having fun.

Right now, the main goal for Croce is for the team to enjoy themselves doing something they love.

“Right now we want to get going and have some fun,” he said.

For more information on the archery club, contact Patrick Croce at pmcroce@crimson.ua.edu.

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