• Carmen Marie Fabio

Danger zone


With September close to wrapping up, we're all relatively settled into our new school year routines save for the things out of the ordinary that keep life interesting – like an ongoing road construction project that throws a detour into my daily commute and an unprecedented heat wave that has us all (well, me anyways) whining for January.

Those, and the fact that my son signed up for a couple of clubs that extend his day – and thereby my drive.

“I've joined the archery club,” he told me.

“Great,” I answered.

“Twice a week at 7 a.m.”

“That's.... great...”

Now, I love archery. It's one of those things that I fell in love with as soon as I tried it, like billiards, high jump, and white wine. But not that early in the morning.

“I guess this is how they weed out the serious participants from those who just want to shoot at things,” I mused.

“No,” my son replied. “We have those people too.”

In my adolescence, I had a friend who lived in one of Montreal's infamous apartments replete with a wrought iron staircase and all rooms located off one long hallway. I don't know what made him think it would be a good idea to set up a target at the end of the hallway to practice with his bow and arrow but I do know his neighbour was not as enthusiastic with this practice when arrows began rudely piercing the drywall – nor were the police.

Maybe it's something that's hardwired into us from our hunter/gatherer days. Most people I know who've tried archery are hooked on perfecting their form and grouping for overall, continued improvement.

An archer at the top of his or her craft shoots in a beautiful fluid motion. Unlike darts.

I've never understood why anyone thought it would be a good idea to give drunken people sharp projectiles to play with but, like archery, in the absence of warfare, I guess we – collectively, as humans – needed to find some good use for all those leftover weapons we’d created.

This can be the only reasonable explanation for things like javelin, fencing, and – if you're old enough to remember before they were banned – lawn darts.

I once worked with a fellow who had the best theory for why organized sports exist and have such a loyal following.

“If we didn’t have them,” he said, “there’d be a lot more wars in the world.” Of course, he was also of the opinion that the reason you added your name as the top scorer of video games was so the government knew who to recruit as a fighter pilot in the event we need to fend off an alien invasion.

I think that humans are inherently drawn to the allure of danger, boys in particular, and though I worry about them constantly, I talk myself down with the knowledge that my son is with a competent instructor and the kids are old and responsible enough.

“What’s the other club you joined?” I asked him.

“Rock climbing.”

That's.... great...