Monday, November 24, 2008

Change in plans!

Madonna was right.. time goes by so slowly!
Okay, okay, okay. I should stop complaining about how long each day is and how many more days I have to endure.

"Coach" = coach in Korea (you never call a coach by their first name in Korea)
Joan is my actual coach here in Canada, but we all call her "Joan"

EARLY Sunday morning, my mom came running into my room with the kitchen phone in her hand. She said I had to get up and talk to my coach who was waiting on the line. My coach said that every year the university's archery team goes on a ski/snowboard trip right after Christmas for 3 days and 2 nights before they start training. The team looks forward to this trip every year and they always have an awesome time! Since I was planning on visiting my family in Busan for New Year's before heading to Daegu, the team thought it would be best to postpone the trip so that I could go along with them. But when my mom heard this, she insisted that we cancel my flight to Busan and go straight to Daegu! Now this means that they don't have to postpone the trip and that I can meet everyone on the team as soon as I arrive in Korea!

I am SOOOOOO-O-O-O excited. If I am good at anything, I know that I'm good at snowboarding. Thanks to my sister, I learned how to ride when I was 7. I loved it so much that I wanted to go to the Olympics for snowboarding after it first appeared in Nagano. My parents are relieved that I got into archery and replaced my snowboarding days with a sport where my two feet are firmly planted on the ground.

So for the three days of snowboarding, I'll do my best to thoroughly enjoy the time we have on the hills. Because for those three glorious days I'll be able to kick their butts on the slopes... but for the six months after that, they'll all be kicking my butt on shooting line.

What made me happiest about Sunday morning's phone call was what my coach said about the team. She said they are VERY excited that I'm coming to train with them. If they are anywhere near as excited as I am... that's pretty excited.

I'm excited.
They're excited.

one more time...


How many times can you use the same word in one blog post?

* Oh gosh, I just turned twenty. Woo... hoo...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"It's war!"

Why have the Koreans (or the Korean women) dominated the world of recurve archery for the past two decades? I think there are two things responsible. No, not rice and kimchi. I believe it's discipline and the sport system. Children begin the process of learning archery at the age of 10. I called it the "process of learning archery" because they don't get to shoot a single arrow until they have mastered perfect technique with an elastic band. This is rumored to be 6 months of practicing with a band. Can you imagine trying to implement this kind of training in North America? I don't think we would have any kids participating in the sport! It is also rumored that the first time a Korean child shoots a score at 30m (after 6 months of band practice), they typically shoot over 330 out of 360 points. Now, I don't know if these rumors are all true (I will try to find out) but I DO know that their sport system brings about results!

When I spoke to my coach in Korea over the phone last week, she talked about the national team trials for the 2009 World Championships and Asian Championships. Unlike the one-time deal type of trials (or two-time deal) here in Canada, there are several stages involved in Korean team trials. My coach said it's so intense, everyone is at each other's throats and it's like war. At the first stage, there were over 200 archers who shot the ranking round and went into eliminations. After eliminations, only the top 32 went on to the second stage. My friend, Hye-Jin, (who I talked about in my last post) made it to the top 32! The second stage was held this past week and again, it consisted of a ranking round and eliminations. This time, only the top 13 (per gender) along with the 3 men and 3 women who went to the Olympics advance to the next stage. I checked the Korean Archery Association website to check the results and WOWWW Hye-Jin made it! I am SO HAPPY for her!

There will be a training camp held sometime during the winter where Hye-Jin and the other archers will fight for the six coveted spots (3 men and 3 women).

The talent runs so deep in the Korean archery system that it seems no matter who makes the team, they'll end up kicking butt anyway. I remember in 2004, Park Sung Hyun (my ultimate archery hero) said in an interview that making the national team is harder than winning gold at the Olympics. It's no wonder why for the past two decades the Korean women have dominated the international scene when all their competition is sitting back at home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Seven weeks

Each day progressively gets painfully loooonnnger.

Tick... tock...

It's kind of like the last few days of school before summer break - except that this feeling of impatience has come 7 weeks earlier. In an attempt to pass the time, I started reading Harry Potter again. (I only read the first book when it came out) so now, I'm starting again from the beginning.

OH! A few days ago, I called my coach in Korea (my real coach is Joan, here in Canada) and she handed the phone over to Hye-Jin, a friend I made at University Worlds! In Taiwan, Hye-Jin was the top ranked archer going into eliminations and I just happened to meet her in the second round. Of course, after a nail-biter of a match in the first round, I was already thrilled that I had made it through to the second round! I ended up losing to Hye-Jin but I was still smiling from ear to ear at the end of the match. For some reason, getting eliminated by a Korean makes it okay or much easier to accept. Anyway, Hye-Jin is just as excited about me coming to train with her as I am!

Left: With Hye-Jin; Right: They made it their goal to make me do these "A" hand signs.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who have been checking my blog, commenting, and encouraging me through other means of communication! It's nice getting such great feedback! As of right now, these blog posts might be a little dull.. but they'll definitely get more interesting once Christmas rolls around.

I added a couple "gadgets" to my blog. If you look to the right, you'll see a clock that shows what time it is in Korea and just below it you can watch some of my practice videos I post on YouTube. But I'm warning you, those videos are pretty boring (I use them to learn). Some might find it interesting to see how my form has changed over time.

Okay, take care!