Before I started writing this blog I had several subjects bouncing around in my head (like rocks in an empty pop bottle), but this one kept getting stuck in the “bottle neck”; so to speak. So, I decided to share with you how I am spending my January and the short road that got me to where I am now.
It amazes me how something that seems to take so long to gain, can be lost in such a short amount of time. As a former high school and college athlete, I developed a deep understanding of the importance physical fitness plays, not only in the sports we participate in, but in everyday life as well. Bowhunting, to me, is definitely a sport. Although I am not competing against anyone in particular, I do face adversities (just like you) each time I head afield. In order to maximize my potential, it is critical that I stay in the best possible shape I can.
Before the 2010 season began I had managed to whip myself into pretty good shape. The mountains of southern West Virginia are very unforgiving and the manner in which you handle them can largely determine the outcome of your season. Needless to say, I was looking forward to whatever they were going to throw at me. With a large amount of self assuredness I though….Bring it on! Then it happened.
At first it was nothing more than a little discomfort in my elbow. However, by the time bow season started, it was mostly agonizing just to hold my bow upright. To make a long story short, Tennis Elbow brought my weight training to a halt, which ended my cardiovascular training, which sent my diet into the crapper. I tried to tell myself that things weren’t slipping away as quickly as they were, but in the end, I wasn’t kidding anyone but myself. Who did I think I was?
With hunts lined up in 3 different states, including my home turf, I was confident something was going to take a dirt nap regardless of my declining condition. But, like so many things in life, what I had envisioned was certainly not what I got. The 2010 season came and left and all I had to show for it was 3 unfilled tags and 25lbs of unwanted body FAT. It didn’t take that long to get there either. In fact, the road to ruin was a short one.
The most disheartening part is that my physical conditioning did in fact cost me a shot at a WV buck that should be hanging on my wall right now. This particular animal gave me plenty of opportunities to capitalize on his travel patterns; which, by the way, doesn’t happen very often in my neck of the woods. Instead of making him pay for his mistake, I naively convinced myself that I should stay put, rather than exert myself and move my stand 50 yards uphill to where I had seen him travel on 2 different occasions!
I knew better though. In fact, that little voice in the back of my head was gnawing at me the last time I laid eyes on him. His breath filled the cold November air, like puffs of angry clouds, as he briefly stopped to survey his surroundings before moving through the ridge top saddle and into parts unknown. As he walked away, I felt a little bit of myself go with him. All I have now is that image of his golden brown rack against a frosty November backdrop. I guess that is exactly how it should be.
So here it is, January 2011. It is a new year, with new hopes and dreams on the horizon. Preparation has begun; at least for me. After all, I have a lot of ground to make up. And, I’m not to proud to admit I have been in this situation before. I know the road to success is going to be a long one. However, as I have so hauntingly learned, it undoubtedly beats the short road to ruin.