Headline, September 01 2020/ '''' BHUTAN'S ''SOOTHING'' ARCHERY ''''

'''' BHUTAN'S 



BHUTAN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH ARCHERY IS LONG. Legend holds that the father of the country's first king, Ugyen Wangchuck, used his skills as an archer to defeat an invading British army in 1864.

And from that point on, the king promoted archery as the country's national sport. The activity is a popular way to socialize in rural areas in the Himalayan country of about 750,000 people and Bhutanese immigrants in New York wanted to bring the game to their adopted home.

TSHELTHRIM DORJI - A 36-YEAR-OLD FROM BHUTAN, had been used to waking up every day at 5 a.m. to start his 12 - hour shift as an Uber driver in New York City.

He stopped going out during the long pandemic-related lockdown, and as he slowly returned to work after the city reopened this summer, he found his already taxing job increasingly stressful.

So to unwind on Saturday he wakes at dawn, but he drives instead to another destination : a serene  expanse of woods at the end of a dirt road in Shamong, N.J. around two hours from his home. There, he and a group of around two dozen Bhutanese immigrants - most of whom are also Uber and Lyft drivers - gather for a long day of archery, their country's national pastime.

When the group arrives on the land rented from a local Buddhist temple, the same site where they have been practising for the past two years, members brew tea and eat rice for breakfast while getting dressed in gho, traditional robes that are burgundy tweed or gray.

Before each match, those taking part say mantras to Buddha and pour a libation on the ground - a bottle of beer. At one end of the long field, they set up one wooden target with bull's eye painted in a rainbow of colors and framed by red, yellow, white, green and blue ribbons.

Another is placed 143 meters, or about 473 feet, away, on the other other side of the field. Six players from each team hide behind a blind next to the targets. Then each archer raises a professional-grade compound target bow and shoots two arrows.

They walk to the other target to collect their arrows and then shoot again in the other direction to complete one round. At the end of their 12-hour day of play, they will have walked about 11 miles.

Landing an arrow within an arrow's length of the target merits one point. Hitting the target is worth two points. A bulls eye is three. There is no referee. The game is played on the honor system, with the players keeping track of their own points and adding colored ribbons to their belts when they are successful.

Everytime an arrow hits the mark, the shooter's teammates perform a song and dance to honor the accomplishment.

''We are all Buddhist, so it is not competitive,'' said Thukten Jamtsho, 43, one of the competitor who works as an Uber driver. ''We come to see each other, meet new friends and bring the community together.''

Even before the pandemic, making a living as a driver in New York was getting more and more difficult, most of the archers said. It was good business until last year, when more cars on the road meant more competition for customers. Then the coronavirus came, with New York one of the United States first hot spots, and the business dried up almost overnight.'' 

''Little by little we are going to return, but it will be difficult,'' said Sonam Ugyen, 28, an Uber driver and one of the archery group's youngest shooters. ''We are thinking of changing our profession or looking for new opportunities.

Each weekend in July, one volunteer made breakfast and lunch for the group in an outdoor kitchen on the field. A typical midday meal was rice with the national dish ema datshi, a stew of green chillies and cheese sauce, or a fish curry.

Now that many of the drivers have started working again, though, they plan to return to their once-a-month schedule.

They said the serenity gained from more frequent practice is recent weeks would serve as a preparation for their return to heavy traffic and the anxiety of masked passengers in the city's changed landscape.

''We come here to scare away evil spirits,'' Dorji said as he took a sip of his suja, a butter tea. ''The games are an offering so we can stay safe during the week, with no accidents.''

For Ugyen, archery and dealing with New York City traffic can be similar challenges. ''Both are games where you need to maintain focus,'' he said. ''But the difference is that here, in this little field, it is only the body that suffers. In the city, driving all day, it is the mind.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Sports, Pandemic and the World, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Raul Vilchis.

With respectful dedication to people of Bhutan, Students, Professors and Teachers, and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Arc & Art '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!