After a long, long drive, we had carpooled our way back home, to the Netherlands. Driving for 15 hours straight had taken it out of us, and frankly, I wish we could’ve stayed another week, just with a less rigorous training schedule.
I contemplated a lot on the past week. Not just during the drive home, but also inbetween trainings, in the evening after being finished for the day, and before trainings even started early in the morning, already awake by being burned out of my tent by the sun rising in the stark blue sky in Pomaz.
It’s hard to put into words how being there made me feel. In a way, it was surreal. For someone who’s used to the tight confines of the Netherlands, the Nemethy Academy felt like a place of peace, space, and tranquility. No matter where you had come in from, or whatever troubles or stresses you had abandoned back home, they were non-existent here. Only one thing mattered; a mutual love for a sport that can be both annoying and exhilarating in its complexity.
I am by no means an accomplished archer or rider. Prior to last November, I’d never sat on a horse in my life. I have 6 years of historical archery under my belt, but not with the technique required on horseback. For me, therefore, it was hard to keep up with the others, all of whom had a riding background, rather than an archery background, or had both. I didn’t mind, though. I attended 15 foot trainings, each going for an hour or more, in seven days, and several riding ones. Improvement was visible, and more importantly, tangible. Where I shot six arrows in 18 seconds at the start of the week with miserable technique, I now shoot the same amount in a little over 13 seconds, with semi-acceptable technique. I know my mistakes, pointed out and explained by people as young as fourteen, who had an awe-inspiring skill at this sport already.
It was a joy to just watch and collect arrows when I wasn’t on horseback, listening to Christoph’s booming voice, cutting through the awesome rock songs he blasted through his huge JBL speaker. He’s a busy man, often being called, but always making time for all his students, both the permanent and temporary ones. The man oozes knowledge and experience when you watch him do anything to do with the sport, whether it be the archery or the riding.
I could write page after page, if I’m honest, but I’m just gonna use these last paragraphs to thank all those present for welcoming me and taking the time to convey their love and knowledge of this sport unto others.
Thanks Christoph, first of all for having us, but also for always making sure we were happy, not to mention all the instruction you gave and your great use of analogy.
Thanks Levi, for your patience and flexibility to accommodate everyone, your willingness to always show how it’s done, and, ofcourse, ordering all our much-needed lunches each day.
Thanks Bori(?), for all the tips and tricks you showed me, and all the Game of Thrones memes you showed me. Wear the shirt with pride. Winter Is Coming. Valar Morghulis.
Thanks Ági, for your kind and sometimes stern attitude when it comes to training. Using push-ups as punishment was a great incentive to make people do well. Remember what I said; I’ll blow you away next year. All jokes aside, you were great. Okey.
There’s plenty more people I could thank, but this is already very long, so I’ll end it here. For anyone thinking about going to one of these camps, no matter the distance, it is worth it. When the world, embroiled in turmoil as it is right now, calms down more and becomes safer again, I hope to meet many of you on the fields of the Némethy Lovasíjász Akadémia.
May your aim be true,