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Teamwork takes aim

Two local men hit gold in Virginia Senior Games

Created date

August 21st, 2012

It s no secret at Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., that community member Jack Cason is a whiz with a bow and arrow. Since picking up the sport a mere nine years ago, he s won numerous local, state, and national competitions. And as leader of the community s archery club, Jack has spread his love for the sport to his peers and neighbors. Under his expert tutelage, Jack recently helped lead the club s newest member, 93-year old Charlie Edwards, to a gold medal at the Virginia Senior Games.

Never too old to start something new

I never tried archery before moving to Greenspring, says Charlie. But I m really glad I did. Jack is a great teacher. I m having so much fun. Much like golf, you are completely responsible for how well you do. You compete against yourself. A former college wrestler, Charlie tested his skills at swimming, tennis, golf, and fishing before finding his mark with archery. During World War II, he was a Navy fighter pilot and finds similarities with his military service and his new sport. Instead of pointing my airplane at a target, now I m pointing my bow and arrow, he says.

Hard work pays off

Prior to his recent gold medal victory, Charlie spent hours with Jack preparing at the nearby Fort Belvoir archery range. Charlie listens to instructions, and he doesn t question it, says Jack. He takes my advice and tries to improve himself. We ve been working on improving his technical form and choosing the right equipment. Once I got the hang of it, my goal was to compete in the Senior Olympics, says Charlie. Jack informed me that in order to do that, I d have to qualify at the Virginia Senior Games, in Richmond, so we went to work. Charlie had to learn how to hit a target at 40, 50, and 60 yards. I told him if he could hit a 60-yard target, he had a good chance at qualifying for the national games, says Jack. The trick was getting the bow to shoot that far. When we began, the arrows were falling short.

Perfect practice makes perfect

It s something I say all the time to members of the archery club, says Jack. Perfect practice makes perfect, and Charlie really took that to heart. I began going over on my own to Fort Belvoir on Saturday mornings or whenever I had free time, says Charlie. There were many people who made suggestions in their attempt to help me succeed. By using lighter-weight arrows, Charlie discovered he could gain the precious yards he needed to reach the 60-yard target. Finally ready to compete, he traveled to Richmond this past May with Jack.

The big day

Everyone was very encouraging, but I was extremely skeptical, says Charlie. But as soon as I hit my first few targets I started to think that maybe they were right. Maybe I did have a chance. And once you start thinking that way, you really start feeling competitive. His hard work paid off. Charlie won the gold medal in his age group for the 600 Round, which is comprised of shooting 20 arrows at 60 yards, 50 yards, and 40 yards. The accomplishment earned him a spot at the 2013 National Senior Games, in Ohio. It s very exciting, he says. Jack also won the gold medal in his age group, and we will go together to the National Senior Games next year. In the meantime, both Jack and Charlie continue to spend time at the range, fine tuning their skills and preparing for the next round of competition. I am so glad Jack encouraged me to try my hand at archery, says Charlie. I had absolutely no idea that I would be starting a new sport at this point in my life, no less enjoying it so much. It just goes to show that you can do anything at any age.