By Tonia Allen Gould,
There’s a common theme in my family and it has to do with all of us daring to dream BIG. Allowing our children the freedom to dream is a value my husband and I have instilled in our children, pretty much since childbirth. We believe that no one should ever squelch someone else’s dreams no matter how crazy and impossible the dream may sound. After all, I’m currently working on developing an entire 28-acre island along the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua for social good. Had I not dreamt the impossible, I wouldn’t be in throes of conquering my dream in such a magnificent way.
So, it comes as no surprise to me that my son, Miles, has a gargantuan dream of his own. For the past two and half years, ever since he picked-up his first bow and arrows at a resort during my husband’s company picnic, Miles has dreamt of one day making it to the Olympics. But, being “good enough” is only half the battle for him. The trouble is, his bow is making his dream impossible–that is, unless compound bows are ever allowed into the Olympics alongside their counterparts, the recurve bow.
Still, all that isn’t stopping Miles from going after his dreams. My twelve-year-old currently holds the California State Champion title in both indoor and outdoor archery in the compound bowman division. During this year’s California State Outdoor Championship, in Long Beach, Miles set a new California 30M state record held since 2009 of 355. Miles broke the record with a score of 356 out of 360. It takes laser-sharp focus to shoot a nearly perfect score in a high-stakes tournament like that one.
Maybe there is hope on the horizon for our young compound bowman yet. All his successes have taken Miles one step closer to his Olympic dream, because Miles has been invited by USA Archery, the archery governing body of the Olympics, to try-out for the Compound Junior Dream Team at a week-long selection camp held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Up until now, the Junior Dream Team consisted of 36 of the most skilled and promising Olympic-style archers in the country, all shooting recurve. But, recently, compound archers have been added to the program and Miles hopes to earn his spot on the team, as a compound bowman, and one step closer to his Olympic Dream.
Even if the compound bow never makes it into the Olympics, if selected to the Junior Dream Team (JDT), Miles will intensively train weeklong at the Olympic Training Center once a quarter with some of the best junior archers in the country, regardless of which bow they are shooting. Between training camps, JDT coaches and archers will continue to train together by utilizing video conferencing via the internet.
Shooting at Miles’ level takes a lot of practice. He shoots an average of 100 arrows a day on a range safely set-up on our backyard sport court. He has an accident-free history if you don’t count one broken window. Miles is privately coached by two-time World Champion Compound Archer, John Norberg. He shoots a Hoyt Freestyle Compound Bow, 35 lbs., with 70% let-off. He releases with a Carter Evolution Plus back tension release. He uses PSA Radial X Weave Pro 100 arrows with Blazer vanes.
Here’s to dreaming big, son! Good luck this month at selection camp and keep dreaming, no matter what the outcome is, this time around.