One of Bellevue College’s most popular courses, PE&123, typically fills up within 30 minutes after registration begins. Adding to this competition is the fact that only one slot is offered each quarter. The class counts for only one credit hour,so why is it so popular? It may have something to do with the fact that students get to shoot bows and arrows.
According to the official course catalogue, PE&123 entails learning the “basic skills and techniques of archery. Topics include stringing the bow, handling bow and arrow, shooting and safety and care of equipment.”
Brent Hartwig has been the archery instructor for a few years here at BC; he replaced Ray Washburn, who taught the class for nearly 30 years before retiring.
The class is held in the gymnasium and targets are set up against one wall. Students string their bows and take turns target shooting, trying to improve their accuracy. They begin the class quite close to the targets, and as the quarter progresses, they gradually take shots from incrementally greater distances. The students start the class quite close to the targets and as the quarter goes on, they end up shooting from over the double distance away-about half the length of the gymnasium.
Safety is a large concern and students learn basic precautions. Safe handling of archery equipment is addressed on the first day of class and students are expected to adhere to these standards at all times.
The class is alternative to more traditional physical education activities and classes. It offers a different form of exercise to many different types of students. “I really like it, it’s a lot of fun,” said student Hootan Esfahani, “learning a new trait, you know. I already had my fifteen credits…so I thought well, why not? It’s only one credit.”
Archery offers an alternative to students who either prefer individual sports or are simply bored by team sports. Students can go at their own pace, as there is no skill requirement for passing the class. Indeed, the quarter can be spent without so much as hitting the target so long as participation is earnest and attendance is met. However, archery does serve for something as it helps build arm strength and develop hand to eye coordination.
Students who are interested in taking the class are encouraged to register as early as possible, since the class is popular and usually fills up immediately. BC does have an archery club though, for prospective archers who don’t make it in. The club meets on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. at the Issaquah Sportsman’s Club. Students looking for more information should contact the club’s advisor, Hristo Stoynov, or just visit their Facebook page: Bellevue College Archery Club.