January 29, 2023

It has been a year since the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on everyone’s lives and I still find myself digesting how suddenly physical touch turned into physical distancing, how people used to put on makeup intricately itemized and crafted barely to be covered by face masks, how people wear sunglasses to face shields because now, we do not only need to protect our face from the harmful rays of the sun but from a bigger unseen adversity. The Covid-19 forced us to physically stay away from performing our daily routines, from our loved ones, friends – everything we used to depend on is now not known beyond doubt.
With everything that’s been going on, people have learned to co-exist their daily lives and routines with the pandemic. It’s been 1 year since we began to meet our classmates and teachers not in classroom, but in Google classrooms and zoom conferences, it has been a year since graduations, seminars, and other gatherings are held online, and I’m pretty sure that you heard about virtual competitions. Both as a student and an athlete, my schooling and competitions happen online. I am a student athlete in the University of Baguio playing archery for scholarship. We have been adhering to the new social protocols for a long while that has been prohibiting any forms of mass public gatherings and events which includes any sport related activities. However, not until recently, other sports like archery has taken steps to synchronize with the pandemic through launching virtual tournaments, you read it right, we compete online. Our competitions and trainings take place in our archery range located in Athletic Bowl. We play like the usual since archery is an individual and a no-contact sport ergo neither physical nor direct contact transpire, the only contact archers make is from the bow and arrow we use which is a personal possession of ours. Not much have been altered from the usual set up of archery tournaments the only thing that is different from competing archery online is that it demands more requirements like complete documentation of the score sheets and target faces that archers used during the game, yet above all, we are required to wear face masks all the time, training or competition and only to be removed when shooting since we strictly observe and abide by the minimum health protocols to ensure safety and limit the possible contraction of the virus and instead of travelling to places to compete, we rather use applications like Zoom conference to connect with the organizers of the event for monitoring purposes which to be honest is more convenient and indeed a money saver. Lastly, results are also posted online. My first ever virtual competition since the lockdown was a national event organized by the World Archery Philippines – The World Indoor Series where archers from all over the Philippines participated to be ranked. Archery organizations has been actively arranging virtual tournaments in the subsequent months, an effort committed to hone and polish talents of archers like me on a grand scale regardless of the situation that we are confronted with. Virtual archery competitions continue to bring back-archery in action and pursue to manifest that a no-contact sport like archery can happen and be adapted safely under the new normal setting. (MERLY ANNE MANANDEG)