Bants and Banter
Banter: Noun – playfully teasing or mocking. (British informally: Bants)
One of the things that confuses new archers is the chat that’s going on when people aren’t shooting. Yes, there can be discussions about corrie last night. The Eurovision song contest did get a going over one recent Wednesday. There can be insanely technical discussions about kit that get heated especially if it involves our Vice Chair. But far and away the most common thing you hear around experienced archers is repartee, wisecracks, ribbing, badinage, mockery, dissing, derision and straight up abuse. To the noob, archers apparently all hate each other. Well, mostly we don’t. Mostly!
What yo be hearing son, is banter. Archers spend a lot of time not actually doing anything when at the field. There’s a lot of waiting. Waiting for other archers to shoot, slow moving archers to get back from 70m, animals on the field, forgetful field captains not blowing the whistle. To fill in down time they mock each other for entertainment and if you listen closely you’ll hear the same themes playing again and again. Lets look at three that are pretty common …
One style “hating” on another style: Within archery, what sort of bow you shoot puts you firmly in a “clan”. Within that sub-group you are handed your alliances and your nemesis. Traditional is somewhat allied with barebow as neither use sights although barebow’s modern materials do rankle with the trads. Barebow has an uneasy peace with recurve as they both use risers and limbs but barebow feels recurve relies to much on aids: stabs, sights, clickers etc. The recurve master race consider themselves top of the heap so look down on the others and EVERYONE allies against compound. Why? Triggers and scopes and cams oh my! The other styles see this as “easy mode” which is why compounds get no love!
So during shootie you’ll often hear open mockery of one style by another with compound taking the brunt. It could be said this banter is unfair as the styles are all different and very distinct but each tend to see the others as not “true” archery thus the friction …… However, being honest, compounders do deserve it! (says the recurver writing this article)
Not of our Tribe: Every archer shooting at GA is welcome (that is official). As a direct result of our open line policy, we have non-GA members who shoot with us as guests. These “associate members” are, in actuality, full members of other clubs. We laugh with them at the field, we help each other out, we can even be friends but come competition time, these are the enemy. They can and will take medals away from GA and that’s something we will not idly stand for. So get some heat on their bow even if its the same as yours and critique their form. Mock their club, club colours, town, driving skills, headwear … its all fair game. Show no mercy to get that psychological edge!
Note: while Glasgow Archers is a welcoming club for all archers of any AGB affiliated club and we’d love to see you visit … you should brace for robust club v club banter. :op
Peer to Peer: This is probably the most disturbing and shocking type of banter to the new arrival. Archers of the same bow type, same club and of similar ability will probably spent a lot of time on the same targets and familiarity breeds something scary in archers. These archers will trade barbs all the time. It won’t stop. It will kick up another notch if they have differing political, religious or intellectual … (intellectual?) … beliefs. If their senses of humour are dodgy … oh gods! They probably get on really well … it just doesn’t sound like it. So don’t worry, its not potential disciplinary offences you are hearing … they are just keeping each other amused. The really extreme banter is usually reserved for when they are on their own and no one else can hear … yet apparently they still get on!
Example: Some years ago GA hosted a Scottish championship where four blind archers were shooting. The banter exchanged by these archers was OTT to say the least. One quip heard was “You’d be better off letting your (guide) dog shoot!” Brutality! … but everyone on that target was laughing … and yes, there was much worse we can’t repeat!
So there you have it … three types of banter you’ll hear on the archery field. Its mostly all in fun. Its mainly to amuse. Its usually not meant seriously. Guest archers have actually joined GA as full members because they enjoyed the banter. But its important to remember one thing … we are all archers. And when it comes to “them and us” situations … us archers stick together no matter club, bow type or dodgy joke! We’re family … even if we do fight like cats and dogs or Hatfields and McCoys! :o)
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Please note: The above article is banter. No archers were offended in its creation although one was hit with a Stone Cold Stunner seconds after the picture was taken. Hell Yeah!
OTT: Over the Top. Wasn’t as funny as TISWAS.