Jewel Beth Davis
and KJ Hannah Greenberg

KJ Hannah Greenberg
Inspiration piece

Colored Arrows
By Jewel Beth Davis

The archers lined up with their bows, their faces grim. The arrows flew through
the air with feathers comprised of many different colors. None of them hit the bull’s eye
on the target but some came close. All of them wanted to please the instructor. They
failed in their quest. They could see Mr. Smythe was not pleased. His expression was
blank and thin-lipped. He blew six whistles, and the archers all lowered their bows.
“No one is ready for the upcoming contest,” Mr. Smythe said. His voice rumbled
with displeasure. “I asked each of you to raise your elbows to the height of your three
fingers that pulls back the bow string. Your elbows were flagging. You must always wrap
your fingers of the other hand around the leather of the bow. Only one person followed
my directions, and her arrow landed the closest to the bull’s eye. Ms. Olympe Saracen.
Even so, she didn’t hit the bull’s eye, so clearly, she was lacking in some other aspect of
technique.” Olympe blanched at the mention of her name in a negative connotation.
“Very disappointing, all in all. We have a lot of work to do before the competition in
several weeks. It may not be enough time.” Someone on the team gasped. Mr. Smythe
shook his head with a sense of hopelessness.
Olympe was furious. Her arms felt heavy, and her head hung low. The team was
trying their best. If there was a problem, it was Mr. Smythe’s fault. Mr. Smythe gave the
team no hope. He did nothing but criticize. A coach is supposed to inspire team
members with excitement and joy to compete. The coach is meant to infuse team
members with the potential to win and the fun of playing the sport. Olympe knew from
comments she listened to in the locker room that none of her team members felt

inspired by Mr. Smythe. She looked up and down the line of archers as they continued
to practice. The air surrounding them was pervaded with a metaphorical viscous dark
grey fog. Constance could barely hold her bow up. Celia’s bow was shaking. Molly was
in denial and continued to insert one arrow after another and let fly, most of them
missing the target altogether. Others were fumbling with their bows and arrows and
were having difficulty inserting their arrows into the bow. Mr. Smythe stood on the
sidelines fuming. One could almost see smoke emerging from his nose and his ears.
Finally, he turned, and without a word, walked away and entered the building, slamming
the door.
Complete silence pervaded the archers. No one moved for a moment. “What are
we supposed to do now?” Molly said. She threw an arrow to the ground, breaking it.
Olympe wondered what My. Smythe’s dramatic exit was supposed to accomplish.
She felt like quitting the team. The insides of her stomach twisted. Acid poured onto her
gut. She thought she might vomit. In two weeks, they had their Pre-Olympic Competition
and their coach had just apparently walked out on them. As team captain, she had
certain responsibilities. She wiped her forehead with her arm. She paused for a moment
and then spoke. “What do you want to do?” she said. “Should we go and talk with him?”
“I don’t see what good that would do. He hates us. He has no faith in us,” said
Constance. She pulled her long, golden red hair off her neck. “He wouldn’t listen.”
“Oh, now, I don’t think he hates us.” Olympe actually wasn’t sure about that.
“He’s just disappointed because we’re not living up to our potential. Still, he doesn’t
have to be so mean about it,” Olympe said.
“Yes, he’s just so mean!” Constance agreed. “I hate him.”

Olympe shook her head. “Well, that’s not going to do the team any good and
that’s what I care about. I agree he has terrible social skills.” At that statement, the girls
began to giggle. Molly laughed.
“Terrible social skills!” Molly said. Her laughter built..
The entire team repeated, “Terrible social skills.” Everyone went into gales of
laughter. “Terrible social skills!”
“All right,” Olympe said, as the laughter began to die down, “I may have
understated a little bit, but we have to get past our hurt feelings and find a way to
improve our skills. We want to do well at the competition, don’t we?”
“I guess,” Celia said. “A minute ago, I wanted to quit.”
“That was a minute ago. How do you feel now?” Olympe said.
“Now, I want to compete.” Celia was still giggling a little.
Olympe stood in the middle of the group of girls. “Raise your hands if you still
want to compete in spite of the way Mr. Smythe talks to us?” She stood straight with her
chin jutted out. Everyone raised her hand.
“We’re good. We can do this,” said Celia.
“Then let’s practice until we all hit the bull’s eye,” said Olympe.
They all lined up in their regular positions in line with their bows held correctly and
inserted their arrows. Their arrows let fly. The results were much improved.
“Huzzah!” several of them cried out. They continued to practice, one arrow after

After some time, the door to the brick building quietly opened and Mr. Smythe
slipped out. He stood watching near the building without saying a word. A small,
satisfied smile appeared on his face.


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