What do you get when combining archery with America’s favorite pastime? Some Minnesota youngsters got a fun-filled experience by shooting arrows with professional baseball players.
Four Minnesota Twins helped the state’s Department of Natural Resources teach archery to youngsters during an event in early June. The children not only got to meet Brian Dozier, Tyler Duffy, Eduardo Nunez and Pat Dean. They also got to try archery under the tutelage of the four Major League baseball players.
The archery lessons were part of the Minnesota Twins’ sixth annual Hope Week, in which Twins players and front-office staff give back to the community that supports the team, MLB states. During each day of Hope Week, Twins players take turns leading teammates in various volunteer activities. The children they tutored were from the HopeKids program, which helps children with terminal illnesses, and their families.
Why did Dozier choose archery as his group’s activity? Because Dozier can shoot a bow as well as he swings a bat. He has hunted and shot archery for much of his life, and he likes sharing that expertise with his teammates and children.
Dozier’s passion for archery started when he was about 5 years old, he told Kare11 TV, an NBC affiliate. “The first thing my dad taught me, to not just aim for the deer or the turkey, or whatever you’re shooting,” Dozier said. “Aim for the heart, or a little hair on his chest, or something. Aim small, miss small. And that’s what we’re doing out here.”
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) June 8, 2016
Little did Dozier know back then, someday he would get to pass along that wisdom to other children. MLB features another video of the festivities on the Twins’ page. “I’m an outdoors guy,” Dozier said in the interview. “I shoot a bow very, very often. I haven’t shot it in a while, to be honest with you, but I (also) shoot a recurve bow. I’ll teach some kids how to do it, and have fun with it.”
Hanging out with baseball players while practicing archery? That sounds like a day well-spent to us. Kare11’s coverage featured Dozier, his teammates and several children shooting arrows. Dozier encouraged his teammates (who had never before shot a bow) to keep trying. He jokingly implored: “Aim small, miss small. Isn’t that the old saying?”
Nunez is one of the inexperienced archers. Dozier approached his teammate, put an arm around him, and boasted, “If (Nunez) can shoot a bow like he’s been hitting a baseball … Robin Hood.” Nunez wasn’t convinced, and protested with a laugh.
The children shot at a target that looks like a baseball diamond, rather than the typical archery target with a series of progressively smaller rings with a bull’s-eye in the center. The baseball-diamond target had areas marked for fouls, bunts, singles, doubles and home runs, with the bull’s-eye marked “Home Run ×2.”
So why do baseball and archery go hand in hand? They both require upper-body strength, arm strength and accuracy. Archers and baseball players must be able to consistently hit their target with pinpoint shots, which requires consistent aiming and releasing, and accurate distance calculations.
Another baseball player who loves the outdoors is Adam LaRoche, the former Chicago White Sox player who walked away from his contract this spring to focus on his family. LaRoche owns the E3 Ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and has appeared at the ATA Trade Show, which makes him a member of the archery family.
Likewise, the Twins’ sense of family helps give children experiences of a lifetime each summer. In the process, Dozier combined his two passions to make these moments even more memorable. After all, baseball and archery fit together like a hand in a glove.