Shown taking aim during competition at the Canada Cup in Maple Ridge, B.C. last year, Alberta teacher Lucie Filion will compete for Canada at the 2016 World Field Archery Championship in Dublin at the end of September.
Archer Lucie Filion shoots for a personal best in all situations
When Lucie Filion sets her sights on something, look out.
Currently in the crosshairs for the retired teacher and competitive archer is the 2016 World Field Archery Championship that takes place in Dublin at the end of September.
“I’m very happy to be able to be on the Canadian team,” said Filion, who qualified for the event in a recent competition.
To tune up for the games, Filion recently competed in the Canadian championships, where she won two gold medals in the masters class (for middle-aged competitors), and the American Masters Games, where she earned a bronze. (She’s thinking about trying to raise her score enough to have a shot at the next Olympics).
Her training involves three to four hours of daily practice, which has her taking anywhere from 100 to 200 shots. Due to the shoulder strength and stability required for her discipline, she is also no stranger to the home gym she has set up in her basement.
At 58, Filion is both an old-timer and a relative newcomer to the sport. She first took up archery at age 11 while growing up in Quebec. She immediately displayed a natural talent and a taste for the winners’ podium. However, when she entered her 20s, she put away her bow to focus on her burgeoning career and family.
It wasn’t until 30 years later, in 2012, that Filion decided to get back into the sport. This desire brought her to an archery store, where, using a borrowed bow, she peppered the middle area of the target.
“The guy said, ‘You still got it, lady,’ so I bought a bow.”
Archery equipment changed a great deal during Filion’s time away, and she’s still learning about all the new gadgets that are available. In the meantime, she has demonstrated that she’s one of the best in Alberta and Canada in the recurve category, which employs a classic curved bow, as opposed to the compound bow (identifiable by the pulleys at the top and bottom), which provides a greater mechanical advantage and precision.
For Filion, the appeal of archery is explained by the French word dépassement, which means overtake. She is constantly looking to surpass herself.
“It’s awesome to be able to shoot,” she says.
While Filion likes the purposeful travel and social aspects of competing nationally and internationally, she also finds appeal in the calm that comes over her while shooting.
“It’s a peace of mind, being one with your target and shooting,” she says.
This ability to clear one’s mind is crucial to success in archery.
“You need to be stable, every arrow,” Filion says. “If there’s something bothering you, you’ll see it at the target, so you have to have a clear mind.”
Although she often competes in the master category (for middle-aged competitors), at the upcoming games in Ireland Filion will compete in the senior category, which is for anyone aged 21 and over. Filion says she doesn’t have a particular goal other than to do her best.
“I’m not looking for a medal. I’m looking to be able to achieve a score, to achieve something, at least, for my country and for myself,” she says.
The pursuit of one’s personal best describes Filion’s approach to life in general, and it is an approach she advocates for anybody, regardless of age or ability.
“Do what you dream to do in your life,” Filion says. “If you want to do art, go for it. If you want to do sport, you have that ability. Just go for it.”
Teachers, in particular, can benefit from looking after themselves as well as they look after their students.
“We want our teaching to help kids to be the best they can be,” she says. “We still have that ability, but we forgot about ourselves. We should do stuff for ourselves, because we’re going to be the best example for our kids.”
Although she retired from teaching in 2013, Filion still teaches on contract each year. Last year she taught kindergarten at Dunluce School in Edmonton.
Filion’s interests aren’t restricted to archery. An active, energetic and adventurous person, she entered the 2015 Winter World Masters Games in long-track speedskating, despite having never done this style of skating. Armed with a few lessons, a bit of practice and borrowed skates, she propelled herself to a bronze medal in the 3,000 metres, as well as three fourth-place finishes in other distances.
Her next endeavour will be skiing, a sport she hasn’t touched for years after competing in it when she was young. Taking on this new challenge is all part of Filion’s philosophy that life is for doing.
“There’s a world for us [older people],” she says. “We’re not dead.” ❚