Hunger Games Creates an Army of New Archers

Trends usually emerge when a big event movie (or book, but who reads anymore?) strikes a chord with a large audience, like when Harry Potter inspired real people to start playing quidditch, a fake sport, or when a cocaine and porn craze swept the nation after the release of Boogie Nights. Now, in the wake of the juggernaut Hunger Games movie, people are lining up to learn how to handle a bow and arrow, just like the film's hero, Katniss Everdeen.

The Daily News reports that New York's two archery ranges — both located in Queens — have noted as much as a 75 percent spike in traffic since buzz about The Hunger Games started tickling the earlobes of fans of the Suzanne Collins books. Joe McGlyn, owner of Pro-Line Archery, has said that 18-30-year-old fans of the series have been coming to his Ozone Park range for the last four months, much to the consternation of Ozone Park regular Jack Denley who says that now he has to arrive at the range super early just to pluck his bow. Posers, man.

Denley is actually happy to see that archery is generating more interesting, especially, he notes, among younger people like his daughters Bridgette (11) and Katelyn (10). "It's exciting to see that kids are getting involved, which is great," Denley says. As for teaching the newbies, McGlyn, who will be competing in the Olympic archery trials this year so you know he's legit, says that the previously uninitiated have no trouble at all after a few preliminary lessons. Even some of the flashier tricks Katniss performs in the movie, such as hitting an apple out of a roasted pig's mouth, aren't that as hard to pull off as they appear, according to McGlyn, who affirms, "Anybody can do that with proper training." Anybody can do pretty much anything with proper training, but the point is that Katniss really isn't such a hawkeye after all — she just practices shooting her bow while all the other vagabonds in District 12 are eating weevil and mud pies.

Some things to note for all would-be archers: shooting a bow and arrow is a serious upper arm workout, at least according to 22-year-old Chioma Armstrong, who was inspired to pick up an anachronistic weapon a day after seeing Jennifer Lawrence skewer adolescents on screen. It's also really addictive, according to Kaylyn Scardefield, who explains that, because the sport's so much easier at first than one would think, it's more forgiving. "I really want to get better at it," she told the Daily News. "You'll strive for perfection. You feel so graceful, but at the same time you feel fierce."

That sounds pretty awesome, but New York might have to consider installing some more archery ranges in the coming months since Pixar's Brave will ensure that the archery craze sweeps across every demographic until New Yorkers start leaving the city in droves to hunt their own game in the Adirondacks.

Hunger Games fans filling up lanes at Queens archery ranges [NYDN]