I Shot a Model with a Bow and Arrow
No, this isn’t The Hunger Games; it’s a fun way to battle your friends
By Clint Carter, Men’s Health Magazine® - November 13, 2014
I pulled back my bow, squinted down the arrow, and saw Audrina Patridge locked in my crosshairs. I released—thwang!—and dropped her like a 90-pound lamb. “That’s for The Hills!” I shouted, thumping my chest.
Okay, I made that last part up. I didn’t scream anything. I did land the shot, however—and that’s impressive given Patridge’s tiny frame. If you don’t know her by name, you’d recognize her from shows your girlfriend watched: Dancing with the Stars, Audrina, and The Hills, of course. And just in case you’re still imagining Patridge with an arrow sticking out of her shoulder, I should note here that these arrows were designed to land soft against flesh. Think of the arrows from The Hunger Games, subtract the pointy part, and add a brick of white foam that looks and feels not unlike a marshmallow. So when it hits you, there’s no blood, no damage. The only pain you feel is that of self-pity.
The foam-tipped arrow is part of a relatively new sport called Archery Tag®, and my game against Patridge was my first ever. If you know dodgeball, then you know Archery Tag®: teams trade shots at each other, and when you’re hit, you take a seat against the wall. The winning team is the one still standing once its last opponent has been eliminated. During the course of a game, you will sweat, you will scream, and you will feel an irrational amount of pride when you hit someone who’s nearly half your size. It’s surprisingly intense—ducking behind inflated bunkers, firing shots from a sprint, making a dash for a stray arrow while your opponent takes aim at your solar plexus.
The company behind the game, simply called Archery Tag®, started in 2011 and has grown quickly. You can now play at about 175 locations in the U.S. And no, Audrina Patridge isn’t at all of them. She was available for a one-day-only event. Patridge or not, the game is fun. Sure, you’ll find groups of kids running around most Archery Tag® centers. But you’ll also find groups of guys, or more likely coworkers, playing for the team-building aspect (OK, so they can act out their latent aggressions.)
You can even find Archery Tag® while traveling internationally. It’s already spread to more than 30 countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, The Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. “In the past 2 months, we’ve signed up four licensees in Hong Kong alone,” says John Jackson, the founder of the company. He even set up a tag range on a U.S. Navy ship. Yes, for real. “Our biggest problem has been trying to keep up with demand,” says Jackson. “We actually stopped accepting orders for a couple months last summer. We had to catch up.”
Want to gather a group of friends to battle? Find a venue at archerytag.com/locations.
Now let me come clean: Patridge was more than some fragile bow target. She was a worthy opponent. Over the few hours we’d been acquainted, she proved herself to be pretty darn good at mowing people down with squishy arrows. If you want to see who won—Men’s Health or Patridge—watch the upcoming segment on NBC’s 1st Look. It airs this weekend, so check your local listing for times, or visit 1stLooktv.com.