Maggie Smith, a junior at Southeast High School in Springfield, Ill., started practicing archery before Katniss Everdeen and her hunting skills spearheaded a franchise into popular culture.
But “The Hunger Games” inspired 16-year-old Maggie, and she’s not alone. A record number of viewers tuned in to watch archery at the Summer Olympics in London.
Maggie took up archery when she watched “InuYasha,” an anime series. But she has since come to love Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” book (and now film) series, and the way the heroine, Katniss, uses her skills when she’s forced to participate in a televised death match against other teenagers.
“I can relate because I know how to (use archery) and I’m OK at it,” Maggie said. “I really do love the series. The books drew me in.”
The series “brings a new light to the meaning of fight” because Katniss isn’t fighting to win, Maggie said. She’s fighting to survive, something that inspires the teen.
In the movies based on the series, Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss, the main character and an experienced archer.
Katniss exudes “girl power” when she hones her abilities to eventually win the fictional life-or-death contest. Her enthusiasm and dedication inspired many girls — particularly teens — to start shooting bows and arrows.
More young people between the ages of 10 and 20 have come to realize just how fun archery can be, said Nick Robertson, sales associate and archery expert at Scheels All Sports in Springfield, Ill.
“We’ve seen close to double the amount of teens coming in (since the movie came out). I’ve had quite a few teens come in and look into it; quite a few just because of ‘The Hunger Games.’”
Robertson has been an avid archer for nearly 17 years. He said he sees many inspired teens and encourages them because it’s never too late to start a new hobby.
READ MORE: Click belowthe original article from GatHouse News Service, written by Nick Smith