After moving into a new apartment, this young man’s parents gave him something that used to belong to his late great uncle. But when he looked at it, he realized there was a lot more to this family member than he or his parents ever knew.
A regular Reddit user known as Innuendoughnut is a gaming and technology fan. And after moving into his new apartment, he inherited a seemingly cumbersome gift. Looking at it, he wouldn’t expect much to come out of it.
A Wooden Chest
His parents gave him an antique wooden chest that his great-uncle passed down. Looking at the chest, he probably wondered where he’ll put, being quite large and bulky. Eventually, he took the chest home, opened it up…
And found nothing, actually. But something told him to check a little deeper. To the bottom of the wooden chest. He realized the chest had a fake bottom. After some poking and prodding, and successfully opening the bottom of the chest, a secret compartment full of his great-uncle’s prized and personal treasures was revealed.
Opening the Chest
Once he opened the fake bottom of the chest, he found a bunch of old and worn cases of arrows. This collection of arrows clearly something his uncle wanted to hide for some reason or another. “Arrows are cool right?” is what Innuendoughnut wrote beside the photo.
As he dug deeper, he found more equipment. He was beginning to understand that he was discovering his great-uncle’s enthusiasm for the precision sport of archery. The equipment he found was surely puzzling for him, but on the same note, he was excited to see what these were all about.
Feeling a Connection
As he pulled all the items out of the chest, the young man felt a real connection to his relative that he hardly knew. Wanting to understand this obvious hobby of archery, he went to the internet and did some more digging.
He posted a picture of each item in the chest to an archery forum where the archery community commented on what they saw. They taught him the history and mechanics of the Olympic sport that his great-uncle loved. The first items he posted were blunted arrows.
So what’s so special about them?
An archery enthusiast with the username msanteler wrote: “Blunted arrows are typically for small game hunting. Imagine one of those razor-sharp broad-heads through a rabbit or squirrel… Overkill. Blunt force trauma is plenty.”
Ouch. That information alone made it obvious that his great-uncle took to bow-and-arrow hunting. Who knew! And the next piece he posted from the inherited old chest was something that wasn’t clear to him at all, hence the name he gave to it.
“Metal thing,” is what Innuendoughnut posted. He was so unaccustomed to arrows and all the items attached to the hobby, that he was learning so much from the forum. A user’s response shed some light on what the metal thing actually is.
“The ‘metal thing’ is a bow stand for the competition line,” wrote user Maldevinine. The spike goes in the ground next to you, the bow goes across the two hooks, and the arrows stand up (point down) in the square. It may be broken.”
Was his great uncle a competitor?
A Competitive Angle
Another user explained how competitors would keep their arrows in the bow stand so that they didn’t have to reach far for a new arrow. The hooks on the side held the bows similarly to the modern bow stand below. So Innuendoughnut had to wonder: was his great-uncle a bow-and-arrow competitor?
And another item in the wooden chest suggested he was. He found a green box packed with organized arrows and felt patches. “You can see it’s a good set of arrows, and the leather thing in the far left is an armed guard,” user Maldevinine wrote.
Maldevinie also wrote: “He’s got his spare arrow parts in there. And all his competition patches, what looks like a pair of disposable targets and some generic tools.” So if his great uncle was a competitor, what kind of competitor was he?
Innuendoughnut shared another picture he that he called “pins and awards?” Seeing all these items confirmed that his great uncle was indeed an active competitor. But the archery fanatics showed him these were so much more than just pins and awards…
“I love how the most important thing in this chest was so overlooked,” one Imgur user said in response to the pins that Innuendoughnut’s image featured. “Look at those pins and medals. Two are Olympic!” Actually, three of the pins bore that famous five-ring symbol.
But Innuendoughnut had doubts. He never heard about his great-uncle being an Olympian. “We’d probably know a bit better,” he wrote, “if a not-so-distant relative was an Olympian, right?” But another redditor pointed out another pin might end up changing his mind.
“One of the pins there is a silver fern,” user bezufache wrote. “He must have got that from a member of the New Zealand Olympic team. If not an Olympic competitor, perhaps he went as a member of the wider team for his country?”
“Or just a spectator who knew people in high places,” the redditor continued. “But he wouldn’t have had a pin to exchange in that case (generally people swap their pins for one from another country rather than just giving them away).” Could this mean that the great uncle earned some pins on his own?
Learning about His Uncle
Innuendoughnut pulled more items from the old chest. There were recurve bows and leather quivers that avid archers from the online forum were commenting on. It was clear now that this old wooden box held treasures from the archery world.
The most important thing for Innuendoughnut was that he was learning about his uncle. If he wouldn’t have found the hidden bottom, would he ever have found out about his Olympic past? Clearly, Innuendoughnut’s great-uncle locked a big piece of himself and his history in that old wooden chest.
Archery in the Olympics
Unfortunately, we don’t know the name of Innuendoughnut’s great uncle and which years he competed in the Olympics. But there’s stuff to know about Olympic archery that might be of interest to those who like sports and Olympics.
Source: Allsport Hulton/Archive/Getty
Archery first appeared in the Olympic Games in 1900 and was contested again in 1904, 1908, and 1920. Women also competed in the 1904 Olympics, making archery one of the first sports to include events for both genders.
A 52-year Hiatus
Archery took a 52-year hiatus from the Olympics. It was re-introduced to the program in 1972, with individual events for both men and women. Hubert van Innis, from Belgium, is the most decorated archer in Olympic history, winning six gold medals and three silvers in 1900 and 1920.
Source: Photo by ullsteinbild/ullsteinbild via Getty Images
Second in the archery medal ranking is Kim Soo-Nyung, who competed in the 1988, 1992 and 2000 Games and won four Olympic titles, one silver, and one bronze medal.
Archery Interesting Facts
Archery is a sport that requires real talent and skill. And it dates back thousands of years. Did you know that the first known use of bows and arrows in combat was in 2340BC by the Babylonians? And there’s more where that came from…
Source: Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
It’s believed that bows and arrows have been used for at least 25,000 years based upon the discovery of arrowheads in Africa. Archery is actually considered to be one of the oldest sports in the world.
Speaking of the Olympics. You probably don’t know that in the 1900 Summer Olympics, live pigeons were used as the target in the archery competition. That would never fly today!
Source: Photo by English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Another fun fact: Splitting the arrow of a competitor is called a ‘Robin Hood’, in reference to the legend archer Robin Hood who won a competition by splitting his opponent’s arrow with his own. And we’re sure you know of the classic kid’s movie with the same title.