Odds are in this bow swap you will not receive a bow, or receive one very late, or receive one not worth receiving. Anyone in this years swap should have been very well aware of this. It is just something to do for fun and a little practice. There is no glorious reward at the end.
-------------------- TGMM Family of the Bow Posts: 928 | From: Nebraska | Registered: Jun 2006
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I've done the swap every year from the beginning until this year. This year I've just been following along quietly. I understand John's post, but it is part of the bigger Bench Community, and I think people not directly in this year's swap still have an interest in seeing it turn out well and still feel the frustrations when things start to go off the rails. (That said, there is no reason to be a ornery antagonist ... not saying any names of course. )
Now on to my rambling thoughts: If you look back through all the annual threads and refresh your memories, I think you'll likely agree that the swap has devolved a little each year. There is not one single thing that has caused that IMO. Some of it is the initial excitement has worn off. Some of it is the individual experiences with prior swaps have caused alumni to drop out the next year -- whether not getting a bow, not getting a bow they thought was equivalent effort, or just the stress of trying to make the deadline with everything else in their life.
I personally did not enter this year as I knew the year would be crazy for me and that it was not worth the added stress of meeting the deadline with everything else going on. Whether I get a bow in return at all, or what the quality of the bow I get in return is doesn't really matter to me. Like many, I've always participated in the swap for the challenge of the build and the giving aspect of things. That said, I'm still very excited when a tube or box shows up on my front porch. I take it around and show it off, enjoy shooting it for a bit, love posting pics back to the Bench, etc. But then I usually revert to the same old bow I always shoot. Many of the swap bows I've found good homes for over the years, often with newer shooters. The others I still have and love to occasionally shoot a little, but will likely pass them along to a good home when one pops up.
Of course, many others who participate in the swap are counting on receiving a new bow. They may not make many bows, and the efforts they put into making one for someone else are efforts they're not putting into making one for themselves. For them, not receiving a bow is a much bigger deal. And of course there are some who if being honest are simply hoping to get that dream bow from one of the more outstanding, experienced bowyers. I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as they're putting forth an honest effort to do the best they can for their recipient.
We all have our reasons for participating (or not), and we all have our own thoughts on how important the bow we receive (or don't) is to us. But I think most of us do get a little bent when each year the respect for the deadline seems to fade a little more. Things will always come up that cause a percentage of people to miss the deadline, hopefully by only a little. But the deadline and the other participants in the swap can still be shown respect by communicating the situation and staying focused on seeing your commitment through. I think this is where leadership comes in.
When we started this, Stiks ran it and had Kelly to help him out. I think they did a bang up job together! When he realized he simply didn't have the time or enthusiasm to keep with it, he turned the reins completely over to Kelly. I know that there have been offers made to help Kelly, but I'm thinking he always figured he had it covered. However, it seems this year has been tough for Kelly with his service to keep up, often due to the ability to get online regularly. I think if this does go forward again next year, Kelly should find someone to help him keep this thing on the rails and as a team they should be reaching out individually to those who are past the deadline on a very regular basis. That doesn't mean there won't still be the occasional Hova in the mix. But it will help keep those who are just a bit busy or overwhelmed in the fold and motivated to see it through in good time.
My initial feeling was that maybe there shouldn't be a swap next year. Maybe it's reached the end of its journey. But the more I think about it, the more I think it should go forward again next year. Even with the late bows and the few who never deliver, the swap is more positive than negative. It gets many of us talking and getting to know each other in a way that doesn't always happen in the other threads. It pushes many of the newer bowyers to challenge themselves in a way they probably wouldn't if there wasn't a deadline and a discerning bowyer that they want to impress on the receiving end. It gives the more experienced folks a chance to help mentor and feel good about sending a bow out that will likely be cherished by the recipient.
If there is an 8th swap next year, I currently plan on participating and hope many of you will join me. That said, while I realize it's a somewhat thankless job and I truly mean no disrespect to him and everything he's done over the last 7-1/2 years, I do hope that Kelly takes on an assistant to help share the load next year.
-------------------- TGMM Family of the Bow Professional Bowhunters Society
"The earth has its music for those who will listen." - Santayana Posts: 2110 | From: Fairfax Station, Virginia | Registered: Jul 2010
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I certainly hope this continues in the future. While I don't participate, I still really enjoy reading the bow swap threads. They were some of my favorites long before I ever joined TradGang.
Posts: 544 | From: Boyne City, Michigan | Registered: Oct 2016
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