Love can find you in the most unusual places, often when you least expect it.
Case in point: Cupid’s arrow flew fast and true at two sets of professional archers. Erika Anear and Martin Damsbo, as well as Linda Ochoa and Steve Anderson were all struck by love’s arrow. They are two of four couples whose stories we shared a few years ago about people hit by Cupid’s arrow while shooting their own bows. We recently caught up with Anear and Ochoa to ask what’s changed since we last spoke.
Erika Damsbo and Martin Damsbo
They blame much of their busy lifestyle on hectic archery schedules. “We have to block days off months in advance for anything non-archery related,” Damsbo said. Because they’re sponsored by World Archery, they train often and showcase their skills at many competitions. Despite vastly different work schedules, they still train together about half of the time on weekends.
They also help each other train as much as possible. “I start early and finish early, so I am often finishing training when he starts, and I head home and cook dinner while he is shooting,” Damsbo said.
Their training regimen has changed little since they were engaged. Damsbo said they “maybe (put) a bigger focus on quality over quantity as we have so little time.” In addition to shooting, she focuses her time in the gym on core training.
Erika and Martin shoot for Denmark. Erika was born in Australia, and misses its affordable coffee, 35-degree Celsius weather, and her friends and family. Living in Denmark, however, makes travel easier. “I speak fairly decent Danish, although I started taking lessons again just to brush up for work,” she said.
What advice does she offer aspiring archers? “Practice, practice, practice,” She said. That might sound simple, but she believes “there’s almost always improvement to be found in shooting more.”
Linda Ochoa and Steve Anderson
Ochoa and Anderson have upgraded their relationship status from engaged to married. They’ve been married three years and have been living together for a year and half now that Ochoa has permanent U.S. residency. Ochoa said the period of time when they were married but she was living in Mexico “was a hard time for both of us, but now we enjoy every second we spend together, since we know how it feels to be apart from each other.”
The two archers try to train together when they can, but it’s difficult with their schedules. “Steve has a full-time job so it’s hard for him to find time to practice,” Ochoa said. “But when we do, we try to make it a good practice. We usually shoot against each other, which helps me because I always want to beat him and it helps him because of course he doesn’t want me to beat him.” A little healthy spousal rivalry never hurt anyone.
Ochoa said that compared to her pre-marital training, she’s done a complete 180. “I used to practice every day with my coach in Mexico,” Ochoa said. “I used to ask for help when I needed it, now I practice most of the time by myself. It was hard at the beginning, but I believe it has helped me to be a better archer and I learned to solve problems by myself.”
Her advice to aspiring archers is to trust in yourself. “It’s ok to ask for help,” Ochoa said. “But it’s also ok to trust your own judgment and dare to do things you weren’t used to: to try and learn how to be your own coach, fix your own bow, with the goal of improving your archery career.”
Ochoa credits competing in the same tournaments and having the same goals as big components of what makes their relationship strong. Chalk another one up to archery. “I believe we are stronger together because we know how to help each other and push each other to be better every day, in all life matters,” Ochoa said.
Moving from Mexico to the United States is a big adjustment for Ochoa, but she and Anderson are patient with each other and constantly learning. Ochoa says, “we believe love always wins and we work towards that.”
The love between these couples is proof that Cupid’s arrow can inspire beautiful things when it strikes. It helps, of course when the couple shares a passion for archery, which further bonds them and helps them grow and excel together.
Keep that in mind when visiting your local archery range. You never know who might be there waiting to shoot with you forever.