Article by: Ryan Keliher
Sport and competition often draw metaphoric comparisons to life. For PEI’s Crawford family, it’s remarkable how a sport with a tiny target has brought life’s bigger picture into clear view.
Core characteristics of strong families are to foster optimism, communicate effectively, spend time together, and have commitment to each other. Through the sport of archery, PEI’s Crawford family has hit the bullseye.
If the Crawford family was to create its own coat of arms, a bow and arrow could aptly make their way into the design. The entire family is immersed in archery, one of the world’s oldest sports. This week at Canada Games, all four Crawfords are representing Team PEI.
Keegan, age 15, and his sister Avery, 12, are competing as athletes while their father, Duncan, coaches and their mother, Karla, manages the team. Isabella Doucette, 14, Arden Hopkin, 15, and Head Coach Kevin Arsenault round out Team PEI’s Archery roster.
Duncan Crawford cherishes the opportunity to coach his kids, but he knows that being both dad and coach present their own unique circumstances.
“It’s intensely rewarding and challenging at the same time. Both my kids love archery and, I think, generally appreciate my passion for the sport, my technical knowledge and expertise, but I also know when to back off,” said Crawford.
There are times like this Canada Games when Duncan takes a back seat and Kevin Arsenault takes the lead as head coach. Duncan, a former Canada Games archer and coach at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Summer Games, is mindful of instilling confidence in his children while still giving them the respect and space to be their own individual athletes.
Ducan’s son Keegan enters this week with Canada Games experience. He competed in Red Deer four years ago at age 11 as PEI’s youngest athlete. Now Keegan is using his past experience to ensure that his younger sister Avery is ready for her first Canada Games.
“I told her that they (the fans) are not looking at you. They are looking at the target. You don’t have to be nervous about all the cameras. You just do your thing,” said the 15-year-old Games veteran, adding that he also told his sister to enjoy the awesome experience that is Canada Games.
Keegan’s younger sister Avery is appreciative of her brother’s insight and support. “We’ve talked a lot about what to expect, having fun, not to worry about the cameras on me, and to keep following what I do at the range,” said the 12-year-old athlete.
For Karla Crawford, both mom and manager, she values how archery has brought the Crawford family closer.
“We are definitely an archery family. This Canada Games has brought us all together in different roles. It’s been nice, as a mom, watching her two kids on the team. I’ve seen their relationship develop in a positive way. They make me proud, and I’m proud to be here as their manager.”
While a podium finish is the focus for the Crawfords and Team PEI this week, regardless of the outcome, it’s safe to say that archery is helping the Crawford family win the larger game of life. The characteristics they’ve developed through archery are targets every family could aim for.
Archery qualification rounds continue today at Eastlink Centre.