When Did Win?

Did you win when you finally got your project? Was it when you hit the big putt on the last hole that won it?  Or did you actually win long before either of these ever happened?  We all love to win, to succeed to, to do well at the sports we love.  But lately I’ve been thinking the key to winning tournaments, the key to sending your projects is all of the work you put in before you ever get out there.

The old concept of reaping a sowing comes into play big time in this.  Tournaments, and climbing days are the times we a reaping the rewards of all of the work we’ve put in prior to that day.

You won when you committed to fieldwork instead of a casual round

you won when you made that 200th 15ft practice putt

you won when you kept training in the gym even when you felt weak

you won when you practiced instead of going out.

you won when you committed to working to get better

When you put in the work before hand, you feel confident, perform better and get to reap the rewards so much more.  Commit today, put in the work so you can enjoy it later.

Win today.

The Work Behind the Play

Yesterday I pulled into the full parking lot of my local disc golf course, which it was really nice seeing it full as the course had recently been re-opened after going through a major redesign that drastically changed the course.  I was glad that people were coming out to see the new course and its new layout and to experience it.  Among some of the people there I had heard some groans and mumblings about how it had changed and that the course was harder, that it was kind of unfinished.  As I heard these I wondered how many of them knew the real amount of work and labor that had been poured in by a small handful of local folks.

It is kinda like when you go climbing, it is very easy to take a lot of stuff for granted.  On a simple day sport climbing how much do you ponder the work put into making trails cutting the hated switchbacks, putting up access ladders, cleaning lichen, and moss off of the walls, putting in bolts, and maintaining the hardware on the routes.  There has been a ton of work put into a lot of our favorite places that we can easily take for granted.

We should take time to reflect on all of the behind the scenes work that make our play grounds great.  We should approach these areas with gratitude, thankful that they exist, and thankful for the people who care for and maintain these areas.  A lot of them do it anonymously, no for praise, fame, or money.  They take on these endeavours  out of love, love for the land, love for the community and love for the sport.  If you see or know any of these people give them a thanks, or better yet a helping hand in getting the work done.

I encourage everyone to take part in some activity to give back to your favorite spots.  Pouring yourself into a course or a crag give you a sense of agency, and ownership in the area, and helps to foster a much deeper appreciation for it.  Most areas have local organizations that coordinate clean up or trail days, to help maintain and even improve the land.  Not everyone maybe able to attend these or commit fully to such an activities so here are a few small suggestions of how you can help with the work behind the play.

-Clean Up Sticks: On wooded disc golf courses it is very common for sticks and branches to fall into the fairways every storm.  If you take an opportunity during rounds to move them to side or off the holes it will help clean up the holes

-Pick-up Trash: Cleaning up trash is easy and everyone can do it.  Normally we are out with pack full of discs or gear but we still have room for some trash.

-Clean up Graffiti: Some people like writing on stuff, but if you can clean it up it helps make the course just a bit bigger.

I want to end by giving a huge thanks to Chris Mahaffey and the SCDGA on all of the work they did coordinating the work on the Robert E. Miller disc golf course, and thanks to all those who put in time helping out.  Also a thanks to Dave Wolfrey for complimenting one of my previous blogs in person, good to know people read it.

Making and Keeping Memories

“Make sure to take pictures you will want them later.”

This past week, I was sitting in a meeting and I had a notebook with me.  Perusing through what random ideas I had written in this book I came across a few pages sparked my interest.  I had stumbled upon some writing I did while on a flight back from California, during the flight I wrote down everything I could remember from the trip I was just finishing up.  Good bad or seemingly insignificant I wanted to make sure I retained as much of the trip I could.   People talk about making memories, but what about keeping those memories.

Last month while I was in Bowling Green at tournament I got a message from my friend Don, “Make sure to take pictures you will want them later.”  I used to make make fun of people who always had their cameras out, or people who journaled about what they were doing, but in the past few months I’ve been switching my thoughts.  While I still think a lot of the staged photos are cheesy and really touristy, I do think photos can help us capture a moment, and when we see them we can remember the feeling and the experience around that single image.  A journal though helps capture thoughts, lessons, emotions with a lot more detail for you to glean insight going forward.

While the doing of the thing is fun in and of itself, the memories are what adds true value into our lives.  Memories give us last joy reminiscing telling stories, and connecting with other people’s memories is a source of long lasting joy beyond the initial event.  keeping track of memories also is a helpful learning tool going forward.  K.J. Nybo is known for having a notebook where he logs all of his shots on different course so he knows his tendencies, where he wants to play from, and where to positions himself.  Having a connection to the past helps us relive the joys and learn going forward.

How are you keeping our memories?

Location Location Locations

There is something to be said for wanting to spread your wings to travel to learn and I think there is a time where we all should be out learning, but I also think there is equal value of setting roots and digging deep into an area and becoming part of it.

My friend Dan in a recent conversation told me he has played 1450 different disc golf courses, it’s kind of his thing.  Similarly my friend Tess loves to travel and climb in new places in the last two years she has been in WV, Patagonia, The Pacific Northwest, Chamonix, Italy, China, Bishop, and is currently on her way to Alaska  .  Some people want to experience a wide breadth of experience see the full world for all it has worth.

Other people I know want to fully experience one small area of the world.  Last summer I went out to the New River Gorge with my friend Landon and his friend Lou, they have been climbing in the New for years and have hit most of the main areas and classic lines, the mission they were on was looking for the buried gems, that may need some (a lot) of cleaning up.  Similarly in getting deeper into the love and appreciation of our local courses my friend Tyler has lately been investing a ton of time and effort into improving one of our local courses potential, adding alternate pin location  cleaning up the trash, edging the tee pads, and clearing some of the low hanging limbs around some of the baskets.

Some people are looking for a wide expansive experience in their hobbies and others are looking for a deeper experience in an area.  I do not think either is particularly the right way and I think there are seasons of life for each aspect.

The wide path exposes you to a much larger variety for experiences.  Climbing steep limestone in Wyoming, is drastically different than climbing the granite domes of North Carolina.  The skills required are different for both, and some people prefer one over the other.  Have the wide breadth of travel set you up to have open perspectives about how things can be done and gives you a larger set of tools to choose from in climbing and in disc golf, playing elevation changes in colorado requires different discs and shot selections than cutting through the wind in Kansas.  You will learn and see so much on this path.

The deep path lets you get an intimate knowledge of an area, which allows you to learn its subtleties, and develop an appreciation for a place on a different level.  The New River Gorge may seem like one continuous rock band that stretches for miles, however the rock varies wildly in its consistency, friction, color, and style, throughout its expanse.  Sections of rock 8 feet away.  In diving deep into an area you get to learn the subtle differences and can appreciate the character they add, and even use them to your advantage at times.  An example of this is on our local course the basket sits just over a ridge and you cannot see the landing area slopes right to left, and this causes a lot of back hand shots to skip long and away from the basket, but a forehand will check up on slope and stop rather than skip away.

Not only is your interaction with the area different but so is your interactions with people.  People who choose a wide breadth of experience will also find they also chose a wide breadth of friends.  Going to new places will by the very nature of it cause you to meet new people, develop new connections, find new compadres to climb, and disc with. I’ve personally made a number for friends passing through traveling in areas, and it is great to have a network of connections all over the help organize trips to areas get beta for routes, give rides to courses.

Equally however I’ve been on the other side being deeply invested in an area.  You do not meet as many people this way, but the connection with these people is much deeper over a mutual love, and appreciation for the area you are in.  A local community develops in these places and being part of the scene and in the know is always a fun part. Belonging to both an a place and a tribe, adds stability and comfort to some people, that the vagabond travel life does not provide.

There is something to be said for wanting to spread your wings to travel to learn and I think there is a time where we all should be out learning, but I also think there is equal value of setting roots and digging deep into an area and becoming part of it.

When to go for it.

The gear was small, the holds were small, and the rock was pretty slick.  I did not feel particularly secure.  I thought back into my head and thought process.  I knew my gear was good, I knew I was strong enough to hold on, I’d trained all winter in the gym,  I had it within me.  So with confidence in my ability I was able to move and continue up the route and got the moves and completed the route.

Similarly this weekend I was looking down a 30 foot downhill death putt, missing it had consequences.  I thought about laying it up, or giving it a half a run, but I looked back, I had warmed up practicing that shot, and had made very similar shots in the past few weeks.  I leaned back on my past, my training, and my experience and was able to execute.

While neither one of these are really all that impressive feats, to me they express an important lesson I’ve been thinking about.  There are times when we just need to go for it even when their are consequences if it does not work, and there are times to make the conservative call, to lay up, or to back off.  For me I am more likely to take the conservative play either from lack of confidence, fear or a combination of the two.

It is in those times of fear, and self doubt you need to have a bit of introspection.  Look into yourself and the situation, and ask have I trained for this, what is the risk I’m taking is it real or is it perceived, have I done something similar.  If you know you have trained for this moment, that you have done the work ahead of time, tell yourself you can do it you’ve done the work, you have the capability to go for it.

Understanding the risk is important but knowing you have the capability and have put in the work to execute is important.  If you know you did the work to prepare, (you know how to place good protection, you know you are strong from training) you have earned the chance to go for it.

 

Bowling Green: Beta and Recap

I got the opportunity this last week to go down to Bowling Green, KY to play in the 40th Annual Amatuer Championships at Bowling Green.  I went down with my friend Tyler Schrock, who placed will in the advanced division taking 19th overall in a field of 173.  It was a great experience for both of us, however we went into the event blind, not knowing what to expect, not know the courses or much about the town.  So I figured I would use this week’s post to talk about the courses the experience and give some advice if you plan to go down for the event in the future or just on a recreational trip.

The Event:

The tournament itself was a great event.  It was well run for the most part, there was a minor issue with no scorecards when we arrived at the third round, but with 838 players spread over 10 courses, small lapses are bound to happen.  the Rounds are spread out well over the 3 days of the tournament, round one was friday at noon giving you plenty of time to get to courses get ready, and still have time for the rest of the evening.  Saturday started early with round two at 8:30am tee off, tyler and I were split between courses so it was a bit of a rush to drop one off and get to the other course.  Round two was followed by a decent break to grab lunch, tyler and I used that time to go back to our hotel shower, warm back up, eat, and get ready to go back out for round three 2:00pm.  Sunday was another early morning with round four starting at 8:30 in the morning. there was a final 9 for the top 8 in our divisions but since neither Tyler or I made final nine and we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us we took off back to ohio.  Overall it is a great event to go down to, I will break down the courses in full detail further on.

Surrounding the tournament itself was a plethora of side events, clinics, challenges and tournaments.  The Disc Golf Pro Tour was there bringing with them the festival of the flying disc, and it’s games, and putting challenges including the putting tower, and putting tic-tac-toe.  Innova disc brought out there Wombat3 challenge, players take 3 Wombat3s and try to score points on a 200 ft shot at a basket, I put 3 shots within 10 feet and won myself a Wombat3.

Festival

There were several doubles tournaments that were set up in the days prior to the tournament.  Tyler and I played in a doubles event at the Technical college course hosted by the Nati Disc Golf Store, and there was also an Eric Oakley clinic there.  We talked to Eric for a while, he seemed like a really cool and nice guy, then played doubles with a few other people we shot pretty well and ended up on third place.

Friday night of the tournament was the Flymart.  If there was any one who sold discs, made discs, or did anything disc golf related they were there with a pop up shop (except mvp).  It was just a zoo of people and discs being traded in a large bazaar format.  We ran into some people who had spent a ton on new discs. Tyler spend $3 on a turbo putt, and I picked up a mini zone just to get some cool signatures for $10,  if you are looking for plastic it’s a great place to go but if you do not like crowds I’d avoid this part.

Saturday night was a player party at Hot Rod Stadium.  By this point in the weekend the weather had kind of turned on us and there was not a huge turn out.  There were some good ctp and putting competitions as side games going on, but overall it seemed spaced out and fairly unorganized, this may have been do to it being late at night and pretty cold.  The tournament is fun and the surrounding events add a lot of fun opportunities to play and to mingle with our tribe.

The Courses :

Phil Moore:

phil

Phil Moore park is for the most part a long bombers course with a few holes in fairly tight woods.  A lot of the course is open field with par threes of 350-400ft and go all the way in length to a 911 ft par 5.  There are a good number of ob lines in the fields that are the post to mark the cross country running courses across the park, for the most part these Ob lines should not come into play, but exposed to the wind discs can find there way to the lines.  I unfortunately played this course in my fourth round while I was tired and it was in constant rain, and wind.  I played my first 9 holes really well until both my towels were completely soaked and I did not have a dry disc the rest of the round.  Be ready to throw drivers on Second and even third throws here.

South Central Kentucky Technical College:

tech

Tech was the most technically demanding course we had to play in the Intermediate division.  The course is largely holes with tight fairways that are about 25-40 ft wide, on either side are 8 ft high dense bushes that you are very likely just going to be pitching out.  It requires tight course management and placement while still trying to get significant distance if you want to score well.  If you can stay out of trouble the par 4’s are pretty soft, a three feels good and a four feels like you did not quite capitalize on the opportunity.  The flow is  little off with a few holes randomly on the other side of the campus that are just big and open but for the most part it is tight in the woods.

Preston Miller:

Miller

Miller was a very short course that was primarily in very tight woods,  The rough was not really as rough as techs rough was and there were plenty of opportunities to scramble if you kicked off a tree (which was very likely to happen).  Most of the holes on the course are under 250 ft long.

Hobson’s Grove:

Hobson

This course was a little more traditional park style course.  A few holes of open park style golf with a few gardian trees and elevation changes.  A few holes that go through the woods with good sized fairways and rough that you could easily scramble out of.  Hole 2 has some length and teeth, and I would recommend walking the hole prior to playing it.

Those were the intermediate courses, I did not play any of the others to give a full right up.

Town:

Just wanted to give a shout out to a few of the local places of the town that Tyler and I ended up.  First the A-Frame was a great local dive bar,  no food there but this was recommended to us by a few local players we ran into after playing doubles on Thursday.  The place has a great atmosphere the bartender was a great guy gave us good food recommendations, and they had a great selection of beers.

At the A-Frame we got advice from the bartender for food to go to Gino’s Italian Deli.  They had some amazing food, and they had good vegetarian options for Tyler.  We got stuff to go which was really nice, and its location was great being right across the main road from the Holiday Inn, and Convention Center that served as tournament central.

Media:

Check out Tyler’s videos for his perspective on our trip:

Recap:

It’s a great tournament with a great players pack, its well run I met a ton of great people.  I highly recommend finding some of the local places for food it seems like a lot of people funnel into the chains.  We look forward to going back in 2018

An Adventurous Life

The other week I was traveling with some friends and they were using the word adventure a lot: “We need to go adventuring again sometime”, “My adventuring partner” it goes on so I will spare you the details.  So it got me thinking were the activities they were doing actually an adventure, and what constitutes something to be an adventure.  I don’t know about you but for me when I hear the word adventure things that come to mind are movies like, Indiana Jones, and the Eiger Sanction, and I know my real experience  do not come close to those movies.  Real life experience and the movies are completely different so while I will never throw nazi’s off of a zeppelin I would still like to live a more adventurous life.

So to start looking into how to live an adventurous life I asked around to some friends on what they thought adventure was.  There were a number of reoccurring themes that came out in the answers people gave: perceived risk, uncertain outcome, something that take you out of your comfort zone, and something out of the ordinary.  However I was unsatisfied with these answers and this view of adventure, giving a speech to a large crowd for some has an uncertain outcome, perceived risks by people and takes them out of their comfort zone, but I would not call that an adventure.  I take nothing away from what people think but for what I want out of an adventure and a life of adventure I want something a bit more.

Taking parts of what people gave me as their thoughts, and mixing in my own desire for adventure I’ve developed five elements I think make something an Adventure, an Inspired Objective, Risk, Requires you to be better than you are at the start, and Unpredictability.

Adventures start with a grand objective, or purpose, Indiana Jones has to find the Arc, Frodo has to destroy the ring, the adventure has a purpose, or goal.  A movie about someone traveling about aimlessly may be an interesting character piece but I do not think most of us would clarify it as an adventure.  An objective drives us forward to push through the hard times that will come, to test are limits, and overcome and persevere.  It cannot be any objective though.  My friend as part of his idea of adventure is he has to be inspired to action for him to start moving towards his goal.

The objective must be inspired by a deep internal desire.  We all have those large dreams we want to pursue, that we know will take a massive commitment.   Those thoughts that get you excited just thinking about them, those are the beginning of a true adventure. They draw you in and act as an inciting incident to action, to start a true adventure.

Not all inspired Objective will make for a great adventure, there must be some risk involved.  A lot of responses to what makes an adventure included perceived risk, but I think there has to be some element of real risk.  Real risk is required for an adventure.  When there is risk we are far more committed, focused, and thus fully invested in the experience.  Risk can be physical but it could also be financial, personal, social,  something needs to be on the line, in a true adventure.  You will have to leave the safe and comfortable life behind if you want to live an adventurous life.

An adventure is also going to require you to be better than you are at the outset.  An adventure will push you past your limits.  What got you here will not get you there.  An adventure will require you to learn new skills push yourself, work harder, ultimately get better, and grow as an individual.

Even with all of that you may still not have a great adventure.  There must be uncertainty, and unpredictability in an adventure.  If all of your plans go perfectly it is not an adventure.  Its those times where things go wrong, you have to adapt, make the tough decisions, and push through that you enter into the realm of adventure.  Its those moments that will require more of you to push through the risk, towards that objective.

Now will all of this being said I’ve done a lot of trips, but I think most of them are not adventures.  What I do know is that if you want to have more adventures, you need to look for those inspired objects that may be a bit too big for you to accomplish, that might be a risk, and find ways to step into that unpredictable world and make things happen.