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.

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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?

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

Mindful Consumerism

In the past few days new has come out that one of my favorite retailers of outdoor gear, Moosejaw was purchased by Walmart.  Diving into social media frenzy I have seen a lot of people reacting against the decision stating they would no longer be purchasing from them, upset they lost small local retailer to a big national corporate empire, that promotes consumerism.  While we hate the term consumer and consumerism, to some extent no matter what your pursuits are you will need to buy gear, so I found this would be a time to write about how we buy.

At some point we are going to buy new stuff, ropes wear out, shoes blow out, and disc sink to the bottom of the lake.  So when we need new equipment we have to choose where to get it from, and where we spend our money says something about us, and what we stand for.

Service:

One thing we look for is great service.  One of the reasons Moosejaw was so well loved and support was the service level they provided was great, and they did it with a sense of fun.  They gave out free shirts, and fun little extras, what other company give you a gold medal with your purchase.  It was this fun they instilled and working with you to delight you that made moosejaw great

Similarly a few weeks ago, I had another great service experience.  I was looking to get a bouldering pad and some new climbing shoes, so I went to my climbing gym.  The owner was who boulders a lot so I asked him for his preferences, the things you want to consider when buying a pad, such size durability, ease of packing.  That personal experience and expertise was great in advising me on what I should be looking for to help make an informed purchase.

Selection:

Online shopping has opened up an incredible selection of products, in my local area has very limited choices for disc selection, and most of it is innova.  Infinitediscs.com is a great because it has almost every disc in every plastic blend and you even get to choose the colors.  The ability to choose and get what you want is something I really like having.

Local:

While internet shopping gave us selection, it has taken a lot flak for its effect on how it has impacted local business.   Local business helps provide jobs and stimulate the economy. Its also nice for when you want that new disc or cam right now.  The problem I run in to is we do not really have a local climbing shop here in Ohio, and often the disc selection is limited.  So I’ve sort of modified this to support the local shops at the places I travel to.  So last year when I needed to replace my number two Camalot I could have ordered it online but I chose instead to pay a tad bit more and bought it at Waterstone Outdoors in the New.

Price:

For some people price is a huge factor when it comes to purchasing.  Especially if you are trying to minimize expenses and maximize experiences.

 

In the end there are lots of factors beyond these to consider when you purchase.  Consider that every dollar you spend is a vote or an expression of what you value, and who you are choosing to support.  Since no matter how we try we are all participants in the system I encourage you to take time to think about what you want your money to stand for, and who you want to support.

Connections : Disc Golf to Climbing

With my first post I figured I would probably be best describing the connections between the two sports at least how I see it and what draws me into both of these.

With my first post I figured I would probably be best describing the connections between the two sports at least how I see it and what draws me into both of these.

Chains:

The first and my obvious connection is of course chains.  Clipping chains on the end of a hard climbing route is such a satisfying experience at the end of the journey.  Similarly the sound of a disc hitting the chains on the basket is such a satisfying sound and way to end a hole.

Community:

It is rare to find two groups with such and open and inviting community.  The very fact that you do that same activity as other people gets you an invite into two incredible communities.  Within such a short time in both sports I have found so many connections and new friends.  These two tribes are full of amazing people with a wealth of knowledge, and are willing to share their experience with you.  Even if there is a significant skills gap they are willing to share the course, or rocks with you and provide advice and encouragement.

Gatherings:

If you are ever looking for a good time both groups can put together a pretty good party.  Climbing festivals are always a blast to go to.  They are a sort of tribal meeting, there is not necessarily a lot of climbing that gets done at these events but you get to meet some great people, eat great food, play some games and experience the general antics of the group.

In disc golf it is a little bit different.  At a disc golf tournaments there is a ton of disc golf played, and definitely is a competitive environment.  However, they have equally good food people and antics going on.  It’s a toss up on who has more booze flowing.

Gear Nuts:

Whether it’s a 172 Lucid Sheriff or a 000 x4 we love to talk about gear, discs, packs, jackets clothes, baskets.  We all have totes full of all of extras, have our favorite disc or piece of gear we carry with us all of the time even if there is no need for it on that particular course or route.  I’ve had 40 minute conversations with complete strangers about different discs, most of which I’d never heard of, and had similar conversation about all of the gear I would need for a particular route and where to use it.

I own about 3 different packs for each sport as well, not only do we have lots of gear we have special gear for carrying that gear.  Big packs, small packs, and in between.

Improvement:

I have not met anyone any either of these environments that does not want to increase their skills and develop themselves further.  Both sports have infinite ceilings.  You can always improve and get better and I love that possibility.

 

Just some initial thoughts for the connection between the two let me know what you think. Thanks.