The first time I ever played disc golf was the result of a friend of mine bugging me about it for a good month solid. He kept telling me about this thing where you take Frisbees that aren’t actually Frisbees and throwing them around in the woods.
I proceeded to tell him that it sounded incredibly dumb and there was no way I’d ever try that. I mean come on, throwing things out in the woods that don’t do what you think they are going to do? How am I supposed to get around all the trees? What is the point even? Not to mention isn’t that a kids game? I was 20 years old, for crying out loud.
He proceeded to keep bugging me about it every time I saw him, which was quite often. We would throw what I now know as putters in his front yard, just playing typical catch when eventually he would bring up that we should go to the local course. Of course I told him no every time. There was no way I was going to play that dumb game.
Finally, I figured that if I went once, THEN told him it was dumb, he would shut up about it and I wouldn’t hear about it anymore. So I said OK, he got his bag of discs and proceeded to confuse the mess out of me by telling me what all these different discs are supposed to do and how far they could go.
I understood maybe ten percent of what he told me, and even that was a stretch. But we went out to the course and went to the first tee pad. I saw nothing but a straight uphill climb and a bunch of trees in the way. It is also worth mentioning that I didn’t have my glasses because I had broken them earlier that week. I wasn’t blind by any stretch, but seeing distances was a challenge, and everything was kind of fuzzy.
Anyways, he told me I needed to throw it up the hill and curve to the left, all in all about a 250 foot shot that played about 300 due to the uphill nature. He handed me a distance driving disc called “Destroyer” and told me to throw it straight.
I proceeded to hit the very first tree that was about ten feet in front of me, great right? I finally make it to the top of the hill and see this weird looking basket with chains around it. He tells me I have to get it in the basket to go to the next hole. Finally, after about 6 throws, I make it in the basket, and we move onto the next hole.
I’m pretty sure you can already guess that I was so awful at this game I was playing that it was downright frustrating. I come from an athletic background, so I thought for sure this would be a piece of cake. No sir, I wasn’t keeping score that round, nor was I playing by official rules, but if I look back I would take a guess that I shot about 50 over par that round on a not so difficult course.
By all rights, I should’ve thrown the disc down, said how dumb this was, and walked away never to return. But no, that’s just not who I am. I was so mad that this little round piece of plastic just kicked my butt that I proceeded to go to that same course, with that one disc my buddy lent me day after day for about a month.
I was wandering around the course with no clue what I was doing, improper form, no clue where the next hole was, and not keeping score. But I got better, I learned how the disc flew, I learned how to putt with a driver. I also learned from other people I met on the course that this was one of the worst discs for a new player to have because all it wanted to do was go left. But what did I care right? I was getting better either way.
So now we will jump ahead a couple years in a second, but I’ll briefly touch on them. During those years I struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism to a level that was so extreme I’m really lucky I’m able to still compose a complete thought. During those times I still played disc golf, it became my release from life.
When I didn’t want to think about the fight me and my girlfriend were having and needed time to cool down? I played disc golf. When I was going to be evicted because I was a terrible tenant and they discovered a bunch of drugs in my place? I played disc golf. When I was so depressed that taking my own life seemed like a viable option? I played disc golf. I’m sure you see the pattern. It was more than some dumb game to me by that point. It became my escape.
Now one day I realized how much of a mess my life was in. I realized that even though I was making quite a bit of money for a person my age that it was all being blown away on pointless things. So I made a decision to move across the country.
I moved back down and stayed with family with the intent of cleaning up my life, getting off drugs, and actually becoming an adult. So what was the first thing I did when I moved down here? I found a local course to go play at. So I played and I played and I played as much as possible, I went through stints where all I wanted was to get high again, any type of high. When those urges would come on, I would play disc golf.
Disc golf has become something to me that no other sport has in my life. It has become a constant source of motivation in life; it became a reason to socialize, when in the past I would only socialize because I was getting high with those people.
Disc golf has introduced me to an amazing community of people that only want to help each other on and off the course. I was so worried when I moved that I wouldn’t be able to meet people to hang out with because I no longer did drugs.
Disc golf was my answer to that; one by one I met some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life. I’ve spent time with touring pros, played courses that most people only dream of playing, met people I never thought I’d have a chance to meet because of this “dumb game” as I called it only a few short years ago.
This sport is the healthiest obsession I’ve ever had in my life. It helped me go from a serious drug addict that spent a full two years with never being sober for a full 24 hours, to a person that can be around any substance and not bat an eye. I’m not saying that it is only because of disc golf, but that it became my answer to my own personal dilemmas in life.
So in closing, try that sport you never tried before; travel to places you’ve never been; go explore new things in life. Because you never know when you might try something that could change your life forever.