Tag Archives: Amateur Disc Golf World Championships

Am Worlds Ups and Downs and Ups

The trip starts: Marcus, Eric, the Mister, the kid, and Steve

The trip starts at our house: Marcus, Eric, the Mister, the kid, and Steve

Oh, how I had hoped that I would have a wonderful report to post about my younger son’s fifth Amateur Disc Golf World Championships experience!

Good thing the Mister drives a minivan!

Good thing the Mister drives a minivan!

When the Mister, who was my ace iPhone 5 photographer for the venture (and did his best job ever, I’m pleased to report), the kid, and our three buddies (Eric, Marcus, and Steve) left our driveway on Friday, July 5, I was cautiously optimistic that the kid would enjoy a great adventure.

The kid threw 489 feet and tied for third in the long-distance event.

The kid threw 489 feet and tied for third in his division in the long-distance field event. (Photo by the PDGA)

Cautious, because his right shoulder had been bothering him for several weeks, but only when he played disc golf. So we tried a chiropractic solution, which left him feeling better and ready to go.

The guys first stopped in Dallas to play a couple courses and stayed overnight in Oklahoma. The next day they arrived in Emporia, Kansas, site of the tournament. As they were practicing on courses and competing in the field events, my son continued to complain about his shoulder. I was able to find a masseuse, who gently worked on him on July 8, the day before play began.

A highlight of the trip was getting to see our dear, former neighbors.

A highlight of the trip was getting to see our dear, former neighbors.

The next day it was time to test his shoulder. He played a splendid opening round, winning his card. But he texted me that his arm felt tight. Sure enough, during his second round that afternoon, he was in pain. So much so, that he pulled out after eight holes, fearing that he might damage his shoulder.

And that, my friends, was the abrupt end of his Am Worlds journey. I felt so much sadness for my precious baby boy, who has been through so much the last couple years. And, of course, it made it that much worse that I wasn’t with him to comfort him.

The kid carries Eric's big bag.

My bushy-bearded boy carries Eric’s big bag.

Unfortunately, my guys couldn’t just head for home, because they were responsible for the players who drove with them. But misfortune turned into a lucky break for Eric. The kid decided to caddy for his co-adult bestie (along with Glen), whose game he knows so well. He was literally able to take a load off Eric’s back, as well as try to keep him loose and give him sage advice.

Naturally, they made a great pair (after all, they won the 2011 Amateur Worlds Doubles Championship). Eric turned in a stellar performance in the masters division (ages 40-49), having the kid on his bag for a couple rounds. He finished in fourth place after the six rounds of regulation play, easily qualifying for the semifinals.

The kid and Eric are ready for the finals.

The kid and Eric are ready for the finals.

Then Eric moved up a place after the semis last Saturday and headed to his first Am Worlds finals a few hours later. He managed to put so much pressure on the leader, Keith Walker, during the nine holes that Walker had to can an amazing, long, birdie putt to beat Eric. The fearless leader of our Southwest Handicap Mini series did, though, win the card while placing second. Not too shabby!

All in all, it was a good week for the other guys, as Marcus tied for eighth place in the grandmasters division, while Steve tied for tenth in masters. As for my son, I’m sure there was some kind of lesson to be learned from his disappointing experience, if only that he can turn those lemons into helpful lemonade.

My two guys! (Photo by JJ)

My two guys! (Photo by JJ)

Plus he got to spend a week with his buds and his Pops in beautiful Emporia. Hey, it was better than working in the hot warehouse!

Sidebar: Except where noted and the first two photos by yours truly, the other pics are by the Mister.

Photo-less Back Home

See the photo above? Yeah, me neither.

You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson from last year’s Amateur Disc Golf World Championships.

But nooooooo. I didn’t. Once again I entrusted the man who stole my heart 24 years ago. My parenting partner of 20 years. The person who knows me best in life to make me feel like I was with him and our younger son at this week’s Am Worlds in Charlotte, North Carolina, while I stayed home with our older son.

Sidebar: Good thing I did, because the 16-year-old furnace died and is being replaced as I type. Can’t wait for the air conditioning to work again!

After four days of begging for any shred of photographic evidence that my other child still existed, here’s the Android phone pic the Mister finally texted me:

Sigh!

Yes, it’s a dryer. The Mister was doing laundry while the kid played.

Did I need to be more specific? And isn’t this just typically male?

That’s more like it!

Later that day the Mister texted a second photo. Finally, I could see my scruffy-bearded baby boy!! All was right in my world again.

It doesn’t take much to make me smile.

Discin’ It Up at Am Worlds

My #2 son tees off during the tournament.

The primary reason we were in Marion, Ohio, last week on our non-vacation was for my 15-year-old #2 son to compete in his second Amateur Disc Golf World Championships. #2 was anxious to see if he could build on the lessons learned from last year’s tournament in Kansas City (where he finished 14th out of 25 boys in the 16 and under age group)—specifically, his goal was to advance at least to the semifinals after the six rounds of 18 holes each.

#2 drops in an easy birdie putt.

#2 was right on track after the first three rounds, sitting in a comfortable tie for seventh place out of 20 boys. Then I showed up. The Mister and #2 had flown to Marion early, while my #1 son and I came in time to watch #2’s final three rounds (not that big bro watched any of the disc golf action).

The first hole #2 faced for round number four. See the basket through the trees?

The venue for round number four was Alum Creek State Park. Almost every hole was surrounded by lots and lots of trees. Our disc golf courses in Houston are wide open, almost the opposite of those #2 played on in Ohio. So he was ill-prepared for the conditions. And that meant he hit a lot of trees. Hitting trees usually isn’t a good way to keep your score low in disc golf.

Ian's drive needs to clear the lake.

Speaking of being ill-prepared, so was I photographically! I had no idea how dark the woods would be (didn’t even know there would be woods!) or how bright the non-woods conditions would be in contrast, which meant I was constantly fiddling with the settings on my Nikon D300 that I paired with my trusty Nikon 105mm macro lens.

Oops! Somehow this post is now about me and my photo problems. Mea culpa! Back to the disc golf action!

Colten tees off.

Long story short, my beloved #2 son did so poorly that he dropped back to tenth place and rode back to the motel with his face buried in a towel the entire way. Which made me cry, because he thinks I jinx him when I watch him play. My heart was breaking as I looked at him in the back seat of the rental car, towel not moving from his face.

Being a parent is not always easy!

Nate F. putts.

Once #2 looked at the results online and saw that some other boys struggled, too, he felt a little better. But not much!

It's an easy putt for Nate S.

The next morning we moved on to round number five in the oddly named Delaware State Park (not that we were even in the state of Delaware). Once again, state park = more trees than you can possibly count. And all those trees, sadly, once again meant that my little guy struggled. In fact, by hole nine he was telling us that he was quitting the sport totally and wouldn’t play his final round that afternoon.

John flies his disc towards the basket.

The Mister and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes. . . we’ve been there before with him. This kid has retired from sports more often than Brett Favre!

Our good friend Eric comes to the rescue!

Fortunately, when #2 was at his lowest point, our disc golf-playing pal from the Houston area, Eric (who was competing in the advanced division), showed up and walked the last few holes with him. That seemed to steady #2’s emotions. He still finished with what was a poor score for him, keeping him in the tenth spot, but he had rallied from the shortest retirement known to mankind. Soon he was making plans for next year’s Am Worlds in Rochester, New York!

With a better, uplifted attitude, #2 showed what he could do in his last round at Aumiller Park in Bucyrus. Even though there was, as usual, a plethora of trees, #2 made much-better shots and stayed out of trouble. He was rewarded with his best round of the tournament. No, it wasn’t good enough to move him up a couple spots to the semis, but it was a great way to end his Am Worlds competition. Plus he finished better (10 out of 20) than a year ago.

And I felt so relieved, because I walked every step of the way with him . . . and apparently broke loose of my jinx designation! Hooray!

Truly the “worlds”

Felix sinks a putt.

What’s neat about Am Worlds is that players come from all over to compete. My #2 son played with Seppo, who hails from Finland, and Felix, who calls Normandy, France, home. Nate S. flew in from California, Colten from Colorado, and Stephen from Georgia, while Nate F. made the short drive with his dad from Dayton, Ohio. And now #2 is Facebook friends with some of them!

Andrew's putt heads for the basket.

The competition in the boys’ 16 and under division came down to Seppo vs. North Carolina native Andrew, who had won the 13 and under division last year. After six tourney rounds, the 18-hole semifinal, and the nine-hole final, both boys were tied for first at 37 strokes under par. What an epic battle they waged!

Seppo shows off his cool putting style.

But on the first sudden-death playoff hole, the Finn got the best of Andrew, winning the coveted title by a stroke. My #2 son watched and wondered what could have been for himself if he hadn’t experienced so much “tree love” in his early rounds.

There’s always next year in Rochester!

Our Family Takes Another Non-Vacation

The Warren G. Harding Memorial in Marion, Ohio

When is a vacation not a vacation? If there’s little in the way of sightseeing or relaxation, then what you’re really on is merely a trip. Now trips can be journeys and fun in their own way, as the Mister, our #2 son, and I found out last year when #2 competed in the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships in Kansas City. But for us, they sure ain’t vacations!

Information about the Harding Memorial is contained on this cement structure.

That point once again was driven home last week when my #2 son played in yet another Am Worlds, this time in Marion, Ohio. What was there to do in this little town 50 miles north of Columbus? Play disc golf (#2 son), watch disc golf (the Mister and I), and enjoy the hotel room (our #1 son; we’ll look into why he came along later this week).

Warren G. Harding and his wife Florence

Other than that, we had the Warren G. Harding Memorial to visit for, oh, five solid minutes.

Inside the memorial are the final resting places of the Hardings.

Harding ran the local Marion newspaper before moving on to become an Ohio senator and lieutenant governor. He was elected as our 29th president in 1921 only to die of a heart attack in 1923. His wife, Florence, passed away the following year. The rumor was that she poisoned Warren G., because he was a womanizer who had fathered at least one child out of wedlock. Sounds like things haven’t changed much with some of our politicians, unfortunately.

A close-up of where the Hardings are buried.

Even though this looks peaceful, I wonder what it’s like to spend eternity next to the woman who might have killed you!

My #1 son is, of course, less than enthused.

For my #1 son, the Harding Memorial was, of course, Lame-o City. Even though many historians consider it to be the most beautiful of the presidential tombs, the building was all yawns and “can we go now” for the college kid.

My #2 son, though, enjoys the Harding Memorial experience.

But not his younger brother! #2 had fun during our short visit for one reason:

My apparently headless #2 son tries to move cement.

He wanted to see if, like in the “National Treasure” movie, the information kiosk could be turned and taken out to reveal something exciting hidden beneath.

Big bro doesn't want to help little bro.

Alas and alack, none of us would help him turn the heavy structure, leaving him to ponder the what-ifs.

And it left me to wonder what if this was to be the highlight of our trip?!? Only time would tell.