Tag Archives: Marcus

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.

Disc Golf and Little G

My younger son keeps his eyes on the prize.

My younger son keeps his eyes on the putting prize.

Our annual Southwest Handicap Mini disc golf series began once again Tuesday evening under wonderful mild conditions.

Our fearless leader, Eric

Our fearless leader, Eric

Almost 30 players descended on Community Park in Missouri City to throw plastic at metal baskets.

Marcus’ putt sails towards the basket.

Marcus’ putt begins its journey.

It was nice seeing familiar faces after the several-month layoff. All seemed right with the world once again.

The kid is joined by Glen IV and Glen V.

The kid is joined by Glen IV and Glen V.

But the highlight for me? A little Glen appearance!

Glive now is two years old!

Glive now is two years old!

Can I ever get enough of this cute toddler? No way! His little smile captures my heart.

The golden sunset

Golden gloaming

Just like a gorgeous, glowing sunset!

Not Ready for Prime Time Players

My younger son shows off his mad skills for Bobby and the camera.

We’re pretty much down-to-earth people in our household. We don’t seek out the spotlight. Some might even call us humdrum, even if they’ve never heard us hum or drum (which is a shame, because we’re all pretty good at both of them).

Marcus’ pretty putt is captured digitally.

But when our pal Marcus told the Mister and the kid that they could help him hype their favorite sport of disc golf on TV, they started singing a different tune. One called “Celebrity.”

Bobby gets up close with the disc and basket.

We took the limo Honda Odyssey to Missouri City’s Community Park disc golf course, ready, willing, and able to help. I came along to document the event, using two Nikon lenses with my Nikon D700: My 24-70mm for wide-angle shots and my 105 for close-ups. This photo scout was well-prepared for a change!

Steve sails a putter towards the basket.

As the guys played and I snapped away on a beautiful Saturday, Bobby, the big-shot TV producer, videoed the action. It was a fun nine-hole round filled with the usual friendship, teasing, and awesome play by Marcus.

Marcus sinks a putt.

Bobby made a great decision in using Marcus and Eric to explain how disc golf works and to describe the play during the round. The former is a witty, brainy Rice University grad who can make the complicated seem easy, and the easy seem complicated.

Bobby films one of Eric’s short putts.

Eric, another funny and smart guy, brings an engineering bent to his conversational approach. He also might have a future in disc golf play-by-play commentary . . . assuming he likes not making any money. I’ll bet Bobby had fun editing the video.

The Mister shows off his style.

Speaking of which, we all can’t wait to watch the Disc Golfers Gone Wild in Mo City (or whatever it’ll be called) on TV. Should you be looking for it on ESPN (or ESPN–DG)?

Actually, online public access in the form of Missouri City TV is its final destination. But major channel or YouTube, it’ll be fun to watch local disc golf.

I’m just glad that my guys were there to help drum up support!

Spotting Discs and Nature

Imperial Park’s weeds provide an obstacle for Eric.

Our Southwest Handicap Mini disc golf series rotates among several courses from mid-March to late September. After we’ve had lots of rain during the summer, one of those venues—Imperial Park—is so overgrown on three straight holes that spotters are as essential as accurate putting.

So last Tuesday I spent most of the 18-hole round standing in a clear area past the high weeds, potential poison ivy, and especially the hornets’ nest that Marcus’ disc found, watching round plastic sail near me on hole number 7. When one landed in the crud, I would race over and spot where it was for the disc golfer who probably had no idea where in the world it had gone. But, being extremely sensitive to poison ivy, I did not under any circumstances go into the weeds to find the exact location. Not even for my beloved bearded baby boy.

A lost disc is preferable to a miserable month of itching and swelling. Just sayin’.

A shy sunflower peeks out.

In between sighting discs, I had time to also spot some of the beautiful inhabitants of our local park.

Passion flowers are a favorite.

Wildflowers, of course, caught my eye and my Nikon 105mm macro lens.

Love the pretty purple.

Although they weren’t plentiful, the pretty petals lent nice spots of color to the overwhelmingly green landscape.

Purple weedy stuff

Even the weeds were vibrant.

But my favorite find of the evening was a friend who kept me company for the longest time as I scoured the sky for flying discs:

Poser!

A pennant dragonfly! This little guy kept flying around and landing on a small patch of dirt near where I was standing. It seemed like he was trying to get my attention.

I’d say he definitely wanted to be spotted!

Shooting Blind

The blinds provide a barrier to clear photography.

When my #2 son returned home the other day with his friends Chris and Marcus and told me that the three of them were going to play basketball in the driveway, I tried to stay cool, calm, and collected. I told him to have fun and waited until he closed the front door.

Then I grabbed my Nikon D700 and started to scheme: How could I get great action shots of the boys without them knowing I was shooting?

Marcus drives against Chris.

I figured #2 would be mortified if I came outside and snapped away. For some reason, he thinks that’s embarrassing. What’s up with that? Doesn’t every kid want a personal photographer?

The #2 son and Marcus talk at a party.

Apparently not!  So I decided to try my luck from inside, shooting through the open blinds in the kitchen. I didn’t dare raise them, because the window I was using is close to the driveway and the basketball goal. I didn’t want to be detected. This was furtive photography at its best.

My #2 son waits for an opportunity against Marcus.

At first I used my Nikon 50mm lens, but that proved to be too limiting. Once I twisted on the Nikon 35-70mm instead, my flexibility increased, as did my keeper rate.

Marcus shoots over Chris.

It was fun having a great vantage point to watch the action and interaction among the three sophomores.

My #2 son tries a layup over Marcus.

How is basketball played with three boys? Easy . . . #2 teamed with Chris against Marcus. It seemed fair, because Marcus plays on our high school’s basketball team.

Chris attempts to stop Marcus' shot.

Looked to me like Marcus was schooling his friends.

I had a blast with my stealth shooting. I felt so clever, putting one over on my #2 son.

"Is that you, Mom?

Or maybe not!