Predictably, the course remains wide open in the morning. You’ll see the occasional casual thrower out for a quickie before work. For the most part, though, it’s all yours. The wildlife is still: toads are silent, ants hide deep within their tunnels. A few flowers open up before the heat of the day forces them to retract and save moisture.
Since the disc golf course was installed about three years ago, the lilacs remained vegetative. The domestic plants on the back side of the hill have gone untended for years. After a month of good rain, things have begun to change. These flowers have an almost burgundy hue, unlike the white and pale purple you see around town. I admit it: I poached a few of the tighter clusters to brighten up the dungeon.
I drove up just before sunset last night. I’ve heard rumors about what a zoo it is out there in the early evening. Let me tell you, it is super freakin’ crowded. There were SEVENTEEN cats backed up on hole 8 at one point! Almost all of the holes were full. I skipped around the crowds, playing open holes and avoiding the silliness as much as possible.
I finally connected with Wild Pete, who looks more like Calvin on school picture day, now. We finished the back 10 holes with a pair of his buddies as the crowds thinned out.
Considering how much use the park gets, it blows my mind that they’re even considering turning the hill into kiddie adventure land.
I always feel bad for everyone involved in an awkward “Disc Golf Date”. You see them often enough: a guy marching along the course, playing in a rushed and distracted manner. A woman walking behind, maybe with a dog in tow, maybe pounding out text messages the whole while.
I feel bad for the guy, because his need to throw overwhelms everything else, including his need to spend time with his girlfriend.He is powerless to do anything but trudge out to the park, partner in tow. And yet, he never plays well because his attention is divided: the woman he’s accompanying, and the throws he’s attempting.
I feel bad for the woman, as she is so often secondary to the game. She strives to demonstrate her support for her man, and his passion for the sport. Perhaps she is self conscious, and will not throw a disc herself, preferring to tag along, feigning interest in the activity all the while. Occasionally, she will throw a disc or two, listening to the endless drone of advice and commentary provided by her partner.
You can see it in their body language: He never stops talking and frequently looks back over his shoulder during his run-up, his upshot, his multiple putts. She unenthusiastically drags her feet while they “search” for that disc hiding in the tall grass.
Sometimes, hitting an ace is like stepping on a rattlesnake who bends back to bite your foot.
It’s been a long sloppy season. Even though I haven’t missed a Saturday, my game has stalled. I haven’t posted any negative scores at Shootout rounds, I can’t do anything but earn higher tags. For every good throw, I’ve got a couple going OB, or dribbling into water hazards. Straight-on putts fly over number plates, or drop just outside the cage.
I faced a casual round at Valmont yesterday with this recent history looming over my head. I threw two putters from each position, like I was “Cally” on a doubles round. This time there was no cold, no snow, no mud, no recent putting videos that I could blame for my goofy throws. A four on 8. A four on 9. Long-arse putts on 10 left me with three bogeys in a row.
I stepped up to hole eleven. First throw, feeling all four fingers on the rim. A mild headwind lifted it up. The disc glided right, and held the slight anhyzer. A good snap kept the disc locked on this trajectory, and POW! The chains rang out. A couple spectators turned in their tracks to look, saw the disc in the basket, tracked backwards to the tee, only to see me standing there, mute, with my hands up in disbelief.