Last September (Saturday, the 20th) I hit my first ace at the Junkyard Shootout. I threw two solo cubby aces there before (with the same old chewing-gum textured putter), so it was good to make a REAL ace in front of witnesses. Josh, Tim and Ash signed it with a colored sharpie. You can’t hardly see the signatures anymore ’cause I take it out and throw with it regularly.
Last night, I hit a new ace. In the dark on hole 3. I’m still kinda trippin’ about it. As with the rest of the first seven shots at Valmont, 3 is a short, “easy” hole to hit. I’ve seen Chicken and Pete, as well as a few others hit it on their first toss. I don’t remember all of them as well as I should.
Long’s Peak Disc Golf Club came out to Boulder for the final installment of their winter glow league. There was considerable anticipation, as the ace pool stood at about $230 before the round got started. I always try to get in a round when visitors come to my home course. If I can’t make it, I at least want to put our best foot forward, and clean up a little. Not knowing if I was gonna make the 6:30 deadline, I went out in the afternoon to make sure the pads were clear of the heavy snow.
There wasn’t much for me to shovel, as S & B had already kicked most of the ice off the day before. While I surveyed the situation, I came across a loose disc. I called the number, and made my way back to the parking lot when, lo-and-behold, there were S&B coming up to hole 9! I stopped over to say hi, dropped the disc, and went along my merry way, oblivious as ever.
When I realized that I set the disc down, I backtracked for about a half an hour, following my steps through the snow to no avail. It was an inauspicious beginning.
After attending to parental duty, I was able to make it back to Valmont with about 20 minutes to go. I don’t know WHY it is so freakin’ hard for me to be prepared for the weather, I’ve only lived here forever! I had on a light top suitable for a cool spring afternoon, short socks, and no long-johns. No gloves, no hand-warmers. I only packed three discs. You don’t need more than that at Valmont, but it is fun to have a complete lineup ready, just for kicks.
I bogeyed hole one. We heard the telltale roar of the crowd from a solid ace on the course in front of us and I just about died inside. I proceeded to take a phone call during my putt at hole 2 and earned a DOUBLE BOGEY. The rest of my card moved on to tee 3. I slid back down the eroding slope, walked up the staircase, and back down the path to join them. I quietly acknowledged my disastrous 5 to the scorekeeper. “This is gonna be a long night,” I chided myself.
I stepped up, wanting to get the night done with. My fingers were slow and old-feeling as I struggled to get my grip right. Strangely, as I was winding up, I knew it was gonna be good. I held my pose after the disc tore away from my hand. I wanted to remember everything, to feel my feet, to feel the strength I put into it, the release angle. As I settled back into my body, I relaxed my stance. “Oh, man, Rich, that’s good,” I heard one of our cardmates call out. When it hit, the chains rang out. It wasn’t one of those lucky, half-hearted, out-of-gas flop aces. It didn’t skip off anything. It just went in, squarely and strongly, jangling and ringing across the park. I was kinda reserved, because we didn’t see the dimly lit disc. Everyone was excited, though, because we knew it was a good shot, even if it bounced out somehow.
I admit, I try to keep a lid on my feelings when I’m throwing. Getting too happy or too discouraged on a particular can adversely affect the rest of my round. I calmly walked up to the basket, getting more and more pumped as I got closer. And then, there it was, dim green light in the basket, all by itself, right where it belonged. I let out a couple of yawps to let everyone know that I made it, and proceeded to throw 4s for the rest of the night! I may have finished with a plus 5 or 6, but I left for home feeling uppity and satisfied with my game for the first time all season!