Lately I've become enamored with the sport of disc golf—both playing in the Tampa Bay Area and following the professional tour on YouTube. There's something deeply satisfying about launching a disc hundreds of feet and watching it soar across the natural landscape.
Disc golf is certainly similar to more traditional "ball golf", but it also stands out as a unique addition to the athletic compendium of the world. One way that disc golf is different from ball golf is that there is much less manicuring required to maintain a disc golf course. Whereas a ball golf course requires the fairway to be totally clear of trees or obstacles, a disc golf course can actually incorporate trees, bushes, bodies of water, man-made structures, and other elements into the fairway of a hole. This integration of diverse elements creates a challenging playing field, as well as a scenic route from the tee pad to the the target basket. Also, there is no special grass required for the fairways or greens. The ground can be composed of grass, clay, sand, dirt, shell, and so forth.
The final destination of a disc is to land in a target basket, i.e. the hole. Baskets are made of a metal pole and framework that support the web of chains needed to absorb the incoming flight of a disc. When the disc hits the chains and the central pole, there is a signature "bing" sound that resonates loudly as an unmistakable confirmation of success. Like the crack of a bat in baseball, or the swoosh of a net in basketball, disc golf has delightful traits that define its personality.
The discs themselves come in a wide array of shapes, depending on function and purpose. For instance, a putting disc, designed for short range and a straight trajectory, is quite different than a driver, designed for more curvature along the flight path and significantly longer distance. A mid-range is somewhere in between those two. Then there are variations in flight stability, with some discs pulling more to the right, and others more to the left. The four common characteristics of a disc are: speed, glide, turn, and fade. Clearly, the sport utilizes the science of physics to optimize performance of its athletes and to push the limits of possibility.
This past weekend, Nate Sexton won the United States Disc Golf Championship in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I was rooting for him the whole way. He is one of my favorite players, and he provides commentary on many of the YouTube videos that capture the pro tour. His sense of humor and positive attitude are uplifting. When he made the final putt on the 18th hole, he was flooded with hugs and cheers from other top players from around the world who had been competing with him in the tournament. It was obvious by their smiles and sincerity that despite not winning themselves, they nevertheless found great joy in watching him claim the title. A stellar athlete like Nate Sexton can transcend competition and generate lots of camaraderie, friendship, and community in his respective field, and beyond.
I've always needed role models and heroes to emulate. To progress in my own self-actualization, I look to others who have achieved mastery. If they can do it, I can do it.
We can do it.
Be still, and flow.