My addiction to disc golf was once again validated when I drove to Brooksville, Florida today to watch the final round of the Throw Down The Mountain tournament.
Now, in case you didn't know, there are no mountains in Florida. In fact, the highest point in all of Florida is a measly 345 feet above sea level. If you compare that to our neighboring state of Georgia—with its highest point being 4,784 feet—you can then start to comprehend the substantial difference between our respective terrains and elevations. Georgia has mountains; Florida has a few hills. We're pretty flat. We kind of melt into the Gulf of Mexico on the west side, and dissolve into the Atlantic Ocean on the east side, and there are no staggering cliffs or jagged peaks on either side to interfere with this merging of our soft shoreline with the warm, welcoming saltwater.
Brooksville happens to be one of the few places in Florida that contain a treasure trove of rolling hills, so it's a nice Floridian anomaly. Therefore, as a tournament name, Throw Down The Mountain is a bit of an exaggeration, but not a complete misnomer.
The whole reason that I've devoted 2-and-a-half paragraphs to emphasizing Florida's flatness is because I want to dramatize the sensation I felt when I saw the one, the only, 4-time world champion Mr. Paul McBeth launch a disc off a cliff—50 feet above the fairway from where I was watching down below. Remember, since I am Floridian (born and raised), even a 50-foot cliff will catch my eye, especially when a round piece of plastic is torpedoed off that precipice at a speed of about 75 miles an hour—making a terrific buzzing noise as it soars nearly 600 feet in horizontal distance and cuts through the air like some kind of ultra-versatile, miniature UFO.
And what's even cooler was that I got to share my bewilderment and awestruck appreciation with fellow onlookers. In particular, I began to talk to a father and his eager son. They, too, couldn't behold the spectacle without their jaws dropping at least a smidgen. Once we walked down the grassy fairway to the target basket, I gazed backwards towards the original blast-off point, which seemed miles away, and so far beyond my capability of disc-throwing.
The father discerned my residual amazement and said: "You still can't get over Paul's drive, can you?"
"No," I admitted. "I'm looking back there, and I would barely be able to cover half the distance."
"Yep, it's pretty incredible," he empathized.
Needless to say, McBeast won the tournament, as he's done so many times before. Like a true champion, not only of the sport but of the fans, he stuck around to sign discs and take pictures, even after the sun had set and the darkness was upon us. I got a buddy to snap a picture of me standing next to him.
Precious memories, tenderly held onto.
McBeast is a specimen of what we would call stillness in action in AYP. His physical fluidity and poise are a reflection of his sublime mental state, which in turn is a reflection of the quality of his shining soul.
Sorry to get all spiritual with this hippie, grassroots sport, but I can't help it. I've read too much Walt Whitman.
Thank you for reading. Be still, and flow.