I've been playing disc golf for nearly 20 years, starting at age 33 when my youngest child was 6 months old. I come from a cross-rooted kansas city frisbee family, but it took many years for it to capture my interest, let alone my heart. My parents divorced early but each remained connected to the flying disc. My dad played disc golf before baskets existed and my mother still plays ultimate, even though she’s about to turn 74! Because it was my parents’ thing, I had very little childhood interest in playing either sport, but I was ‘forced’ to spend time around frisbee people and frisbee events every once in a while, so over the years I became familiar with certain players. To this day, a few of those people represent some of my closest friends!
My soul’s intentions were lining up with disc golf long before I ever threw a golf disc, despite my insanely stubborn nature. After my first experience with a single throw (not good), it would be years before I ever put another golf disc in my hand. The disc’s design and flight pattern felt so foreign after my light blue World Class Lid that I threw with ease, that my embarrassment and shame kept me from trying for a really long time. Too long, but I digress….
After Madigan was born, my brother and sister-in-law dragged me out to a Girls Night Out that played every Thursday at Rosedale Up and/or Down. The league was never all girls and in keeping with that rebellious spirit, I made up my own rules in the beginning that without a doubt kept me enjoying the sport:
If my disc went off the fairway, I brought it back to the edge of the fairway for my next throw because having to retrieve it was punishment enough, and
If my disc made a noise while putting ( that is hit any metal at all), it counted
That last one may not have served me very well in the long run, as it made my target a lot bigger than the one I would eventually learn to hit. As time passed, I could see how well I aligned with the physical sport, even though I was primarily there as a physical and mental getaway from being mom to 3 all week. It was exactly the release I needed and as my skill set grew and my lines improved, so did my many friendships that were born in disc golf. Even though I got a late start on what could have been a well-seasoned career, the path that I have taken truly reflects the heart and soul of the sport itself. The impact that my personal disc golf intentions have had on my life is immeasurable, and I am increasingly grateful for the gifts I continue to receive as a result of being connected to this sport.
As the sport has exploded during the pandemic, I have been rehabbing injuries to my left knee and shoulder, and I played my first singles round since early last year in a little tournament this morning. I knew I would be playing with a local Pro (whose game gets better every year), and a couple of girls that I knew nothing about before the round. As a player, I am pretty good, but I seriously lack the competitive nature that makes me actually want to win. There have been exactly two times in my nearly 20-year tournament life where I felt an actual conviction about winning: The 2015 Rocky Mountain Women’s Disc Golf Championship and the 2018 PDGA Professional Master Disc Golf World Championships. I won them both, having strongly aligned with very specific reasons about why I wanted each of those titles. That alignment brought an increased focus to the rounds which helped me achieve the goal in front of me, but oddly took something from my overall experience, which is normally a lot more relaxed and breezy. I am also deeply uncomfortable every time they hand me a microphone to accept a trophy, so I’m sure that figures into the overall equation somehow, but don’t fully count me out - I still win a tournament every so often just having fun, but winning is rarely my top intention.
After so many months of not playing, I’m not sure what I was aligned with as we made our tee shots. My first drive was lackluster, but a great upshot and a solid wind putt earned me a par on hole 1. Before the round, one of the girls had mentioned hearing of me, and someone else had mentioned that I was a world champion, and for some weird reason both of those things made me a little anxious today, which isn’t like me, but again - I haven’t been out much!
On the next hole, I was walking and fell, activating both the shoulder and the knee from my previous injury. It wasn’t bad enough to keep me from playing, but it was enough to keep me aware that I needed to be deliberate with each movement for the rest of the round. This injury has come to symbolize things that I take on without having any real responsibility toward them, and the process of putting awareness toward clearing them from my energy field in real time, so that I get back to being aligned with my true purpose.
Yes, I won a world championship. But I strongly feel that my biggest contribution to disc golf is helping people feel more comfortable while they are doing it, growing relationships and encouraging athletes with simple advice, and watching frisbees do unbelievably magical things in the most beautiful settings our world and its natural beauty can provide.
At the end of our round, the ‘new’ girls let me know that they are planning/running a traveling women’s league this year, with a really great concept geared toward competition prep. I am so proud and excited that there are enough women playing now that a field for this type of league exists! When we align with intentions by putting our values and ideals out in front as guides, we put ourselves that much closer to actually achieving them. If we also leave room for the magic that the universe brings to our journey and recognize/honor it as such, every step we take makes so much more sense. Even when we occasionally fall.