During the week of May 6 through 10, I was in Wilmington, NC for a conference. It was a deeply involved event, that started early each day and keep me engaged until late each night, dealing with both emotional and professional topics. Needless to say it was exhausting.
With that in mind, I did not arrive back to home until 7:30 Friday night - and Mitchell and I immediately had to jump into action loading up our trailer for the Cumberland County Copperhead IV (CCC4 hereafter) , which was being played the next morning. We have our system refined now to do this fairly efficiently - but I was moving slow and tired and once we were done in the store I discovered that the 100 Fly Guy Logo'd Innova discs I had ordered had also arrived, so we also bar coded and loaded them as well. I fell into bed around 10:00, with the alarm set for 4:30 the next morning.
We rolled out of the yard at 6:00 am. A stop at Wal-Mart for some provisions and then back on the road, we got to the Lake side of Mazerick park around 7:30 and got straight into set-up mode. We were fortunate - the CCC4 has grown under the efforts of Jason Rose and Dustan Elliott and others ( more on that later) to a 2 pool effort- as such a permanent Tourney Central was able to set up under the round pavilion on the Lakes Course. Using our tables and re-configuring the existing picnic tables, this allowed the most comfortable TC setup I have worked yet.
Already on hand and willing to help, Chris, Geoffrey, Dave, Victoria and James jumped in and in no time we had set up the Fly Guy tourney station with close to 1200 discs, 70 hats, 70 shirts and more - all by 8:00. We employed an idea I had for using banners as table skirts - and it looked very nice. Before we were done arranging boxes there were already a few small sales as folks found discs that they had been looking for.
About the Parks - Mazerick Park has been around for a long time. My own father grew up in the neighborhood near it actually, and as a young boy used to hunt the woods around it and fish in the lake. Depending on your viewpoint it is either one large park that sprawls around an elementary school, or two different parks that abut one another. Collectively they are called Mazerick - individually you will find folks who call them "Old and New", "East and West" or "Lakes and Pines". For the purpose of this post I will be using the "Lakes and Pines" labels - it's just the one I've grown to prefer.
I don't care for Mazerick park - either side - for differing reasons.
The Pines side, which I played first in the event and which I have played the most times of the two over all, is fairly laid out and surrounds a multi-featured area that is home to tennis courts and a baseball/softball field. However right off of the bat you find that there are several holes in which a paved asphalt walking trail are in play - and it get's tiresome waiting for the foot traffic to clear sometimes. The general park visitor is aware of the disc golf and courteous - however not all are.
My issue with the Lakes side is one of simple dislike - I don't play it well, and I don't care for some of the hole layouts - Particularly hole 3 which forces once again play over a walking trail, but in a linear fashion that essentially has a large throw over OB with a questionable drop zone. There is another hole - 11 Maybe (? - I forget ) where the shot is down hill, using the air above the walking path again, to a blind shot deep left and all of the right OB.
Also - both parks have , sadly, become a bit messy. I used to carry a bag to pick up trash while i was in these parks - at last years CCC3 I picked up two bags in the first 8 holes. This year, there has been a renewed push by locals, particularly headed by Bradley Kelso and Robert Herzog to improve the course with workdays, cutting in lines and making improvements - but they can only get so much done - still in the course of the day around different tee pads was found beer cans( Multiple ) , condom wrappers and condoms tossed to the side ( Lakes 16, Pines 3 and 6 ) and just a general shabbiness that I associate with the place.
It has to be said - the parks are in the best shape they have been in in years - hands down they are better - it's simply a lot of area for a small group of folks to care for with little support. It's sad because the guys who love and play there all the time are great people - just they can't do it all, the parks department seems to not own a weed eater, and the roving band of tattooed youth that walked directly up the hole we were playing ( Lakes 14) yelling and catcalling a passing set of girls just kinda epitomized the park - sad, lost and directionless. Hopefully they get some more buy in from the parks department before the B Tier in 3 weeks that is slated to use one of the parks in the first and final rounds.
I played round 1 like I expected to; I was carded with Geoffrey and Dave. ( The night before Dave snagged his first MA3 win in a Flex Start C Tier aimed at raising funds for the 2020 session of the same event). I carded a 61 ( my previous best tournament round on the course being a 66, and that even was in an easier format with shorted pins ). There was no real memorable play here except hole 6, where I always question the drop zone and it's legitimacy for tee shots that land within the island before going OB, and I somehow got the almost perfect drive on 12 ( my best ever) to take the hole in 2 for the first time. (Dave parked it even closer, thus making my personal accomplishment just a side note - he CRUSHED it.) I came in solidly in the middle of the field, in the 11 slot of a 22 player division.
Lunch had it's own interesting story line as it was discovered that a walk on player with little experience had entered the wrong division. Rated 941 with only one event under his belt, he had signed up as MA3. It was very apparent that he did not intentionally do it - but presented the TD and staff with a dilemma - he cound'nt play MA3 with that rating, nor MA2. The only other division in that pool was MA40 - and he needed about 18 more years to qualify to play there. He couldn't move to the other pool however as that would put him playing one course twice - an entirely different format than the rest of the field, and he couldn't just play the other course and settle the scores because he would not be competing against his division on same course / conditions. The player in question handled it like a pro, and was understanding of his mistake/ lack of understanding of the divisions. ( So much so in fact that I pulled him to the side and thanked him for his cool handling of the situation and gave him his choice of any disc we had in the store.)
Round 2 saw me completely out of gas before we even started. By this point I was exhausted, still mentally reeling form the previous week and honestly the only reason I pointed to then and now that I didn't just drop is that I have not dropped from an event once I've started yet, and I'd be damned if I was going to let it be the first time at Mazerick Lakes. I played awful - I hit trees, I dropped putts, I missed lines - it got to where I couldn't even keep my tried true and trusted Fluid Truth on line for 150 feet -I was roasted. I carded a whopping 73 ( 18 over) and was just happy to be done when the last putt fell.
This round I was carded with Kevin Crice and Jon Karwacki of Flippin' Discs fame. Jon tickles me - he's so super passionate and energetic, bundled up with smart and attentive, flavored with some kind of northern accent I haven't bothered to inquire about. He loves disc golf, having started last August, and if you follow the blog you know that he and I are often the fuel for some bets placed between James and Geoffrey. History holds that I have always found a way to win the bets for Geoffrey - but not on this day. I started round 2 just a single shot behind Jon - all I had to do was pass him in the final for the bet - but that not only didn't happen, it was rejected solidly. Jon careened through the lakes course like he owned it ( calling it easier than Pines at that ) and shot a smoking 916 rated round of 3 over - and that was with a self assessed penalty stroke that I tried to convince him not to take on himself. He killed the course and me. I tip my hat to him - he had an excellent round and while I was too mentally checked out to really enjoy being there to play at that point, I did enjoy being there to see his round. Jon placed for the first time and took 4th.
Everyone on Team Fly Guy who played in the event placed, except me.
In MA3, James took 2nd, Victoria visited the division and took 3rd, Geoffrey took 6th and Dave rounded out the winnings by taking a tie at 10th.
Chris grabbed 5th in a tie in MA2.
Scott Conway on the pro side took a tie for 3rd in Open.
Meanwhile, I limped to Golden Corral for dinner with some of the team with a sore shoulder and a 17th.
All in all it was a great event - the only real detractors being the courses conditions, which, until there is more robust local involvement will not change. At the risk of repeating what was earlier stated - the guys who are working to make improvements are working hard - its simply a matter of overwhelming size, multiple users and interest and space sharing that present them with a monumental task. And if we're being honest - it's a scene where consensus has not always been achievable - in the past there have been factions with opposing goals and more time spent in their own pursuits than in a unified effort. I'm upfront and honest about that being the main reason I myself have never gotten more involved in the area - it's never felt "whole". Folks are trying to improve that. I respect their effort, and like what so far seems to be taking shape. Time will be the only true determination as to it's success.
Next week I'm off to enjoy an event i was invited to in the RTP on IBM's campus.
Until then -
~ The HP