It has been a while – quite a while – since I have made an entry into this journal series and in that time so much has happened. If I am going to “catch things up” then this will be a long entry – so go make a bathroom break, grab a drink and set down and I’ll get started.
I’m not really sure where to begin, but I will try to make it all make sense. Actually, that’s wrong. Some things I don’t think can be made sense of. But I will do my best to relate how the last several months have been for me, and how I feel about things. Given the epic nature of time passed, I think I am going to frame this like a return to school essay like we had to write as kids. It is going to be long, and I’m skipping the pictures this go around – let’s get caught up a bit, shall we?
How I Spent My Quarenstaycation by Hannable McGarity, 90754
Part 1 : Before Quarenstaycation
Prior to the whole Covid 19 situation grinding everything down to a halt, my disc golf season was off to a busy, if not successful, start. The last tournament I had blogged about was the King’s Cup. After that, I played in but had not blogged about the CADL’S Buckhorn AM, the GVDG Scholarship Shootout, ECO tour stops in both Greenville and Kinston, the Camp Durant Classic (dropped mid event) and the Camp Durant Classic. I also TD’d the Winter Quarterly for CADL, moving its format to a 2 round C tier. Though these events are long past, here’s a few words about each:
CADL Winter Quarterly Hosted by Fly Guy Disc Golf – this year I took on the responsibilities of TD’ing the CADL Quarterlies. Traditionally these events provide a bit of support to the upcoming CADL events, and were either 1 or 2 round unsanctioned events. I decided to sanction them, hoping that both the appeal of the rated rounds as well as the comfort of knowing PDGA rules were in play would attract a larger field. I deem it a success, with a full field of 72 playing. The Winter Quarterly was held at Buckhorn, making it a great way to practice for the Buckhorn AM and Pro.
CADL Buckhorn AM – I was really looking forward to this event and I had a good time despite my finish of 12 of 15, and only then being saved from DFL by three people who dropped out. This year saw the Buckhorn tournament split the field into an AM and a Pro, both playing three rounds – 2 shotgun starts on Day 1 and tee times on day 2. Fly Guy Disc Golf did the AM payouts, and it was a great weekend with a lot of good friends present. You could tell that folks were starting to “get into the season”. Unlike 2019, where I left angered and upset and eventually dropped from GBO, I left feeling like despite my finish I played well and enjoyed myself.
CADL Buckhorn Pro- I had signed up for this event, as a bit of a lark, to get a chance to play with some better players. I had registered in the MP40 field. However, at the Amateur I looked at the schedule we had been working and the upcoming events we had with Fly Guy, and dropped a week before it played.
The GVDG Scholarship Shootout was a really fun event. Originally scheduled for the new Farmville course, due to flooding we were at Meadowbrook in Greenville (home of the infamous cursed and ridiculous hole 9 double mando ) . I played about 13 good holes of disc golf before taking a double digit on that hole, and mentally and emotionally I checked out. I was angry (at myself) I was embarrassed (for my card mates) and I just wanted to quit – actually texted the TD that I would quit – but the walk to my tent was too far and I’d be in too many fairways to get there. Lunch was a personal pity party and then back for a second round where I bettered my score by 9, ending the day thinking that the next day would be better. Which was important because…
ECO Greenville - Meadowbrook. What can you say – its Jay Clark, it’s ECO , it’s dependable and reliable. We played the same course as the day before, however, we did not play the Mando on 9. In the end I had a more fun during the rounds, and shot 11 strokes better on that day than I did at the Scholarship Shootout.
Camp Durant Classic – last year I wrote a big story on the Camp Durant Classic. You can find it in the archives. This year – not so good. I opted to stay at the park instead of traveling. I played in the MA40 field, and did not do that well. I woke on Sunday morning and the sleep I had did not set well with me – my back was in a knot and I was exhausted. I knew that there was zero chance I finish the event, so instead of starting round 3 I opted to drop and go home and sleep for the day.
ECO Kinston – I love Barnett Park. I love playing there, I love the folks in Kinston and I love the events I’ve been there for over the past few year. I had my best finish (4th) of the season – but it was worthless as the MA3 field collectively got our asses handed to us by a 13-year-old kid named Ryan Edgerton #131419 (who shot a pair of 952 rated rounds). Keep your eyes open for him – he’s good. (He finished -4, second was +4 , and it only went up from there.) By this point the Covid 19 situation was starting to flare up, and I opted not to bring the Fly Guy Disc Golf setup for this event.
Lancer Chain Chaser – This was my first Lancer. It is a fun urban golf set up on the campus of Lenoir Community College. I brought a half dozen baskets to help set up the course. I didn’t play great, coming in at the bottom of the MA2 field. It was a fun layout and I want to return next year for sure. Had I known it would be the last event that I played for a few months II would have taken it in a little more.
Part 2: Corona on the rise
Right as the Covid threat was coming up I was able to take a lesson with Scott Stokley. It was hands down the best money I have spent on disc golf. In just a little under 2 hours I feel like I had some accuracy issues explained in a way that I never ad before, and I walked away with a deeper confidence in my drives and putts. I totally recommend if you even have a slight interest in lessons, - from Scott or another Pro - do it .
As I mentioned, when we were at the events in Kinston, the Corona virus Covid 19 was just beginning to be a very widely discussed and contemplated situation. Of course there was a helping of gallows humor in the beginning (every time someone would cough, you blame the ‘Rona, etc ). But I don’t think we ever thought that it would have the impact on disc golf that it had. In the beginning it seemed that if anything disc golf would be immune from closures – it seemed to be an ideal sport where the competitors are outside, spread about the wilderness and getting healthy sun. Of course, the players meetings and the social aspect would have to be adjusted, but it seemed doable.
Unfortunately, that was not the case – When the PDGA suspended sanctioned play, it seemed to just hit like a ton of brinks. I had a tournament that I had to cancel, as well as a very significant investment in several others, be it in merchandise purchased ahead of time, or in sponsorship. (For the event that I had scheduled, I issued full refunds despite having the player packs on hand, and offered the discs for sale. I still have some left if you’d like one.)
Sadly, I also was unable to play the Glass Blown Open. I was determined to wait it out, and held hope against hope that Id be able to, but it was cancelled. Maybe next year, third time will be a charm.
It is at this point than an individual has to make personal decisions. It was not to long until the PDGA issued some suggested good habits for play – and as is always the case there was a small but significant group of folks who refuse to adhere. It was very frustrating to see the some of the comments and complaints being volleyed about. So what can one individual do? I decided that I was going to only play my home course (literally at my home) and follow the Governor's guidelines of social distancing. I limited access to play the course to only those in the most immediate area, and restricted sales of discs to order ahead and pick up or mail delivery only.
I also made the decision not to “push sales” too hard at this time. I have said since I acquired Fly Guy Disc Golf that “the table is big enough for a lot of folks to eat” when it comes to retailing – but I also realized that during this time some folks who I have come to respect and admire who do disc golf full time like Chuck, Kyle, Ken and more – they had lost a lot more potential sales than I had. I decided to take it slow, and worked with a few local clubs for some online fulfillment, but left the shops and the sitting at home pros have the chance to makes sales.
Part 3: And now for something completely different…
There came an issue from my regular daytime employment where due to my position, I was afforded the ability to work form home for several weeks. At first it was great – I was home a lot, and I was able to practice a LOT of disc golf. Fresh off of my Stokely lesson I was stoked and I took several rounds on my home course. I saw my average drop some, and I hosted one or two folks at a time to hold myself accountable against some competition.
Eventually though, too much of a good thing can get a bit boring. I was not willing to go to the public courses (as the online discussions I was seeing were getting more polarizing and I didn’t choose to be in the middle of the fray). I progressed to one-disc matches, three disc matches and anything I could to keep the spark alive – but still I eventually faded out interest and focused on yard work. I did a lot of work on my Koi pond.
Another thing I did during the Quarenstaycation - I knitted 80 beanies to donate to a local homeless mission. It gave me something to do with my hands, and I put a lot of effort into making them all as unique in pattern and color as possible. I am trying to decide now what I want to do as a project in the future; possible more hats for a different shelter, or maybe baby hats for the local maternity ward. Either way I like to make things, I find the activity to be calming, and I like to help in indirect ways, so its a good little hobby to have.
So – that’s about all to get us caught up. I haven’t been very vocal during this time because I haven’t really had a lot to say that wasn’t being said elsewhere – and just speaking to have another voice in the room is sometimes just adding noise and not insight.
Part 4 : The Rebound – and my fears
I am glad to see things are on the rebound. I am looking forward to seeing the ECO tour resume, as well as to get the CADL Quarterlies going. I miss a lot of my friends, and there is a bit of a spark to get out and see if what I learned has taken root in my game.
I can be honest and admit I am a bit apprehensive when it come to the return of sanctioned play. There seems to be three main factors that feed my anxiety.
New players – great to see the sport growing, but anyone who has played more than a handful events know the learning curve and the habits that often are displayed among newer tournament players. Given the nature in which they have picked up the game, I can already anticipate the discs being flipped, the Bluetooth speakers and the “what do you mean I can’t drink beer?”. (On this note – I am very disappointed in the number of posts I have seen lately concerning litter on courses – especially beer cans and the like in parks that prohibit alcohol. I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud – but this behavior can hurt the sport if it gets parks closed or baskets pulled – or even worse, causes parks to ask law enforcement to monitor activity in the park.)
Anti-PDGA sentiment – ever since I have been playing sanctioned events, there are always folks who are seemingly anti-PDGA – despite playing at half the events I go to. Given the extremely vocal disapproval of many members over the PDGA’s handling of the Covid, they’re cancelling of events and a surge of “I want a refund!” – I cannot help but anticipate that there will be a presence of players who are playing because they want the tournament experience, but griping about the PDGA all the while.
Crowd Management – If the last few weeks have proven anything, it is that there are very polarizing differences in how some folks feel about social distancing, as well as in general being told to adjust their behavior, to fit the situation. I think I am a bit in the middle – I think some of the practices are a bit silly, sure, but I also think that there is no point in totally flouting the recommendations to prove you cant be restricted and to make a point. Numbers aside – and no one agrees with anyone else’s numbers anyway – but number aside, the reality is that there is some level of lethality to older and immunosuppressed people – and therein I think lies the responsibility of the general population to be smart and proactive, even when it is inconvenient.
I do not have the answers. I do not profess to have the answer. I only know that for myself, I will take whatever measure of self-precaution I feel the situation calls for – masks when there is a crowd, none where there is not. We likely will request that you wear a pair of (provided) gloves while handling our merchandise – and I hope people understand we are not accusing them of being infectious – we are trying to do our part to make sure that they do not become infected on our watch. And yet I already can hear the complaints… but hey – its all part of the deal, and I know it .
So – disc golf is on the rebound, I’m on the rebound, and I can’t wait to see you soon.
Here’s to the 2020 Disc Golf Season, take two …….