There’s a wonderful scene in the movie Vanilla Sky, where Brain, played by Jason Lee, tries to explain to David, played by Tom Cruise, his view on life, struggle and love.
Brian : Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour, and I know the sour. You can do whatever you want with your life, but one day you'll know what love truly is. It's the sour and the sweet. And I know sour, which allows me to appreciate the sweet.
While trying to think of the best way to sum up my weekend in Kinston for the 15th Kings Cup, this scene – really the words – resonate in my mind.
It was sweet. It was sour. And in the end, it just simply “was”.
Things seemed to be off kilter before I ever left my yard. I had spent several nights of the week cutting, weeding and ironing vinyl to have me a new dry fit for each of the four rounds of the Kings Cup event. It was to be my first B Tier since joining Team Dynamic Discs as an Ambassador and I really looked forward to wearing them with pride. We’ll come back to this later.
I got off to a late start – not that bad, but a bit later than I would have liked. In the meantime there was a forecast for rain - and the trailer’s skylights are (still) missing, so I have to tarp up in this situation. Except my last tarp had torn, so I’d have to do it on the way, by myself. I got to an auto parts store, to find they had (cheap) tarps – but when I went to pay, I had left my wallet at home. Here I was in a bind – I had the FGDG cash box – so buying the tarp was no issue – but I needed my wallet because surely the hotel would need my ID and a credit card for incidentals upon check in. So after a call to verify it was still home, and I had to turn around.
I got home, and then enlisted the help of my youngest son (and eventually my wife and oldest son’s girlfriend) to fight the flimsy cheap tarp against the wind and install it. Wallet in pocket I left home a second time - a full 20 minutes later than I had planned to be at the end of my journey. ( Notice anything I forgot again?)
The flimsy cheap tarp made it exactly 1.2 miles before it ripped. $12.99 thrown in the trash. Disgustedly I sat in an abandoned parking lot, ripping off the tarp, conjuring swear words not even yet to pass any man’s lips, and deciding if I was going to just leave the trailer at home, cancel the vending, and spend the weekend playing. I opted for another choice – gamble on the rain, pull it uncovered, and find a tarp at my destination. Two hours later, I was checked into the hotel, trailer was tarped (Thanks to Chris Dimsdale who roomed with me for the weekend) and I was settling in for the night before the next morning’s start.
That’s when I realized I had left my 4 new, made just for the event shirts at home.
I didn’t cry. It wasn’t that big of a deal – but it did just add to what had turned into the really disappointing evening after what been a great day.
Up early the next morning, we got to the course after a gourmet breakfast of the finest of fare the Kinston McDonald’s had to offer. We got the tents set up into the 4 square layout, and then it hit me – It’s time for King’s Cup.
I’ll be honest – I do not know the full history of the King’s Cup. I do know that this year is heralded as the 15th event, and that I have played 3 of the last 4. All 4 during that period have been TD’d by Andrew Duppstadt, whom I think is a wonderful person.
Andrew was on my card at the very first organized event that I ever played. We played maybe 4 holes before he had already invited me to play his event, and was very friendly and a great ambassador for disc golf, encouraging me through the day. I really took a liking to him from day one. Since then he has played my Pine Cone Open, and as you will see, was the deciding factor in my playing Kings Cup more than once.
Here’s where more sweet and sour come in. And maybe since the movie is referring to love it makes sense even on a deeper level – because for me, Kings Cup is like a girlfriend that you break up with, swear you’ll never talk to again – and then return to like nothing ever happened.
That’s Kings Cup.
The first time I played, I didn’t even read what the layout were to be, nor anything about the course – I just rolled in, played it blind – and got my rear quarters handed to me. The long layout that we had to play infuriated me – there’s not a reason under the heavens for a rec field to have to play long pads – to longer alternate baskets. (A feeling I still hold, but these days understand its TDs discretion.) These rounds are blaringly obvious when multiple years results are viewed.
I was embarrassed that first time, back in 2017. I was dejected and humiliated. I made the long drive back home swearing I’d not do that to myself again.
So in 2018, I didn’t.
I returned in 2019. I will not rehash it here – you can read about it in last year’s post.
SO – back to 2020. Chris and I arrived, Dave and Aaron and Kailyn and Victoria and Geoffrey and others all pitched in and we got the tents set up. Mitchell was traveling for the weekend and as such wasn’t available; Victoria was on the IR due to an injury incurred at Winter Jam, and had offered to run the vent tent. It was all a go.
I had, hands down, the worst putting experience I have had in the 59 PDGA tournaments I have played. Seriously. I was able to get some solid drives – and yes I hit a tree or two, but even less than the normal – but I could not sink a putt. It was beyond embarrassing.
I started round one (and two for that matter) on Hole 16 – a beautiful downhill hole with a mando that seems more menacing than it is. I’ve played it well in the past. Not for 2020.
Pretty much from my very first hole, where I had a putt for par and ended up with a triple bogey, the mantle had been laid down – this was going to hurt.
My previous nemesis has always been hole 18 – narrowing fairway to a basket out of sign left, OB to the rear. This year it surprisingly was one of the holes I played best.
There’s really no good way to recap the four rounds. I had great moments – DEEP past the basket drives on Hole 10 twice, somehow sneaking though the trees of 7 all four runs; finding a flick line on 8 (short to yellow) I’ve never seen before and flashing the basket – but there were 2 abandoned drives – discs that struck trees and went into tangles and briar thickets that even made retrieving them come down to a financial decision – and so many double putts. Or triple putts. Or even a quad putt.
It was like my putters didn’t feel like they were my discs. Like someone handed me a new different mold every time I had to putt. Now – I’m no putting champion – it’s my weakest area already - but I have settled into a straddle / dip / sploosh putt for the better part of 18 months – Geoffrey really helped me with it during Great 8 2019 – and I do “OK”. But not this weekend.
To make it worse – after the third hole of the last round I noticed something – I was aligning my shot with one grip – and then between the take down of my swing and the rise of my release – I was changing my grip. No wonder it was flying wide right and high so much. But this knowledge didn’t lead to an immediate correction – rather it worsened as I seemed obsessed with it- and my fourth round was abysmal enough to get me the (dis)honor of once again claiming DFL at a King’s Cup.
So maybe right now you’re thinking “Well, that’s a lot of sour – where’s the sweet?”
First off – it’s attending an event where the details are ironed out, the TD is in control and everything runs smooth. It is also increasingly being able to use Live Scoring at events.
But as is most of the time for me, the sweet was in the people. It was hanging out with Andrew, and talking Schwebby and Max and Scott and Jay Clark and Ken and the list goes on and on. It’s the fun I had when I got on a card with Kyle and Eric and Eddie. It was an impromptu Golden Corral dinner with the Fly Guy Team, telling crude jokes and gorging ourselves on the buffet. It was getting to know Chris better, and watching Joe Dirt between falling asleep sitting up.
It was seeing Fly Guy shirts on players across the field, and seeing folks with Fly Guy discs. It was being told about an “almost just barely missed ace” with a Fly Guy River. It was being asked to participate in an upcoming event. It was multiple people congratulating me on the DD Ambassadorship and asking me about discs. It was hearing that folks like what we are trying to do, and appreciate us being there.
The sweet is in the people.
In the end the people matter, not my score. I don’t go out every weekend to win. If that were the case, I’d be the first to call myself a fool. I do it for the game and for the people.
Sure _ I want to win; of course I want to get better – but it would be so pointless and lonely if that’s all I I was doing; my relationships are what makes it so rich and enjoyable.
So sure – it’s the sweet and the sour – but as Brian said “It's the sour and the sweet. And I know sour, which allows me to appreciate the sweet.”
Next up - CADL 2020 WINTER Quarterly at Buckhorn