Examining disc golf through a social scientific lens.
Josh is an associate professor of sociology at West Virginia University who plays disc golf and writes about it. He lives in Morgantown, West Virginia with his wife and daughter. He’s a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association’s Ratings and Statistics Committee, and writes occasionally for Ultiworld Disc Golf. Josh has two goals for Parked. He wants to convince the disc golf community that social scientific research can benefit the sport, and convince the academic community that disc golf is worth studying.
UDisc launched its blog Release Point in summer 2018 and began publishing articles regularly just two months ago. Drawing on unique data from UDisc app users and offering compelling commentary, Release Point is providing new insight on disc golf courses, communities and culture.
Results from the 2017 Parked Facebook Study – Part 1.
By Josh Woods, PhD ~
In early 2017, we collected the first large-scale random sample of disc golfers and estimated the size and characteristics of the organized disc golfer population in the United States. The results discussed in this post will appear in the International Journal of Sport Communication early next year.
I’m not a fan of phrases like “close, but no cigar” and “close only counts in horseshoes.”
They make it sound like close is a bad thing. As if anything short of first place, anything other than perfection, anything besides certainty is a grave defeat.
Even Reese Bobby’s celebrated absurdity – “If you ain’t first, you’re last” – was debunked by Reese himself at the end of Talladega Nights.
Black-and-white thinking doesn’t work well as a sports mentality, and it’s even worse for science. Scientific research never leads us out of the grey, not entirely. At best, we merely increase our confidence in fundamentally questionable propositions. Continue reading “What We Know and Don’t Know about Disc Golf”→
A brief look into the psychology and sociology of disc golf.
By Josh Woods ~
The other day my seven-year-old daughter asked me, “Why do people get married?”
I gazed into her curious brown eyes, knowing that my answer would not satisfy her. “Because they want to,” I said.
“Why do they want to?” She chirped, of course.
“Because it makes them happy,” I said.
“Why does it make them happy?”
I tried to explain that people get married for different reasons, that not everyone wants to, and that the reasons for getting married usually depend on where people live, when they live, and what the people around them think about marriage.
One of the questions you learn to answer in graduate school is, “Who cares?”
As you work through your research ideas, your teachers drum this question into you. For instance, after presenting your thesis proposal, someone in the audience might chirp: “Your project sounds interesting, but I’m not sure it passes the who-cares test.”
That’s as close as it gets to smack talk in academia.
ESPN’s Recap of McBeth’s Historic Round Doesn’t Make Sense, But It’s Mindbogglingly Beautiful
By Josh Woods ~
Not since Bob Dylan wrote “Desolation Row” has poetry like this flowed from the gumball world of popular culture.
Not since Matthew read W. H. Auden’s “Stop All the Clocks” in Four Weddings and a Funeral have the popular and the poetic been paired so neatly.
On the ninth of July 2018, having heard news of disc golf’s greatest round in history, ESPN’s SportsCenter held the nascent sport in its arms, raised it to the sky like Rafiki holding up baby Simba, bathed it in articulate spot light, and jammed Shakespeare in the background. Continue reading ““Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair””→
“At least give the dog a chance to catch it first” – N.B.
“Sports is a reallllly loose term nowadays” – J.C.
“Not a real sport” – J.L.
These were just a few of the snippy comments posted on ESPN’s Facebook page when the media giant uploaded a video clip of Eagle McMahon’s 380-foot field ace at the Glass Blown Open in April 2018. By the end of June, the clip had received more than 14,000 likes, 5,200 shares, 2.3 million views and 4,000 comments. Continue reading “Rise of an Unknown Sport (Part 3)”→