“Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair”

ESPN’s Recap of McBeth’s Historic Round Doesn’t Make Sense, But It’s Mindbogglingly Beautiful

By Josh Woods ~

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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””

Rise of an Unknown Sport (Part 3)

Disc Golf as Lifestyle Sport

By Josh Woods, PhD ~

Wheaton books
In this installment of “Rise,” I examine disc golf through the lens of Belinda Wheaton’s research on lifestyle sports.

“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)”

Rise of an unknown sport (Part 1)

By Josh Woods ~

Where is waldo cover art Second Option D2

The other day I was working on a Where’s Waldo puzzle with my daughter when my mind began to drift to where it so often drifts.

Gazing at the strange assortment of people in the puzzle made me think of disc golf. It is amazing what you can find while walking through a crowded course on a Friday afternoon, or perusing disc golf handles on social media.

Viewing the sheer variety and complexity of disc golf culture, I find it hard to look away. Continue reading “Rise of an unknown sport (Part 1)”

The problems with disc golf and why we love it anyway

A Review of Five Common Gripes on Disc Golf Course Review

By Josh Woods ~

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Defectum Hills DGC depicts a humorous exaggeration of problems that exist, to a lesser degree, at some disc golf courses. Illustration by Jon Higgins.

Imagine yourself on disc golf’s death row. You can only throw one last round. Where would you play?

I’ve asked several disc golfers this question, and I’m always a little surprised by the answers. I half-expect people to name a legendary course, one that tops the charts on Disc Golf Course Review, or one located in a far-flung corner of the planet where most drinks are served with tiny umbrellas. Continue reading “The problems with disc golf and why we love it anyway”

Does the fear of death inspire people to play disc golf? A review of Gessner’s ‘Ultimate Glory’

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One of the most interesting books about disc golf is a book about Ultimate Frisbee. David Gessner, in Ultimate Glory, offers a rowdy, confessional tale about his years playing Ultimate in the 1980s. Ultimate players may be the intended audience, but disc golfers and other athletes of emerging sports—in fact, anyone who cares about a thing that many people consider ridiculous—will find this book fascinating. Continue reading “Does the fear of death inspire people to play disc golf? A review of Gessner’s ‘Ultimate Glory’”

The Brathwaite albatross as religious experience

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Philo Brathwaite’s second shot for albatross, Beaver State Fling, June 2016

In 2006, David Foster Wallace wrote an article about tennis called “Roger Federer as Religious Experience.” This essay may be the most beautiful expression of a man’s love for sport that has ever graced the pages of a newspaper.

But when I read it for the first time, years ago, as a younger, intellectually snobbier version of the man I am today, I was skeptical at best. It didn’t seem fitting for the greatest novelists in the land to be writing about men’s tennis. Continue reading “The Brathwaite albatross as religious experience”

Disc golf and the construction of happiness

Image by Mike Plansky
Image by Michael Plansky

It’s spring 1990. Mike Plansky is standing in a municipal park near Palo Alto, California, crouched like the Karate Kid with a footbag resting on the back of his neck. With an undulating motion, he rolls the multi-paneled pigskin up his spine and over his head. Dropping on gravity’s rainbow, the footbag suddenly stalls, impossibly, on the toe of Mike’s black and white Vans. Then, with a fluid jerk of his foot, he passes the footbag to his friend. Continue reading “Disc golf and the construction of happiness”

The Curious Case of Zen Disc Golf: A Review of Two Books by Patrick McCormick

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McCormick’s Zen and the Art of Disc Golf, published in 2014, and his Discs and Zen, released in November 2016, can be read from multiple perspectives. Drawn to their titles, some readers may be interested in McCormick’s interpretation of Buddhism and how this school of thought can be applied to everyday life. Others may sidestep the metaphysical and treat his writing as a guide to the mental game of disc golf.

But what I found most compelling about McCormick’s work was not the advice he offers, but rather the reason he gives for playing disc golf. Continue reading “The Curious Case of Zen Disc Golf: A Review of Two Books by Patrick McCormick”

Why do disc golfers look like lunatics when throwing the disc?

About a month ago, I was clicking through photos of a local disc golf tournament when I came across a remarkable image. For a second, I didn’t recognize the person in the photo.

“Who’s this psycho Santa Claus?” I said to myself. “Waaaait ’a minute.”

Yep, that was me. (I’m the one in yellow). Continue reading “Why do disc golfers look like lunatics when throwing the disc?”