“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 2)

Disc Golf as Modern Achievement Sport

By Josh Woods ~

Cover Art D1 Modern Sport
Photo: Innova Disc Golf (NBC logo added)

Defining disc golf is like describing the taste of water. The task seems at once obviously possible and extremely difficult.

The hard part involves the utter plurality of what disc golf means to those who play it. As I argued in Part 1 of “Rise,” disc golf is not one thing, but many. Like Waldo’s world, its definition depends on where you look. Continue reading “Rise of an Unknown Sport (Part 2)”

Two approaches to teaching disc golf

By Valarie Jenkins and Josh Woods ~

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Paul McBeth and Nate Sexton give an instructional clinic at the McBeast Challenge in Ocala, Florida (March 21, 2017). Photo by Brian Wells.

“Back in the weeds … great!”

Learning how to play disc golf can be frustrating. Searching for your disc in thorny underbrush while your friend taps in for birdie can test the patience of any disc golfer.

But then it happens: A breakthrough. The disc leaves your hand, glides along an intended path and lands near the basket. The sun peaks from the clouds. Birds chirp happily in the trees. You can breathe again. Okay, maybe you’ll play another round.

Moments of success keep disc golfers coming back for more. But where do they come from? How do disc golfers learn to play better? Continue reading “Two approaches to teaching disc golf”

Without a net: All professional disc golfers are underdogs, even Paul McBeth

Paul McBeth
Paul McBeth at the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open, 2017 – Moraine State Park, hole 3, final round. Photo by James McDonald, editor at Full Metal Basket.

Paul McBeth is feeling small.

On September 16, 2017, shortly after dropping out of the Green Mountain Championship due to an injury and carding his first-ever DNF in a PDGA event, McBeth posted a message on Facebook:

“Being 5’8″ 160 lbs you’ll never be the favorite in sports. That’s why I like my story. #MyMindIsReady #USDGC” Continue reading “Without a net: All professional disc golfers are underdogs, even Paul McBeth”

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’”

In the News, July 1-15, 2017

InTheNews

Grow-the-sport news from around the country: Mcbeth, Panis make TV appearance; Discmania gives tips for going pro; Dodger Stadium disc golf; high-value disc golf news coverage in Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal; dog lovers trash course; PDGA’s Chargualaf gains footing; new courses in Alabama, Illinois, New York, Washington and Weber State. Continue reading “In the News, July 1-15, 2017”

“Wow, that hurt”: A look At The Injury Bug, And How To Avoid It

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Injuries can be rich learning experiences. When I was ten, for instance, I learned that leaping off a garage roof with a beach umbrella is pretty much the same thing as leaping off a garage roof without a beach umbrella.

Having sustained several flamboyantly unnecessary injuries, I probably shouldn’t be giving advice on how to avoid them. Still, my goal here is not to air my own wisdom, but rather to add to yours by cultivating some available resources. Continue reading ““Wow, that hurt”: A look At The Injury Bug, And How To Avoid It”