Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last throw best throw

Last Friday, my friend Todd, a.k.a. Rex Lex, met me at Shady Oaks Forest Preserve, Streamwood, IL, where we played 18 "holes" of disc golf. We later played nine at Sunny Hill, also in Streamwood, where on the last throw of the day, I made my best shot, a carom off a tree into the basket from 50 feet.

For the unitiated, disc golf is just like regular golf, but with platters thicker and heavier than the standard Frisbee (tm) you'd play catch with. And you use different size and shaped discs. The three basic kinds are drivers (for teeing off), mid-range, and putters. Aficionados carry around cumbersome square bags full of 20 or more discs. Some are designed for sidearm throw, others for backhand spins or to tail left or right. There's a vast cosmology of discs I am not yet privy to because all the discs I own are found. All the ones I've seen have signatures from disc golf professionals. Who are these people? Can they make a living playing this sport? And the discs have bold, trailing names like Valkyrie and Banshee, with raised relief drawings of dragons and hellfire.

New discs cost between $12-15. Used are usually $5 or above. I've never bought one. Todd plays often and takes extra time to hunt around in the brush for lost discs, so he has a lot of discs. Six of my eight discs, Todd found. I found the other two. A couple weeks ago I played at Anna Page Park, Rockford, and lost a newly found disc high in the boughs of a conifer. Two holes later I found another glancing through deep brush on an errant throw. Throw poorly, find discs seems to be the lesson.

A few weeks earlier, at West Park, Joliet (Illinois' oldest disc golf course, built in 1979), Todd and I were hunting for a lost disc in an open, sunny glade with medium tall grasses, tramped already, unfortunately, by previous disc seekers, and couldn't seem to find the disc. We decided to let the group behind us play through, and the first guy nailed a hole-in-one. As his friends took their shots, he helped us look for our disc and spotted it, practically hidden from sight underneath a wood footbridge. He later asked us to sign his disc for posterity (an accepted form of grafitti is to write your name and date with a Sharpie marker on the tee sign or the basket if you make an ace). Two of his buddies wrote their DOC numbers.

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