We have been blessed with a most pleasant fall this year. The temperatures here in Cheeseland have been warm and mild, the leaves are turning brilliant red, oranges and yellows, and the sun has been shining brightly around the clouds. It’s been the type of weather that makes us ache to stay outside and savor what we can before Old Man Winter dumps on us. So, feeling infected by the sunshine and having a fairly open afternoon, Ryan and I decided that we’d like to get in one last round of beautiful weather disc golf. Yesterday, we arranged for one of our fantastic babysitters (the Lovely Justine) to hang out with the boys at the park while we disc golfed. Ryan didn’t get out of work till 6pm, and as the winter approaches the days are getting shorter much faster, so we knew that we would have to pick her up on the way and just bring her with us. Being that it was a perfect day, neither she nor the boys had any objections to playing at the park while we got our round in.
Much to my surprise, Jake proudly announced when we arrived at the park that he’d like to play disc golf also. This seemed curious to me, as we have many times tried to drag the boys along, supplying them with discs and instructions, and have never been able to get them to actually throw more than one or two holes. (And at that point, they tend become bored and more of an obstacle to overcome than anything…) But, hopeful as ever, Ryan found Jake’s favorite disc and we separated ways from Ben and Justine and headed towards our first hole.
When we recreationally disc golf, the youngest of our group gets to throw first, the next youngest throws second and so on. This set Jake up to throw first. Now, Jake has seen a disc or two (or four thousand) thrown before, so he knows what a real disc golfer looks like and he knows the proper course etiquette better than many of the amateur competitors at tournaments. He took the pad with confidence, holding his white, 118g Gateway hybrid disc like a pro, and studied the path he’d wanted his disc to fly. Then, he bounded forward with two steps, his legs straddled and bowed out, (looking a bit like he had soiled himself…), making grotesque noises and finally whipping his body awkwardly until the disc fumbled out of his hands and into a much too high, hyzered out throw. The approach was inappropriate, ineffective and hilarious to watch. After Ryan and I stopped giggling, we asked what he thought he was accomplishing. As it turned out, Jake was mimicking a disc golf video game he had recently played. (Which by the way, if you are a disc golfer, take the time to check out PS3 Move Disc Golf game. Amazing!) So, Jake’s current new obcession with video games involved disc golf, apparently, and so he wanted to play out his video games in real life. (Again, I know this sounds odd, but apparently these days video games inspire kids to play actual sports, instead of actual sports inspiring kids to pretend they are the pros vicariously through video games, like it was in our day. See my previous blog for a better explanation… https://sunmoonbrothers.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/easy-on-the-swears-kid/) And with that, Jake’s love of video games and Ryan’s love of disc golf had become one in the same. (Now I am very anxious for the release of Frozen Codebase’s roller derby video game so that Jake might learn to enjoy my sport!)
Though Jake’s approaches were animated and often down right silly, he eventually calmed down and started throwing very nice, even throws. He was planning his shots, and when he executed them to his plan (which is harder than you’d think), they were really quite clever approaches. His dad would give him advice, and Jake would praise his father’s shots. (Though he frequently pointed out that his drives were better than mine, and or that I’m “only as good as a kid”, which was pretty amusing.) Ryan informed Jake that the winner of this year’s United States Disc Golf Championships, earning a grand prize of $12,000 was only 18 years old. Ryan also pointed out that Jake, discing this early in life, would likely be really good when he got to that age. Those words seemed to inspire Jake to really become aggressive with his attempts, and soon he and Ryan were really enjoying each other’s company on the course. Soon, though as Jake was taking his time and being silly, while Ryan was feeling rushed (because as the daylight waned away, it become increasingly harder to find our discs), I was forced to remind Jake (jokingly) to try not to have fun while he’s discing. Because, after all, we just didn’t have time for that. They both laughed at me and it certainly lightened the mood.
Ultimately, after years of attempting to get the boys to enjoy this sport with us, it turns out that they will come to appreciate it on their own terms at their own time. And the time that they take to play and learn with us, is probably going to be some of the best times that Ryan and Jake have together. What a beautiful way to watch two worlds collide, and meet at the chains.