Unless you are reading this blog for the first time, you know that I just got back from attending the 2015 Glass Blown Open in Emporia Kansas. Months of daily preparation culminated in this little midwestern town. After an incredibly fast week, and a few days to reflect on the experience, I’ve come up with a pretty good list of take aways.
Before I get to that list, I have to take a moment and recommend that you go to this event at least once. I’ve travelled to my fair share of disc golf tournaments. Nothing comes close to the week long disc golf experience that is the Glass Blown Open. Dynamic Discs has set a standard for major tournaments that is light years ahead of it’s next closest competitor.
For one solid week, the coolest thing in the world you could be was a disc golfer. Everyone in town knew about disc golf. Everyone in town asked you about disc golf. Everyone in town loved disc golf. It was a truly remarkable experience.
Someone on Twitter a couple days ago asked me what my next set of goals was going to be now that the GBO has come and gone. What was I going to work on and write about next? At this point I don’t know. I do know that the lessons and memories from the GBO are many and I want to share some of them with you. There were good things, things that could have gone better, and things that were, for me, over the top. Let’s start with the good…
- For one week, we lived in a world where disc golf was a major sport. It was everything we all hope it will be. Our sport was respected and known by almost everyone. We were welcomed with open arms. An ace made the #2 spot on the ESPN Sports Center top 10 as well as being recognized as one of their plays of the week. Disc golf was playing live in many of the restaurants and bars. It was like coming home to a home we didn’t know we had.
- There were people from around the world. From Canada to Europe to every corner of the US, I played disc golf with folks who had all travelled a great distance to be there. Meeting such a wide array of disc golfers was good for my soul. It gave me hope that the people that live on this earth might have a lot more in common than the politicians and the news personalities might let on.
- I ate at the Radius Brewery… 6 times. Have you ever found a restaurant where everything you have there is outstanding? Not just good or OK, but over the top excellent? That was the experience I had at Radius. The moment I walked in the door and saw that they sold discs behind the bar I knew I had picked a good place. When I had my first Glass Blown Ale, that was confirmed. When I tasted the culinary masterpiece that was the cream of potato and pork belly soup, I was enticed to come back again and again.
- The shopping trip at Dynamic Discs distribution center was insane. We all have dreams of being surrounded by seas of plastic as far as the eye can see. Imagine that, but better, and in real life. Stay tuned for the Mind Body Disc store, coming soon to this website!
- We played disc golf using a golf cart. I’ve done this before, but this time it was different. The ball golfers all welcomed us. They were happy to see us. They came up and talked to us about our sport with enthusiasm. Not to mention, both courses (only one of which could you use a cart on) were tremendous set ups. Fun, long, challenging courses. Dynamic has done a tremendous job of spreading disc golf love throughout Emporia. That has led to two awesome disc golf courses located on ball golf courses.
- I finished the tournament by making a 50 foot putt, from my knees, crouched under an evergreen tree. It was one of my best throws of the week and it capped off a tremendous experience.
- There were a ton of people from the Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64, and Westside Discs fan page on Facebook. I don’t spend a ton of time on FB, but when I do, it’s usually there. Every single person was friendly, fun to be around, and made the trip just that much better. While I drove to Emporia and back by myself, I didn’t spend any other time alone. I made some great new friends and look forward to seeing them all again next year.
- The DD shop is a prime example of what a real disc golf shop could be like. I appreciate anyone who opens a disc golf store. But I’ve never been to one like this. It was everything you could hope for in a pro shop and then some. More discs than you could look through in one visit. Great clothes, shoes, and accessories. Super friendly and knowledgable staff. I had to go back several times.
- We got to see the top pros in our sport play live and in person. You Tube simply cannot do justice to what it’s like to watch these people play. Especially when they are playing a course you just struggled on. They take lines you would never think of. They throw twice as far and with three times as much accuracy. They truly earn the moniker of “professional”.
- We got to hang out with, talk with, and take a clinic from my all time favorite disc golfer, JohnE McCray. He is everything you’ve heard he is and then some. A true representative of the sport and a stand up guy in general. Not to mention, he was extremely funny. Chatting with him was one of the highlights of the trip.
- I played the best disc golf I’ve ever played. The months of practice and preparation you read about here on the blog really paid off. I’m not going to go pro any time soon (or ever), but I played well above my rating repeatedly and that has carried over to the rounds at my home course after the GBO. Thank you all for following along and giving me the encouragement and feedback I needed to stick to my practice plan and roll into Emporia as ready as I could be. This sport is so much more fun when you play well!
There were a million more cool things that happened last week, but for me, those were the highlights. Was it all peaches and cream? Actually, mostly it was. Were there any regrets? Actually, there was one thing (outside of the quality of my sleep when I was there) that could have been better. But let’s leave this on a positive note this week and we’ll visit that issue next week.
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