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lessons of a disc golf widow…

The Tournament is over. THE tournament, the weekend I have been dreading for months, the one that has challenged me to places I didn’t think I had the strength to go, the one that pushed me past my comfort zone over and over. Allow me to explain.
My husband is into Disc Golf. Disc Golf is a sport where players throw specially designed Frisbees into metal baskets that are scattered across a course which is set up like a regular golf course with fairways and roughs and outs-of-bound. They use putters and drivers and discs that are designed to veer to the left or the right. They spend hours practicing and playing and discussing their practicing and playing. They have groups that play together once a week. They have favorite courses. And they have stories to tell.
They talk about the aces – the “holes in one” if you will. They speak in tones of awe and wonder about the shots that went in in one throw from the tee pad with an almost mystical quality. Divine intervention has been mentioned when relating the stories of aces quite often. Usually when an ace occurs there is the clink of the chains in the basket and then a roar of admiration and excitement from the group. It reminds me somewhat of the howl of the coyotes I often hear at night when one of their number catches its prey.
The “Prey” in disc golf is the aforementioned basket. It’s a circle of chains which extend downward into another circle. Below them is the basket portion that “catches” the disc. The chains stop the disc which usually causes it to fall into the basket. I say usually, because sometimes it falls to the ground. Just like in golf when the ball sometimes goes into the hole and rolls around the rim and right out. It’s no less frustrating in either sport. This basket is fitted onto a metal pole which sits into the center of a stand – most of the time. There are the occasional hanging basket where the metal apparatus is suspended from a tree branch and the buried basket where the parts, minus the stand and the pole, sit into a hole in the ground.
So why did I dread this particular tournament? Because the course where this tournament was played is in our “yard.” We live on nine acres of land in rural north Florida. To the right of our house is another eight acres that has not had a house built on it. To our left are the kindest, most generous neighbors anyone could ever have the right to ask for, and towards the front of our property, which is situated on a cul-de-sac, there are another set of above-and-beyond neighbors who don’t object to the craziness that often ensues when multiple disc golfers descend upon the course for a day or a weekend of flinging plastic. But this weekend was the first PDGA (that’s Professional Disc Golf Association) sanctioned event. The tournament was open to 65 players and required several volunteers, both before, during, and after the tournament to bring the whole thing to fruition. This tournament has been in the planning stages since last November. My husband, the Tournament Director, was required to take an exam testing his knowledge of the many and varied rules of the game. He submitted diagrams of the course for approval and had to take care of all the hundreds, no thousands, of details most players would be amazed at that are necessary for putting on a tournament. He has made many improvements to the course. He has mowed and mowed and mowed. He has picked up sticks and branches the piled these bits of nature’s litter into several piles higher than him that were burned over the last several months. He has matcheted the wooded portions of the course into submission, and he has put signage all over the place, leading players in the correct direction to the next tee pad.
As if actually living on a disc golf course isn’t already bordering on eccentric, putting on a tournament of this size and scope is downright insanity. This event has become my husband’s obsession. And, truth be told, I didn’t always appreciate that. I’m not always the gracious hostess to having a few dozen of my husband’s friends walking all over our property, causing the dogs to bark and howl all day long, or in the case of night golf, into the wee hours of the morning. But this was a whole other level of commitment. There were all the players and volunteers to feed, there were the out of town guests who stayed with us during the event, and there was the players’ party beside our pool on Saturday evening – complete with a Jazz band and more food.
I’ve been cooking for days. I’ve been talking about this whole thing for months and stressing out over it for the past several weeks. But it all worked out. It worked because my husband and I are blessed with incredible friends who came without being asked and cooked and served and listened and planned and setup tents and baskets and built tee pads and mowed and cleaned up and allowed us to use parts of their properties and showed us that they love us. I am overwhelmed that our son drove up from Orlando to help his Dad and spent his first night in more than 6 years away from his wife, and that he brought his two-year-old son who helped distract us and entertain us and remind us of what is really important in life. And I am in awe of the God who helped me through the loneliness of the last several months when my husband and his mind were so often elsewhere, and I felt the isolation of feeling that I was too often less important than a game.
But I was wrong. Although I haven’t always been the most willing participant, I have been the witness to the amazing power of love. I have watched the friendships that my husband has developed through this sport blossom. I have learned the value of men helping men and bonding with each other in ways that are so foreign to my gender. And I have been a witness to my husband’s love of God and his somewhat odd way of living out the gospel to feed the hungry and house the homeless and share the blessings of God with others. My husband lives his faith better than I do. Sometimes I just want to be home. As an introvert, I need my down-time when I don’t have to be “on.” I need peace and quiet and my own space to think and pray. I had none of that this weekend, and I survived.
No. I amend that – I actually enjoyed it.
I’m glad it’s over, and I don’t know if I ever want to do it again, but I handled it better than I could have ever hoped, and, that in and of itself, is a small miracle.

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