Disc Golf: A Love Story How Plastic Melted My Heart

Chapter 1: Jeremy's Story

Seven years ago, I moved to Scottsdale from Dallas and had never played disc golf. Unintentionally, I rented an apartment where my back door opened onto the course at Vista del Camino in Scottsdale. After the only friend I knew in Phoenix moved back to Dallas unexpectedly, I was pretty lonely. Sitting in my apartment day after day, I watched disc golfers out of my window and noticed that they were always smiling and seemed relaxed. I also noticed them picking up trash and dog poop that wasn’t theirs.

Eventually, I started making conversation as golfers walked by my patio. One afternoon, a regular asked me if I’d be interested in joining his group. He tossed me a disc, and that was the day my love of the sport began.

I started by playing a few holes each day. Sometimes I played alone, and other times I would join up with complete strangers. Disc golf is very inclusive, and you will regularly see people playing with different groups each time.

In one such group, someone asked me what I had done over the weekend. As a single guy in my 30s, I embarrassingly admitted that I had attended an event at ASU where some of the greatest physicists and scientists in the world had given lectures. With fewer than 1,500 people in attendance, I was shocked when one of the strangers in my disc golf group, a man in 60s, said he had attended that same event. He and I had a great conversation for the remainder of the round and found many commonalities.

This man, Rob Carr, ended up becoming the best friend and mentor anyone could hope to meet. He is a fascinating human and quite the renaissance man. He helped me through a lonely and difficult time, and I would have never met him had it not been for disc golf.

Months after meeting Rob, I walked past another player’s disc on the course. I took notice because an artist had dyed the disc to have a silhouette of David Bowie on it. I had never seen a custom disc, so I approached the other player, Josh McClain, to learn more. When Josh told me he had dyed it himself, I asked him to do some custom artwork for me. A few weeks later, Josh handed me three beautiful discs that exceeded my expectations.

The only thing more beautiful than the discs was the friendship that developed between Josh and me. I now call the McClains, “family.” Josh, Heather (his wife), and Emma (their daughter), have been a constant source of friendship, comfort, and love since I met them. I have spent most every holiday with them and have extended my network of friends through them. My best friend is in my life as a direct result of disc golf.

Chapter Two - Our Story

Almost three years ago, I began a relationship with my significant other, Kristin Lisson, and became co-parent to her two amazing children, Stella (9 years) and Jude (5 years). Over the last year, Kristin and the kids started playing disc golf. During the winter, we would ride our bikes to the small park at Los Olivos to play 9 holes. We have a great time and the kids love it.

Unlike other sports, where learning curves can be high, they are able to frequently make throws that help them feel accomplished and proud. This positive reinforcement has caused the kids to become more interested in the sport. Today, we try to play a round or two per week with the kids. They have actually become quite good and frequently get a few cheers from golfers or passersby who see them for the first time.

When Kristin and I met, we both lived and worked in North Scottsdale. Not long after, we decided to move to Central Phoenix; we wanted to raise our children in the city where they would be exposed to diversity of opinions and people.

Three years ago in July, we purchased our home on Campbell and 2nd Ave, a block away from the light rail, Central High School, and the Park. In moving closer to the City, we made an intentional decision to drive less often. We take the train to museums and downtown. We walk to the amazing restaurants. We also have matching white beach cruisers with fat tires that we ride everywhere—most frequently to Steele Indian.

Some days we take kites, while others we take a Frisbee. Some days we go to the playground, while others we practice sand volleyball or skateboard. We go all year round--whether it is 40 or 100 degrees.

Spending time at Steele Indian School Park

While our activities at the park vary each visit, one thing remains consistent: We engage with curious strangers each time we visit the Park. That brings us to the next chapter...

Chapter 3: Their Story

Regardless of the activity we bring to the Park, other children and teens regularly approach us. We typically explain what we’re doing and offer to let them try, whether that’s throwing a Frisbee or flying a kite. It’s always enjoyable to see a kid’s face light up when they try something new and surprise themselves when they get it right.

Another thing we see when we visit the park is tens if not hundreds of students congregating in the park before or after school. While the park offers a great refuge for the students, there are few activities other than "hanging out" that are available to them. We believe that many of these students would be interested in an approachable, fun activity.

There is no sport more approachable and available than disc golf. It is magnetic! When the weather is 70 degrees and there is not a cloud in the sky, there is something about throwing a Frisbee that draws people in. Just as disc golf drew me in and gave me the opportunity to improve my life, I believe a course at the Park could give these 6,000 young people the same chance.

For more information, contact jeremy@basket-makers.com or visit http://basket-makers.com.

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