This past weekend I participated in the 40th Annual Jersey Jam hosted by the Disc Devils and TD’d by BOB Graham, Kit Bassett & Jeff Mahler. Leading up to the event since June…I was super stoked to play the event. Basically, I had 6 weeks to psyche myself up for it!
As I arrived Saturday morning after a quick 75 minute drive to the event, I was greeted by many friends and warm embraces and handshakes were a plenty! I was very fresh…relaxed… and felt that I had my gameface ready to go for the day. Sadly…I couldn’t have been further from the truth. I walked up to my first tee after a great morning players meeting, ready to go and then…I fell apart like a 10 cent toy.
Many times we say a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day in the office. Well, my first rd was anything but fun. As I waited for the start…I shook hands with my card mates; Shaun, Rob & Dom. It was game time. My first drive was amiss and landed OB….and promptly put my upshot into the circle and saved a bogie 4 with a 30 ft putt. Okay…im just rusty. My next hole 2 holes I saved face with routine pars. My 4th hole…I had a decent drive…solid upshot and left myself a 15 ft putt. While waiting for everyone to putt out…I caught myself daydreaming. I was thinking moreso about my previous weeks’ vacation at the shore. I was thinking about my family being on the road home while I was golfing. Basically, anything but DG. So I step up to my putt, and I BARELY reach the pole…on the 15ft putt. With such, the wind in my sail was exhausted. I felt deflated, defeated, and just unamused. Mind you, I know I had well over 10 holes to go.
As I approached the next hole I had a mediocre drive…and a solid upshot, leaving myself a 35 fter. I lined up my putt, took my time building confidence and released. As the putt hovered into the chains I clapped with a, “Yes!”, only to have it push out negating my solid putt. So I putt out for the 4…and tried keeping my head high knowing it was a good putt. I stayed sane for the next 4 holes until I truly met my mental demise with back to back holes of disappointment. The first being an unfortunate roll ob by 4 inches…tho making the putt for the par 4; and the clincher…taking a circle 6 on a hole only 225ft or so.
The clincher…the straw that broke the camel’s back…the ultimate un-fun string of events on a hole. I teed off and whack, first available! So I shot 2…a solid hyzer that hits a rogue hanging twig branch that knocks my disc straight down. My 3rd shot…I throw a soft upshot with a putter and hit a small root and promptly roll about 20 ft OB… I lay up again…make the putt…SIX. As this point…I had 5-6 holes left and just couldn’t keep my head on straight. While I had no real qualms the rest of the round…I had no mental game left. I still kept daydreaming…kept falling mentally back thinking of the boardwalk….the pool…my family. Nothing DG was relevant.
After the round expressed my displeasure via Facebook…and the first comment was from a dg pal…”dislike.” Followed by a follow up, don’t let a bad round keep ya down. I walked up to the TD, BOB and told him my dismay…but I assured him it wasn’t anything or anyone’s fault. It was just that I couldn’t engage mentally as I was still on vacation-mode. It really wasn’t the bad round that made the day un-fun…but that didn’t help. If you remember, my last blog…I expressed how it was one of my most memorable and enjoyable rounds ever and BOB was one of my card mates.
So after talking to BOB, I talked to my sounding board…my confidant…my wife. She said “hey, we’re home…and everything is well”…and before I could tell her about my round she noted, “ Mikey (my son) walked in the house and said to her, where’s Dad?” Needless to say this didn’t help my psyche. So told her about being in vacation mode…and just wasn’t into DGing….and if it were anything but an event, I woulda walked off. However what she said to me was a trigger to helping me get situated for round 2, was “Sometimes you just need to smile.” This was so trivial, and if you think about it…simple. It reminds me of the quote by Helen Keller, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” So I enjoyed lunch with some golfers, mentally decompressed, and enjoyed the break.
At the start of round 2…I headed to my hole…sat down before tee off…and smiled. I smiled…I laughed…I tried to forget about round 1. At this point of the event…I really didn’t let the day bother me. While I really sucked it up throughout the event, at the end of the day I was part of something special. I was part of one of the longest running events in disc golf. I was surrounded by 80 golfers all out playing and trying to tame the wicked layout of the Jam.
So now that I had 1-2 days to do a mental review on the experience… I don’t want another round like that to happen to anyone, ever. But how can one prepare for that unexpected round. I really don’t know. Managing those 6 inches between your ears may be the hardest part of disc golf. For me…maybe I better NOT play an event immediately after a vacation…LOL!!