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Ladies of the Flight... Crew Oregon Disc Golf Championships 2011
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Ladies of the Flight... Crew Oregon Disc Golf Championships 2011

Ladies of the Flight... Crew Oregon Disc Golf Championships 2011

Okay, first things first... I'm very sorry about the terrible pun in the title. These titles are hard for me to come up with. In fact, this whole blogging thing is kind of difficult for me... more on that later.

 

Second, immediate shout-outs to the ladies of the Flight Crew, Cindy McMahan and Emma Rose Hanley, for totally rocking the most epically awesomely crazily treacherous disc golf course ever created (mad props to Jeff Hagerty, Tournament Director extroardinnaire and evil course designing genius) and taking home first place in their divisions, and thus the highly sought after (especially in Emma's case... Cindy's looking at a repeat) title of Oregon State Champion, Cindy in Advanced Women and Emma in Open.

 

Fairway of hole two

And, of course, while I am focusing mostly on the gals 'cause, dang it, that's how I roll and I do believe we deserve the attention... two of our Flight Crew boys played this tourney, as well. Kind of a big deal for Ryan Gwillim, first big tourney for the man after his beautiful wedding to Dr. Christina Brow and what has to be an agonizing recovery from some nasty surgeries for some nasty things that no man as young as he should be suffering from. It was good to see the dude on the course again and it's also good to be able to give normal hugs to him, not worrying about incisions and stitches and inflicting pain. Gwillim, it's good to have you back. And dear Medium Dan Carpenter was there for Saturday, but because he is a fine human being, he pulled out of the tournament and spent Sunday caring for his ailing cat. Dan, animals are so important to our healthy lives and I feel for your loss.

 

**Warning Warning**

*Flashback*

 

Sometime in Februaryish (or maybe Marchish) of 2010

 

In preparation for my second PDGA event ever, which was going to one of the Stumptown Slosh Series to take place at Trojan Park, I was out there every weekend leading up to it, familiarizing myself with the course, as up until the past year or so I had pretty much only played golf on my super secret hillbilly disc golf course (actually, we called it a frizbee golf course) in the foothills of the coast range that is equipped with, get this, not baskets, but 3/4 inch copper pins (we actually do have one basket on it these days... it's totally homemade...). Anywho, this particular day when I rolled in there were three gentlemen that I vaguely recognized from the first Slosh I had played in earlier that winter, to protect their identities we shall call them Billy Bob, Joe Bob and Gus. I shyly asked if I could golf with them before realizing that they were not actually playing a conventional round, but, in fact, were wheeling about a portable basket and placing it in the most ridiculously unreachable locations and then discussing what should be Out of Bounds so as to not make things too easy. Gus informed me when asked the heck they were up to, that they were working on the course design for the Oregon Disc Golf Championships which was to be held in September. I spoke right up and said, "Oh yeah. I just heard about that! My goal for this year is to qualify for it". Gus looked at me appraisingly, raised his formidable eyebrows, and informed me that "Well, you know. This tournament is actually just for like, Oregon's elite sort of upper echelon golfers. You know, cream of the crop, best of the best. But good luck with that anyway." Now, I am not actually terribly good at the whole humble thing, nor the whole biting my tongue thing, but in an extremely out of character move, I simply nodded, stated that I understood and went about my business smirking only a little bit.

 

I, in fact, did qualify for the ORDGC that year. As a professional. And I blew up. I played abominably. I placed third and got a super sweet Keen lap-top carrying case tote baggy thing. I don't even own a lap top (just one reason blogging is hard for me).

**End Flashback**

 

I thought that background would help set the mood I was in just a little bit for y'all. Also good to know might be that both Cindy and Emma were fresh off rather disappointing performances in the Eugene Celebration the previous weekend. Cindy stepped up to play Open that weekend and was surrounded in a funk of melancholy and bittersweet regret the whole time for leaving advanced behind or who knows what (this is my blog not hers, I'm totally speculating) and Emma finished second (which is FINE, really, I get it, it's fine) after having shot the two hottest rounds, it felt like, of her life on Saturday and having a 5 stroke lead to start Sunday with... anyway, the two of us were fired the heck up for some serious, championship level redemption.

Emma surrounded by some of the beauty of the Trojan disc golf course
 

Saturday of the Championships started out early and gray. It rained all night furiously on my tin roof, keeping me awake with thoughts that went like this "I am a native Oregonian. I own super sexy gators. I have a ton of ShamWows and Gore-Tex shoes. I have lots and lots of golf shirts. Don't forget to pack several pairs of extra knee socks. Maybe my dad will carry my umbrella for me." And then, when I finally got out of bed (at like 5 am, sheesh) it appeared as though it had stopped raining. And then, on the drive to Trojan (which, by the way, is my favorite drive in the whole world... Timber Rd. to HWY 47 through Vernonia to Apiary Rd. to HWY 30... seriously, if you're in the market for a good, windy country drive, this is it) it was actually beautiful! Gorgeous, golden-pinked clouds of near sunrise and can you believe it? For most of the drive they were actually playing all of my favorite songs on the radio! Shockingly joyful! I was so fired up I was near tears the whole way. There were a lot more clouds at Trojan than anywhere else on the drive. And it did rain on us a little bit, but only so much that the native Californian in our group noticed it a little bit...

Rachel Benton & Becky Terrill
 

The first round I felt strong and comfortable and was totally digging the vibe in the group (Suzie Q Jones from Grants Pass, Becky Terrill now from P-Town, and Rachel Benton, Adult Nanny, from Bend. Okay, Rachel's not really an adult nanny, but she could be and she should be and she takes care of me brilliantly every time I have the opportunity to spend time with her. My dad showed up midway through the round to walk with us, which always lifts me up and I like to think the other gals, too, because he truly appreciates the game we all have. I finished with a two stroke lead over Suzie and I think three discs in the water (oh, right, forgot to mention all the water on this course. It's pretty much everywhere. I think there is 5 holes without a real danger of water... oh, but don't worry, they're surrounded by damn pink lines for OB... don't want to breathe easy or anything during your 18 holes).


Rachel Benton putting on hole two
 

My sister, Molly, came out to have lunch with me and spectate with her family. Husband, Daniel and two beautiful girls, Annabel Wren (4) and Emaline Iris (ummm... she's a tiny baby). Annabel asks me at one point while I was frantically shoving food in my face and working on replenishing plastic in my bag, "Auntie, why are you putting more discs in your bag?"

And I replied, "Ummm, well, I threw a bunch in the water."

 

"That was silly," Annabel states, "If there's water, you should just throw the other direction."

 

"Yes, Annabel," I say, "That is very true. However, sometimes you have to throw it over the water."

 

"Oh," she replies, furrowing her brow in consideration of this, "Well, then, if you have to throw it over the water, you should just throw it really far."

 

As far as the ORDGC goes, those are words to live by. I didn't for one moment for the rest of the weekend forget them.

Becky Terrill driving on hole 12
 

And this brings me to my mental state. It was good. I surrounded myself in a bubble of pure happiness and ease and love of what I was doing and where I was and most important of all, confidence. For two years now, I have known (well, the people around me have known) that I had this kind of golf in me, and what we have all known is that the only thing getting in my way... well, was my brain. Eugene Celebration? What happened? I let my brain get all up in my head. Ugh. ORDGC? My brain was too busy believing in every shot to mess with my head. For two years this has been my struggle. Not letting my brain mess with my golf. I know that it is not over... probably it will never be completely over (I am a head case, after all). But certainly, this was a hell of a victory.

 

After the second round, I had an 11 stroke lead. And so did Cindy! We saw eachother briefly before I went home for the night, right after the advanced ladies finished the most epic golf of the weekend... 10.5 hours of nonstop championship golf... 5 minutes to run to the car to make a peanut butter sandwich does not count as stopping. Guess how many of them dropped out due to exhaustion and fatigue? That's right! None! Them gals are tough. Don't mess with them.

Advanced ladies Cindy, Chris, Janine, Tanya

 

Sunday's forecast was for a deterioration in the weather and I went to bed feeling lucky at how dry we'd been on Saturday and again with my "Sexy gator, native Oregonian" mantra running through my head. It stormed that night, pounding rain like we hadn't seen since, well, I guess just since June, since we had such a rainy summer, but still... and then, the next morning... not a drop to be found... more beautiful clouds and sunbreaks and peeks at blue sky on the drive to the park. More giddiness and boundless joy overflowing my soul.

 

I think it did rain... but I don't in all honesty remember much in very great detail of Sunday's round. I was in a focused groove of just throwing... throwing and throwing well and never stopping believing, no matter how many discs of mine went in the water (5) or if I almost fell in head first to the nucular nastiness and had to be saved by my dad and Becky Terrill who grabbed my ankles while I flopped about entirely not gracefully whilst trying to rescue my second to last Vulcan of them all from the murky, muddy depths of the swampy water with my face but mere inches from the chilly surface and other such nonsense like having to take my shirt off in the middle of a round so it didn't get wet and when I got on the tee pad for the next hole having it pointed out to me that my shirt was, in fact, on inside out... none of this was to get into my head... I needed all that head space for throwing beautiful.


 

Open Women's Champion Emma & Advanced Women's Champion Cindy 

 

So, anyway, I won, Cindy won... mission accomplished. Oh, right, there were boys playing this thing, too... Luis Nava (love the Nava brothers!) took home first in Advanced Men and some dude you may have heard of named Nate Sexton dominated Open Men. However, gotta give some love to Sean Phillips for killing it in the final 9 (on his home course) to take second. Sean Phillips, seriously one of the nicest (and cutest... and tallest) boys in disc golf.

2011 ORDGC Open Men's Champion Nate Sexton

2011 ORDGC Advanced Men's Champion Luis Nava
 

Congratulations to everyone who played this course. It is not easy, but it is amazing. Some people hate it. Me? I love it. I love it's intimidating waterways and ridiculously narrow fairways and mean and nasty OB lines and I love the unexpected splendour that I have found amongst the cooling ponds for the now defunct and nonexistent Trojan Nuclear Plant. I adore that something so wonderful has come from something so... well... so dang nucular...

 

Another reason blogging is hard for me (besides that whole not having a computer thing)? First of all, I've never actually read a blog, except for a few from the NA site to try to get a feel for it, but I do think they're supposed to be timely and to the point, right? Ummmm... yeah, timely and short winded I am not. So thank you for your time it took to read my long winded ramblings. I hope I was able to effectively to transmit my joy through these cyber majiggers. Also, I can't figure out if I should go with first or third person so I just mix it up, which bugs me.

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