A New Olympic Sport?

You get extra points if you immediately know what this image is and what it means. Until a few weeks ago, I would have had no idea  — A new kind of container for growing tomatoes? A techno-modern jewelry holder?  An industrial-minimalist magazine organizer? Good guesses. But all wrong. The orange part depicts a basket (or “disc entrapment device”) used in playing disc golf and, since this course was in the sandy wilds of north Florida, the arrows are directing you to the next hole so that you don’t get lost and subsequently carried away/eaten by hordes of mosquitoes. Do you know anything about disc golf? I was completely clueless until I hung out with my 13-year-old nephew and his mom (my sister-in-law) and dad (my brother) during our recent family beach trip. Banish all thoughts of lazily playing Frisbee with your dog — which, by the way, is never as successful as it looks on TV — because the only thing that carefree activity has in common with competitive disc golf is you throwing something. A disc-golf family like my nephew’s travels to courses and competitions the way other families take to the road for high-level baseball or softball games. When playing a course, competitors lug around backpacks filled with a couple of dozen discs and say things such as “This mid-range one is good for a hyzer flip, or should I use an overstable disc for a low-speed right backhand fade?” Since trees are the main challenge, my nephew suggested I make my first disc-golf attempt when we reached the one hole that was in the open — although you had to throw across a 700-foot-long ravine. Luckily, my brother volunteered to climb down and retrieve my discs that barely made it … well … I’d generously say 25 feet. This is serious stuff and much, much harder than it looks. I will never smile again when the subject of disc-golf at the summer Olympics comes up.

A Blue-Ribbon Effort, or Why Was Your 1994 Soccer Team Named ‘The SandSharks’?

Thank you all for wondering where I’ve been the past few days. I think this photo says it all, and here are some clues: I’ve been collecting boxes and saving newspapers from the recycling bin. I’ve been comparing prices on new refrigerators. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s really up in the attic and is it worth bringing down. And I’ve been wandering through more than two decades of family memories. Yup, you guessed it. My husband and I are packing up and moving out. After having our house on the market for one year — that’s ONE FREAKIN’ WHOLE YEAR, people! — our always patient and optimistic Realtor has found the perfect family for it, and we’re outta here.  But as I keep telling folks, we’re not really moving away. We’re just sort of transferring our stuff a little bit down the road. We’re downsizing to a cute new house that’s an easy commute for both my husband and I — we don’t even have to get new library cards, so that’s a good thing. But we do have to go through all the Very Important Things we’ve accumulated through the years. And we’ve accumulated a lot. I mean, I’ve been decluttering and throwing away and simplifying for months now, and we’re still uncovering hidden treasures. Such as my two now-20-something-year-old daughters’ sports ribbons and trophies. I can’t throw them away. You can’t recycle trophies (I’ve tried). My daughters don’t really have space for them but don’t want to get rid of them. So they chose a few memorable ones (you know — pardon me while I brag here — record-breakers, high-point winners, first places) and we boxed up the rest and designated them as “Keepers.” So let this serve as a cautionary tale for all you young parents out there who are so proud of the trophies and plaques and ribbons and medals your children are starting to bring home. Warning, warning! You’re going to have to deal with them all someday. Don’t think you can just put them under the bed and be done with them. Oh, no! In fact, I think they multiply while we’re not looking.