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I Made it to the Mountains.

I had decided to drop the Glass Blown Open in favor of heading to Peoria, IL to push my comfort zone a bit prior to heading out west. I’d like to eventually become a leader in the disc golf coaching realm, so rather than competing last week I was persistent at advertising my teaching services. Alongside running some small side events for the IL Amateur Championships (which were the first events I’ve ever ran), I got to teach 2 individual lessons and 2 group lessons, all of which were very fruitful and I was able to meet some wonderful people in the process. The more I teach lessons and analyze form videos, the more I’m finding some very common fundamental flaws that most players wanting more consistent distance/accuracy tend to struggle with. This is extremely comforting on my end as it fortifies my belief that a lot can be done in regards to giving tangible, big picture items to work on within a single hour-long lesson. As I move forward with putting my ideas out in the open, more and more of these common themes I’ve begun to notice will be publicly accessible.

As I pulled onto the highway to finally begin my 3-month journey west, reflecting upon the overwhelming love and support of my dreams from everyone in my life brought me to tears. Every “Bearhart” disc that I sold, every lesson I did, and every form video I analyzed over the past year or so was followed by so many genuinely uplifting words of encouragement. I can only hope that I’ve been able to deliver the same amount of love back to everyone I’ve been able to connect with over the past few years. Thank you all so much, you have filled my heart to the brim with joy and I’ll do my best to make you all proud in some way, shape or form in the coming years. I used to despise myself and the world around me when I was younger, so this feeling of peace has been blissful to say the least.

Driving alone for long periods of time has always been therapeutic to me. I’m convinced that disc golf and all the places it’s taken me has given me the perfect amount of solitude and challenge to keep me in a continuous state of self reflection. It’s allowed me to take my experiences and failures in this sport and use them to patch up some of my deepest insecurities. When you’re driving alone for hours, you have no distractions from eventually facing your true self. There’s nothing to stop you from thinking deeply about people you’ve hurt over the years, choices you’ve made to distract yourself from working towards what you want in life, and why. Initially, the pain can be unbearable and confusing, at least I can say it was for me when I began traveling more a few years back.

With all that said, as I watched the endless plains of Kansas slowly shift to the breathtaking mountains of Colorado, I had to smile after realizing that this drive was different. There was no pain to face, no regrets, and no self-hatred. There was a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment after realizing that my depression was gone and my dream was finally coming true because of it. All the years I spent reflecting, questioning who I was and why I kept running away from what I wanted had finally paid off. The feeling of having a quiet mind and consistently getting a good night’s sleep as a result has been beyond incredible and it’s been gradually showing more and more in my approach to the sport of disc golf.

Upon settling in to my destination in Colorado Springs, I was able to get some great elevation practice in after playing a gorgeous private mountain course called Beaver Ranch. It’s really fascinating how much more stable your equipment flies at 8800 ft. My Buzzes were flying like Wasps and my Forces were virtually unthrowable at such a high altitude. My 150g Pro D Rattler was flying over 300 feet on a frozen rope and my Z Heats were the longest flying discs in my bag. It was a blast getting to relearn my equipment and I already feel more confident about the tournament I’m playing in Woodland Park this weekend. I love learning more about this game and I’ve been trying to learn something new every time I pick up a disc. I’ve found that my negative emotions and depression are kept at bay when I’m constantly trying to challenge myself and take action on ideas that pop into my head. Little by little, things are beginning to click and my appreciation for life itself keeps growing larger.

I’ll be in Colorado until Sunday, then I begin heading further west for a long stretch of tournaments in the San Francisco area. Life is good.

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