I’ve been quiet on the writing side recently. Funny thing is my mind has been anything but quiet with all these new things happening in my life, so I suppose I should give a quick update on where my head, my life, and my heart are at the moment. This one might be a bit scatterbrained of a read but recently that’s just how my thoughts have been.
The “offseason” has been interesting to say the least. After 7 months of touring the country playing and teaching disc golf, fighting through injuries, failing, succeeding, daydreaming, crying, singing at the top of my lungs, sleeping on strangers’ couches, their floors, and in their yards, running out of gas, making new friends, deepening bonds with old ones, falling in love, bottling it up, hating myself, loving myself, questioning my existence, rediscovering it, seeing the Redwoods, the mountains, the cities, and everything in between, I made it back home to Illinois to spend probably my last couple months in town before heading back out on the road permanently to do it all over again.
As you can see, 2018 was a beautiful rollercoaster. I kinda like it that way.
The bitter cold weather of Illinois winters give me horrible cabin fever and this year it’s safe to say it drove me crazy to the point of not wanting to feel that ever again. Upon deciding that I’d be heading south for the rest of my winters, I used my last few months in northern Chicagoland to work on myself in solitude. For me, that meant fixing my shoulder impingement issues and continuing to meditate and come to terms with the fact that my brain and my heart both work differently than pretty much all of my friends and my family. The comforts of a “normal” life might sound nice at the moment, but they don’t align with what I need to do right now. Maybe later on in life I’ll fly to that foreign planet and give it a try.
After this crazy 2018 season, one of my biggest dreams came true. After fearing that I might not have been able to compete in the 2018 USDGC due to my shoulder flaring up again, I ended up wearing this super clunky shoulder brace I bought on Amazon to limit my motion and make sure I could at least throw with a tiny bit of confidence. To my surprise it worked to PERFECTION. After a lackluster first round I finished US Championship in 24th place, shooting one of the best rounds of my career to finish the event, all with a really messed up shoulder. I received a congratulatory message from my team manager at Discraft right after the round ended that mentioned I’d be promoted to the Elite Team in 2019 if I stayed healthy and wanted to tour again. Not ashamed to say I cried as I read that message. After all the ups and downs that my first season on the road brought me, it felt like my hard work and passion was recognized. For those of you who don’t know what that promotion means, the Elite Team is Discraft’s highest level of sponsorship where you’re essentially treated as a pro athlete. Tournament entries paid for, signature series disc with royalties, and for me specifically, touring in their brand new RV with the new team captain Paul Ulibarri, a player whose passion for the game and innate work ethic is exactly what I want to surround myself with. This year I realized that my long-term goal is to solidify my place in this sport and work within the game forever, however that may be. With the financial burden lifted and a potential career path opening up for me, I’m beyond ready to get back on the road and start executing and sharing my own passion for this game even more than before.
I’m currently in Jacksonville Beach, Florida escaping the Chicago winter and working hard to get into playing shape yet again. I head to southern California in a month to kick off my season at the Wintertime Open. Be on the lookout for some awesome content coming from the Discraft team this year. Life is so good.
SIDE NOTE: While we’re kind of on the topic of my shoulder I’ll give you a quick update. My shoulder is fixed! I worked with an awesome trainer all winter to make sure I was exercising to suit my specific needs as an athlete, and he quickly identified the reason my shoulder was in so much pain all the time. My pec minor and lat muscles on my left side weren’t firing at all when I was doing any sort of pulling exercises. They were so tight that my scapula wasn’t moving properly when I’d lift or pull something with my left arm, causing rotator cuff tendons to get pinched between bone. After a couple weeks of using daily self-massage techniques, my left shoulder is more mobile than it’s been in a long time and I don’t have to use my brace to throw anymore. Throwing a disc without fear is one of the best feelings ever. Confidence is sky high.