DISCS & ZEN – Growing the sport by owning the sport.

On the Zen Disc Golf Podcast we talk a ton about growing the sport of disc golf and we like to ask the question, “What does growing the sport mean to you? Is it an active process or is it something we hope just sort of happens by dropping the hashtag #growthesport? A few weeks ago, I asked that question on my twitter and got a lot of fantastic responses, all of them really great and unique in there own way.

Over the past few years I have really wanted to get some people from the fire department (where I work) to come out and play, but could never seem to get anyone out on the course. After a long time of failing to make any great stride in getting them to come out and play, I began rationalizing in my mind that it’s just near impossible to interest a bunch of crossfitting, football obsessed, alpha-males to commit to an hour of throwing a bunch of frisbees in the woods.

Then I was transferred to a new station and for some reason I decided I would try a new approach with my new crew. Instead of waiting for them to find out that I played this “weird thing called disc golf” and then putting myself in a defensive position to try and defend snide remarks, I decided to flip the script and go offensive.

I brought my bag of discs in the station and dropped them on the coffee table in the day room and began re-organizing my bag in front of everyone. Then, as I was asked “What are those?” I began answering – “These are disc golf discs. If you’ve never played, it’s a blast! I’m playing tomorrow. I would love to take you out on the course and teach you. I know you’ll love it.”

Within the next few weeks, I had 3 crew members on the course learning to throw. Almost all of them have since bought their first set of discs and year passes to the course. As they put it, they are “all in.” We even have an upcoming tournament between two of our fire stations coming up soon.

Why had it taken me YEARS to get someone from work out on the course? Because instead of merely being defensive over the game – I OWNED it. By owning it, I mean I took pride in it. I showed an enthusiasm which intrigued others and that proved to be way more powerful than casually just mentioning “I play disc golf” and anticipating negative remarks.

There are many ways people are out there growing the sport. In Episode 3 of the Zen Disc Golf Podcast we talk to Good Up Disc Golf, a group of guys in Texas bringing Disc Golf to the public schools and youth. In (upcoming) Episode 4  I get to talk to Alan Hargreaves who brought disc golf to many while doing mental health outreach. But growing disc golf in numbers both small and large really starts with us as being ambassadors of the sport. I admit that this small change in my own attitude has grown the sport by at least 10 new players this past month. At least 1 member of my fire station has already brought his son out to the course, introducing the next generation. All because I decided to OWN it and show the same enthusiasm I show on the podcast or in my book to my co-workers.

It’s really interesting seeing what can be achieved with a solid shift in attitude.

Patrick McCormick
– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast

Featured photo by @skaibitriinu (Instagram)
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One thought on “DISCS & ZEN – Growing the sport by owning the sport.

  1. Matt Liebig says:

    So a couple years ago my town had set up a really awesome 18 hole disc golf course in our town park. Well the park has a nice little lake in it. The designer of the course put 3-4 holes by the water. Well people were throwing there discs in the lake by accident, so the park board took the course out. I’ve been going to park board meetings trying to “own it” like this guy did but I’m not sure it’s working. If there is any way I could get some help or something it’d be greatly appreciated!!

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