Hey, beautiful people. I had the wonderful chance to meet the beautiful Maria (blog linked; check her out!) a while ago and we had a wonderfully fun day out in Brighton, eating cheesecake and chatting about blogging. (And slowly but surely murdering our long-suffering bank accounts.) As we both blog in different ways and drive […]
I have begun college this fall, and over the past few months my roommate and I have played guitar together and shared our musical tastes. Thankfully the Lord blessed me with a roommate that shares similar musical inclinations as I do, and we have started to write some of our own material. That, combined with the amount of music I have been diving into during homework sessions, has made me want to write a blog post about the top 5 albums that have influenced me as a songwriter/lyricist/artist. I did not think too long about these because I knew if I did I would not be able to decide, so these are five off the top of my head which have always been go-to listens for writing inspiration.
Of course, when composing a list like this you have to include some sort of restrictions so that the album selection does not get too broad. (Picking too broad of a topic is the only thing I learned NOT to do in senior composition class.) Here are the limits I chose for myself:
- No two albums from the same band can be on this list. If I allowed myself to do that, all the albums here might be from The Beatles … might.
- No “Greatest Hits” albums are allowed either. In my opinion that would be cheating. I would then be picking the top 5 artists that have influenced my musical taste and songwriting, and I would not be keeping to the spirit of picking albums.
- Lastly, they had to be albums I had listened to before coming to Truman State. (Go Dawgs) If I had let myself pick albums I have discovered too recently then I would have impulse included them. (e.g. An album by Falling In Reverse)
Now for the list, and –as a disclaimer– no one can argue this list, because I said at the start it is top 5 that influenced ME as a musical artist. If you have a top 5 that influenced you then feel free to start your own blog and you can comment a link to it below, thanks.
Unwind : Oleander
So there is this game I like to play. It is called “Go-to-the-local-CD-store-and-buy-a-random-album-out-of-the-bargain-bin” and then I sometimes am pleasantly surprised by what I get. This was one of those times. (Other times I do not get a winner. Such as a few days ago, when I picked How Bizarre by omc) I had to survive through the first track but after that it was a decent listen. Definitely worth the 2 bucks I spent on it. I think it is an accomplishment that one of these songs actually uses the word “benign”. That is a win in my book.
My favorite track is Tightrope. The instruments are used perfectly and I love the lyrics/metaphors used. This song really holds the whole album together and is why it made it on my list. If you play guitar I recommend learning the tab because I find it super fun to play.
American Idiot : Green Day
- Give Me Novacaine
- Wake Me Up When September Ends
Brilliant album. I always think it is cool when a band is not the normal four instruments, and Green Day does a fantastic job with just three members. This album was basically all I listened to this past summer. I do not approve of all the language used on this album, there are definitely some rough spots I avoid, but the some of the songs just have very strong lyrics. Probably the best one lyrically, for me, is “Wake Me Up When September Ends”. I’m a sucker for songs that show the passing of time. Probably the best example of this is “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. Green Day encompasses this with the lyrics saying, “seven years has gone so fast,” in the beginning, and in the end saying, “twenty years has gone so fast,” as well as, “Like my father’s come to pass.” This album can give you a wide variety of feelings from start to finish, and I think with different lyrics it would not have been near the substantial accomplishment it has become.
Five Score and Seven Years Ago : Relient K
- Up and Up
- Must Have Done Something Right
- The Best Thing
This album is included on Buzzfeed’s list of Pop Punk Albums you should hear before you die. As you can see I think it deserves it. The story of how I discovered this album is funny. A close relative left their case holding multiple CDs at the house when they left for college. One of them was this album burnt onto a disc and labeled in sharpie. As soon as I put it in I knew I had found something special, and the more I hear the first song the more I wish they had made it longer. All the lyrics reflect feelings I have often, and Relient K was the first example of a band that plays Christian based music, without being cheesy, that I had heard.
Once again one of my top songs is one that demonstrates time passing. Deathbed, although being super long, is my favorite on the album and it is comprised of a man reflecting on his life choices and how God has forgiven him.
Fourth From the Last : The W’s
- Alarm Clock
- Flower Tattoo
- The Devil Is Bad
- Open Minded
In terms of lyric writing, this album is a treasure chest. This is the first album I ever opened up and actually read the lyrics off of the cover pamphlet. That was because I had trouble at first understanding what all was being said. I couldn’t keep up, and Andrew Schar does a fantastic job with his rhyme placement. I loved their semi big band sound and how they would swing most songs. They were my introduction to ska and I have since become a major fan of the genre. The W’s make me wish I had been the age I am now, except two decades earlier.
No one song stands out exactly but all of them have gained my admiration due to the fact they are not extremely deep, just about everyday things, and yet they sound like so much more.
Please Please Me : The Beatles
- All of the tracks… basically
Since I had trouble picking just one Beatles album, I decided to pick the one with the most songs I knew. Please Please Me won because I knew 11 out of the 14 songs. (Sgt. Pepper’s almost got the win with 10 out of 13) Lennon-McCartney is probably the best songwriting duo that I have ever heard. This whole album encapsulates The Beatles that everyone remembers. Yes, some people remember the rooftop concert, but most people just think of the young boy Beatles when they imagine the band. The scream evoking mop-tops. I also really like this album because they truly poured themselves into it. I read the book Dreaming The Beatles by Rob Sheffield and he made a good point about how much the recording session meant to them. I believe that they spent something like 12 straight hours in the studio recording this record and you can tell, because by “Twist and Shout” Lennon’s voice is about to be gone. Such an album serves as inspiration to more than just me. It is for anyone that wants a quick education on how to write catchy songs.
Herman’s Hermits : Herman’s Hermits
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band : The Beatles
Every Second Counts : Plain White T’s
Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your opinions on what albums have influenced your musical taste! Also, I know these are all rock-ish albums, and I mean no disrespect to the other musical genres, they all have great lyricists too!
None of these pictures are mine.
Sometimes frisbee crosses over into my hobbies. This week it filled up my reading time.
I have spent a lot of time over the past two years searching the local libraries for literature about frisbee, with disc golf/ultimate in particular. The findings have been scarce. There was one book: Ultimate Techniques and Tactics. It was written by James Parinella and Eric Zaslow, two great players. It is almost written for an advanced level of ultimate players, because it goes straight into how to make your game better and doesn’t bother too much with the simple concepts. I did gain information from this book, but the point is that I needed something else to help me understand frisbee and its history first. The search continued.
My mother works at a school library, and I get the opportunity to sort through the deleted books occasionally. That is where I obtained a book that seemed, by appearance to be from the beginning of ultimate’s creation. It is titled: Frisbee. No surprise there! This book by Stancil E. Johnson looks to have been released in 1975, only nine years after the creation of ultimate! This is a very interesting read because it has a lot of out to date drawings and information since this amazing sport has evolved so much. Even so, it helped me to learn a lot more about the history of ultimate and the creation of its organizations as well as about the origins of Folf, which is now known to us all as disc golf.
I still was missing a piece of literature that almost every established sport has. A memoir or an autobiography from a former/present frisbee player, whether it be ultimate or disc golf. There seemed to none in sight… until a few weeks ago, when I once again typed in “frisbee” in the library catalog search. The first book to pop up was titled Ultimate Glory and written by David Gessner. I opened the webpage and placed a hold. While doing so, I noticed the status of the book was “on order” so I wondered how recent the book was written. It turns out it was published in 2017! So not only was I getting the content I had been searching for, I was also getting a book written in the here and now!
I would give Ultimate Glory, which I just finished last night, a 5/5 stars considering it is the only book of its kind so far. There are no other frisbee memoirs to compare it to so it deserves the best possible rating. It is suitable for young adults on up. Parents might want to monitor if their children read it because the language is not always appropriate and there are frequent drug references. Although this is to be expected since the book is written by an apparently somewhat atheistic man about his unwise college/twenties behavior that took place during a decade of drug experimentation. I would recommend the book to anyone who is a fan of flatball and wants to learn more about the gritty beginnings and the past decades of elite frisbee competition. This book can serve as an inspiration to play more or just throw more plastic than you do now.
Even if you are a skeptic of the sport, give it a chance. There are plenty of books out there that can help you decide if you should take it seriously. I’m biased obviously, but I feel that you should at least hear me out. Ultimate is in contention to be an Olympic sport, you should at least know how it works.
I feel I should provide advice concerning the entry into the sport of disc golf. I have a tweaked approach to learning the game than most websites, but if you want more information you should visit “noodle arm disc golf”. They have a good beginner tips article.
At least one basket, at least one disc, and at least one arm.
Getting a Basket:
Good quality chains are pricy. If you live within ten miles of a course, then I would think you could find time to use a basket there. (Disc golf is free if you hadn’t heard yet.) Having a personal basket is an integral part of becoming a consistent putter, but there is no better practice than “running” (or attempting) putts at a real course. Most people start playing the sport because it is cheap. Only once a person decides to get serious about their play should they think about getting their own basket.
Getting a Disc:
Now, this is what you must understand about discs before you spend money:
There is a difference between frisbees and discs. Discs are smaller and not great for catch. If you like regular frisbees then try a sport called ultimate frisbee.
In disc golf lingo, there are two types of discs. There are overstable discs and understable discs. If a disc is overstable that means when a right-handed person backhands a disc in a straight line the disc will finish its flight to the left. Discs that are understable are supposed to fly to the right or go straight and finish right. The more overstable a disc is, the harder it is to throw.
With this information, you will be wondering how to figure out what disc to purchase and how to purchase it. My first recommendation is DO NOT go into a local sporting goods store. Do not take this lightly. If you go into a store you will see a larger selection of discs than you know what to do with. You will then make about 5 impulse buys and spend money on discs you might not be able to throw. For your first disc, I would suggest going online. The big brands have their own shops and I would suggest Innova because that is the main plastic I throw. (All discs have flight rating systems but Innova’s makes the most sense and helps you understand a disc’s tendencies more pre-throw.)
Lots of consideration will go into the selection of a disc online. First you need to find something with stability that suits you. Here is the simplest way to point you in that direction: Look at the first number on the disc. Innova will tell you the first number stands for the “Speed” of the disc. This is an extremely misleading term because it does not tell you how fast the disc flies or how much it rotates. “Speed” is a complicated way of describing how fast you must release a disc for it to perform its ideal flight. For our case, we are going to re-label the first number. We are going to call it “Stability” instead.
Once at the Innova shop I would say that the best bet for a beginner is anything under a 6 stability. All discs come in multiple hardness of plastic. If you want a durable disc, then try to purchase the disc in champion plastic. If you are trying to conserve resources you can buy a DX plastic disc. The plastic of a disc should not change flights too much.
After the disc and plastic are selected the only thing remaining is the disc weight. Here is a rule of thumb for me that other websites will advise against. ALWAYS buy max weight discs. People suggest beginners throw lighter discs because they will go farther. This is a trap and an excuse companies make so that beginners will still buy their 12 speed drivers. No matter how light of a disc you throw, if you do not build your game up from the ground your incorrect form will take a long time to fix. The whole weight thing is a marketing gimmick. It is essential to purchase max weight discs that are less stable to begin with.
If all this becomes too much or too expensive just remember how much you could be spending on a club and a round of ball golf. That should reassure you.
Getting an Arm:
In the literal sense of a physical appendage, I hope my Lord has blessed you with a healthy body and one arm, minimum.
In the figurative sense of building your arm strength, I have a secret for you. It is all form. As helpful as lifting is to keep in shape it’s nonconsequential to disc throwing. I have not played much ball golf, but I have heard it is similar in how even people who are somewhat out of shape can drive a good distance just because of the swing. A good way to learn form is to look up film of your favorite player and analyze how they throw. Or look up form videos.
I hope I have guided you the way you needed help finding. For those about to throw, we salute you.
I have some personal bias towards courses with a small number of holes because my “home course” only consists of six holes. The course by my future university is also just nine holes. If there was an 18-hole setup within three miles of my house, then I might be fonder of them. Today I will attempt to give the positives and negatives of a six-hole course and help you to determine which you would prefer.
The fact the course only holds 6 holes means the person in charge didn’t have much land to plan around to start with. We can assume that even if one was to play through three times they still would be walking less than on an actual 18-hole course.
If the designer was stuck with a small piece of land, then it is probable that the baskets will never get moved. It is doubtful there will be multiple basket placements. This means the baskets should be where the sign says they are. (My father never agrees with distances that are written on signs. From experience, I must agree that the hole distances are never very accurate, even on a short course.)
Most “serious” disc golfers consider six hole courses jokes. For them six holes is just for practice not for actual scoring. (The funny thing is most of the serious ones still produce amateur scores on full length courses. If they were to try hard on a small course they might realize that it isn’t something to laugh at.) If you are trying to avoid other disc golf snobs or you are looking for a quick round a six-hole is empty most of the time.
Less discs lost.
If a course is shorter then there is less opportunity to lose any of your precious discs. On top of this, there is less traffic so if you do lose a disc you should be able to come back and find it later that week before someone else does.
If you do still want to play eighteen holes, by the third time around the course could get a little boring. This is especially true if the course is wide open and you’ve been cranking drives on every tee.
I already stated that other disc golfers might not think much of the small course. This is also true if the course is in a public park. Fellow park goers, oblivious to the use of the course, get in the way and don’t worry about getting out of the way. Then you will also worry about some mean kid stealing a disc before you can reach it or some dog chasing it. Also, lots of dog walkers think the property is there as a dog park. The moral is that we must show other people respect even if they don’t care about being respectful.
I know this is a little hypocritical of what I told you earlier. Hear me out. If a designer had less funding for a course, then the holes/tees should be numbered but you might not get a map. That means walking until you find the matching basket. It is not that big of a deal but people (like my dad) get frustrated when they are required to search for a hole.
If there was a higher demand for disc golf in a town then they would have a full 18 built. This means finding casual competition will not be easy and there is most likely not a disc golf club in the town. This means you have a lot of work or driving to do if you want to become very involved in the disc golf community.
Less discs found.
Most of the time disc golfers put their cell number on their discs. That means if their disc is found they’d like to get it back. I have returned two discs in the past and the golfers were very appreciative. If you lose a disc and someone else finds it then they are entitled to call you and return it. If not, they lack something that the rest of us considerate humans have. If you have given up on finding a disc on a six-hole course it is doubtful you’ll ever get called about that disc. Maybe no one will ever find it.
I do enjoy the six-hole course that is in my hometown. I play it, on average, three times a week. If you are a beginner or an amateur, then you will enjoy a small course. I have found it is a great place to play a putter-only round, if you are familiar with those. I would also like to warn all beginners: You will be discouraged if you try eighteen holes right off the bat. I plan on writing a post for new beginners soon so hold tight.
Hello, it has been quite a while since I posted anything, and I figured that I might as well update my bag so you can see all the changes. Also, I am not doing too much physical activity because I had my wisdom teeth removed yesterday. (What a pain).
I will start with my putters. I have had many putters come and go in my bag since my first post, but recently I have discovered a putter I might use for a long time.
I have two of these putters, and they are both 172 grams. One is K3 line plastic and the other is K1 line. Long story short, I walked into the local Play-It-Again store and was looking for a Discmania putter to fill the hole I had in my short game. The store had just received a large influx of a brand I had never seen before: Kastaplast. I touched one of their putters and I loved how the plastic felt as well as the shape of the disc. As much as it is against my custom to buy non-Innova discs, I purchased it and haven’t looked back. I have yet to find an Innova putter that is as flat across the surface and as straight flying as the REKO. Also, the K1 line plastic is surprisingly durable. The REKO gives me confidence I can hit putts from anywhere.
As I mentioned in my first “In The Bag” I have two XT Novas. They hold their line to a “T”. The downside of how shapeable they are being you can easily put too much juice on them. The plastic on the rim is very grippy and the Nova is a great upshot disc because it loves to stick its landings. One 171 grams and one is 175 grams.
Building on top of my putters is my Mid-Ranges. I’ve cut down my Mid selection considerably since my first post. It only consists of two discs now. If you need other Mid-Range ideas and tips I suggest watching Big Jerm’s “In the Bag” on Youtube.
KC Pro Roc
I believe this is the oldest disc in my bag. (Oldest meaning the disc I have held onto the longest, not meaning the oldest by production date.) It has taken over the duties of my fairway drivers and I use it for many things including drives and upshots and maybe putts. It flies a great line if you throw it flat. I can easily get it to hyzer or anhyzer accurately. A point and shoot disc. I recommend it to beginners in any plastic. If you can learn to throw a Roc you might not even need to buy that metal flake Gator or that Star Mako3. (I don’t know if either of those even exist) The point being that a Roc can solve all your Mid-Range problems and save you money and bag space as your skills grow. 175 grams.
I needed a version of a Roc that I could throw in rough areas so I would not have to risk tearing up my only KC Pro. The G-Star plastic serves this role well and it seriously might fly straighter than my KC Pro Roc. This VRoc is good on the rocks, haha. It is 171 grams.
Now my Fairway Driver. I just have one disc in this section
The result of throwing mainly my Roc for approach shots and such leaves little room for Fairway discs to be included in my game. If you have watched any of Simon Lizotte’s videos he says that he either throws down on drivers for shorter shots or he throws up on putters. He doesn’t worry too much about the in between. My Champion Leopard is what I throw in wooded areas for approach and finesse shots. It has become a utility disc at best. It is 171 grams.
Now for the largest part of my bag. The distance drivers. This is the part of my bag that has transformed the most. My form has become much better since my first “In The Bag” and so my distance selection has expanded along with my skills.
Glow Champion Destroyer
This is the only disc that remains in my distance arsenal from the first article. As I mentioned then, it is very overstable and has a skip/roll at the end of its flight which I can’t get my other discs to perform. You can visit my previous article for more on it. I think it is the only tournament stamped disc I currently carry. It is my main forehand disc and weighs 168 grams.
Blizzard Champion Boss
151 grams of pure stable plastic. I got it with the recent David Wiggins Jr. distance record stamp. Probably the most enjoyable things in a round of 18 is letting this disc fly and seeing it glide a big S-curve. I just bought it brand new and I can’t wait to throw it more and to see how it performs once it is beat in. It should become a mainstay in my bag.
Dad gave me this predictable and reliable disc. It is 171 grams and has a smooth hyzer. I can get a good release on it both forehand and backhand. Comfortable in my hand. I’ll be keeping it a while and probably could use another one.
175 grams. It has become my main disc for long distance lines. It feels like a Destroyer with more dome. It flies well both forehand and backhand but backhand is much more efficient. It is my pin money disc.
I bought this two days ago because I read online that it is torque resistant. That is what I am looking for in my distance discs. The rim is not very comfortable but it isn’t painful. I have only thrown it about five times and it has not let me down. We will see how helpful it is moving forward. It is 175 grams.
To be completely honest I must say this disc is rarely used and I think I will trade it for something else soon. It gets insane distance, but what Discmania gained in distance with this disc it lacked in stability and control.
This disc is a backhand MONSTER. It is comfy to throw and reliable on its paths. I feel as if it is a beefed-up Leopard. The only downside to this disc is the P-Line plastic beats in very, very quickly. It is 175 grams.
Another 175 grams. I purchased this disc because, like I previously stated, my P-Line was not going to last me very long. This disc works both forehand and backhand.
While my parents were vacationing in South Carolina they bought me this disc as a souvenir. I do not throw it a whole lot but there is a funny story with this disc. One of the few times I used it was when I obtained the only Eagle in my career. It has nice glide but is almost too easy to turnover.
And that is all that is in my bag as of right now! A lot has happened to my game since the first time I did this, including a ruptured Achilles tendon, a weekend membership drive and I joined a local club. I look forward to having major improvement in my game this summer as I learn my discs’ limits and tendencies. Be prepared for an eventual Summer “In The Bag”.
My father recently purchased me a used guitar. It was in “okay” condition. It made noise, and when it was in tune it sounded like a guitar. It was apparent from the start that all three pickups were different. We could not tell from the outside or from our googling which pickup was the original or if any of them were stock. On top of this, the switch only worked in certain positions and the tone/volume control knobs were worn and grimy.
It needed some work and some TLC. My father and I opened it up and found that the neck pickup’s left screw hole was broken and the previous owner had just taped it the screw to the pickup. The other two pickups appeared to be in fine condition, but they took up so much space inside the body that the pick guard was sort of hunched up around the middle pickup. They were forcing the pick guard to bend.
My dad and I discussed the next step. I mentioned how I loved the guitar in its current state but I would like to get a pickup to replace the broken/taped one at the neck. After some online browsing my father decided that he would just buy a set of three new pickups. I was excited by his decision and when he said that he had bought a set of EMG’s I readily agreed. That being said, this was the first custom guitar my father and I had attempted, so we did not realize until the day afterward that the pickups he had ordered were active instead of passive.
Up until this point we had no idea there were different types of pickups, we just thought there were different brands. After more googling on our part we discovered active pickups require a battery to be included in the inside of the guitar. Passive pickups do not have to be charged by a battery. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, because the active pickups allowed for easier setup and less soldering. Also, they just give a guitar such a slicker appearance.
After completion of installation I still have some static I have to deal with and the pick guard is still a little hunched. The switch didn’t fit in the original slot because it was too long, so we ended up drilling two new holes but they don’t stand out because the pick guard is black. I am proud of the job my father and I did and I hope this post encourages other guitar players to try their hand at customization. It makes the guitar much more valuable to the player if they have worked on it personally.
The strongest and largest tendon in our body, the calcaneal tendon, was named after the Greek god Achilles. I have not yet determined if this was because Achilles was defeated in battle because of his harmed leg or if it was because he was the strongest and largest fighter on the battlefield. I know for a fact, as well as from experience, that if my calcaneal tendon was disabled mid-battle I would be rendered almost utterly useless and immobile. Mine was ruptured clean through during an ultimate frisbee pickup game, not a Greek and Trojan war, and I could barely hobble to my car to drive home. If you have just suffered of a similar series of events, or you plan on rupturing your calcaneal tendon in the future, here are the warning signals of which you should be attentive.
I was going up for a defensive deflection. (Playing the “deep deep” position of our matchup zone, for you Ultimate players.) There was a cherry picker named Chuck that I was attempting a chase down block on. I backpedaled with my eyes on the disc then I wound up for the leap of glory. Except it never came. As I began to leave the ground I collapsed in pain. I was sure I had just felt Chuck’s toe contacting the back of my heel. After the fact, I found out that anyone who suffers from a rupture says the same thing. They all were kicked in their tendon too, even when there wasn’t another soul around. It is the first sign.
I laid on the ground slightly holding my left ankle. It is not unbearable pain and I did not cry, but it was by far the biggest injury I have suffered in my athletic career. For this reason, all my buddies came over and asked if I was okay but none of them seemed too concerned. They had just come to assume I would get back up and shake it off. That’s how it usually goes. I sat for an extended period and then was helped up, but something was wrong. I could not apply pressure to any of my toes on my left foot. That is the second sign.
After explaining it to my parents when I returned home I was then scheduled for an appointment at Peak Sport and Spine three days later. My foot swelled up and developed a bruise in the side of my heel. It was dark purple and blue. I still could not use my left toes to any capacity. That is the third sign.
Arriving for my appointment, I noticed the therapist and her assistant were not very hopeful looking. The therapist tried to keep me somewhat hopeful but I sensed a feeling from the student intern that this was a serious situation. She said she had never seen someone as young as me have a complete rupture. She scheduled an appointment at an Orthopedic Group for me. She said if I was not in pain then it meant that the tendon was clean tore apart. My pain had already disappeared. That is the fourth sign
I went to the orthopedic doctor. He squeezed my calves and my left foot did not react properly. He began reassuring me that it would be completely possible for me to return to full activity after rehab, that it would not end my athletic career. He tried to put me at ease, but I failed all his tests and he scheduled an MRI for me the next day. That is the fifth sign.
On my way to the MRI that day I received a call. I was informed that my MRI had been canceled. The doctors at the group had consulted and decided that it was obvious enough how badly I had hurt myself. They would not need an MRI to confirm it. Instead I was scheduled for an appointment with the surgeon to discuss different ways of fixing the tendon. That is the sixth sign.
Long story short, once you reach this point in your injury timeline, you have most definitely torn your Achilles tendon. I am sorry that you too must share this unique experience. Do not fear, surgery is not painful and you will most likely wake up from whatever sleep they put you in. You will be unable to walk on your left foot for four weeks, and even then, you’ll have to walk in a boot. If you have low pain tolerance you might be unable to walk in the boot for close to a week before it is comfortable. That puts it at five weeks.
With all this sitting time you will be doing you might as well purchase a gaming system, or convince your mother to buy you one. Happy healing!
There is an aspect of every sport that people enjoy debating. Who is the best? They are perpetual arguments and drive serious sports fanatics to research. It convinces them that they must obtain as much historical evidence and data as they can to support their side. In the NBA there is the MJ and Kobe argument. (Some older, uninformed, relative will over hear the conflict and try to be astute by claiming, “Wilt Chamberlain was the GOAT. Just look at his numbers.”) Or, for Spurs fans like me, there is the argument that Duncan was the best power forward ever. (This is where the same relative from earlier interjects, “Tim Duncan wasn’t even a power forward! He was a center.”) For NFL fans then there is always the more current acclamation that Tom Brady has proven himself as the greatest quarterback in league history. All of the well-known sports have such discussions.
Professional disc golf fans have nothing to discuss.
Kenneth R. Climo, PDGA #4297. He goes by Ken and is also known as “The Champ”. It is IMPOSSIBLE to argue his greatness or his secure place upon the disc golf Mount Rushmore.
Before we jump into his career and stats let us answer a question. What makes an athlete great in their sport? There are many ways to make cases for greatness. In most sports you win by scoring the most points so the statisticians keep track of career points. More points make a player greater maybe? Or, greatness could be all the accolades that come along with their success, such as MVP awards or the Gold Glove and FIFA Golden Ball award.
When I look at an athlete and discuss their greatness I go directly to the championships column. Championships are the ultimate test and the things that athletic competitors live for. If a player competed for a lengthy career he should have multiple championships to be considered great. Sorry for another NBA example but this will show my point of view:
Playing career: 1956-1969.
Championships: 11, made the playoffs every year of his career and won a string of 8 consecutive championships between ’58 and ’66.
Playing career: 1959-1973.
Looking at this comparison tell me who was/is the GOAT. Guess which one has the NBA Finals MVP award named after him?
Greatness is exemplified by the champions who continue to win. Winning becomes a habit to them, and it is almost a yearly event. Not only did Bill win eleven championships in only 13 years of playing he did it against great competition. Wilt is considered one of the best ever, but they played at the SAME TIME. Bill obviously was the one doing something right. (I will address teammate quality shortly.) We will use the Russell blueprint to examine Ken’s disc golf greatness.
Ken Climo started playing disc golf late in high school but did not turn pro until 1988, when he would have been about 20. He still plays a few tournaments a year, and he continues to win now at the age of 49, presently competing in the Masters division. The most recent record on Wikipedia has him notched at 231 career professional wins with 103 recorded aces. If he has, in fact, been playing for 29 years that would mean he averages 3.6 aces a year. (I have yet to hit a single, lonesome one…) Here is the really important stat: Ken has 12 open division Disc Golf World Championships. He has 3 more World titles in the Masters division, placing his career total at 15!! He also is a five-time champ of the U.S. Disc Golf Championships.
Like Bill Russell, Ken won multiple consecutive championships, refusing to lose at Worlds from 1990-1998. That is unprecedented! Even more impressive is that he was solely responsible for the accomplishments. In the Russell vs. Wilt argument we have to consider that Bill might have just been blessed to land on productive and motivated teams while Wilt could have been stuck on teams of losers. There is not this margin of error when observing what Ken Climo has done. He did not require help from a team, he won 9 consecutive titles with his own hands.
If disc golf would have had as much media coverage then as it does now, Ken would be on the lead card of every YouTube video that SpinTV produced. If it had as much coverage as ball golf receives then he would be as coveted as Tiger Woods. Fans would watch his game no matter where on the leaderboard he sat. He would be more royalty than he already is.
As we come full circle the reality is that there have been many disc golfers that have won and many that are going to win in the future, just as in all sports. Ken just decided to win at the right time and for a long time. I want to be like Ken. (Not “Mike”, get it?)
If you would like to learn more about the man who represents disc golf’s Gold Standard, I would suggest watching the 1999 World Championships on YouTube. (Spoiler, Ken does not win that year, but he should’ve because I don’t know how Ron Russell made any putts with the form he used.) Wikipedia will give you a full account of his honors and accomplishments. You can also google the episode of Final Round Radio podcast that has Climo as their guest speaker. It is very insightful into his very confident mindset and the only lengthy interview I can find of him on the internet. I truly wish we had more footage of Climo’s game in his prime.