Discs and Dogs

<%image(20050508-disc golf hole.jpg|84|110|disc golf)%> The sun was out, the birds were chirping, and the discs were stowed away in my Corolla. After tanking up on fuel and coffee, I wound my way through the country lanes to Tinicum Park down by the Delaware river. I had been restraining myself all week from the disc golf course. Now that the weekend had arrived and the day was picture perfect, I imagined myself heaving my discs toward the baskets in green fields, quiet groves of trees, and amid the towering ridge near the river.

Pulling up to the park I noticed a virtual sea or cars, mobile homes, and tents. Something was terribly wrong . . .

While waiting in a long line of cars for parking, I was trying to discern what the big event was. Looking out over the field that would have comprised holes 3, 4, and 5, but was serving as a parking lot for mobile homes, I noticed people walking with well-groomed dogs. Ah yes, we were about due for the dog show.

Nearly overnight a virtual town had descended on my disc golf paradise. Holes 1-5 were certainly out, with cars, tents and marked off areas swallowing up the course. As far as I could tell, portions of the back nine were also in jeopardy at the hands of the animal melee.

My one solace was a park ranger who walked by my idling car. I asked about the course and he said that a few holes should still be open. He let me park in the “disc golf” parking area (which saved me a heck of a walk!), and I was off on my adventure.

To the background of barking and portable generators, I waded through the mobile homes for the relative sanctuary of the woods. Being the only fool playing disc golf, I was able to play each hole several times, doubling my good shots and exponentially multiplying my lousy ones. There were times where I simply could not find the basket, figuring that they had moved it to make room for the dog owners. Other holes were open, but the tee off locations were engulfed by the crowd, forcing me to creatively invent new places to start from.

All in all, it was a pretty good disc golf day, though a bit unorthodox. It was just a wonderful day to be outside and to relax. The supreme irony I suppose is that I’m not a dog lover, though my wife and our friends are really big fans. There I was by myself, surrounded by a canine compound and packing a cell phone with a dead battery in a cell dead zone any way that would keep me from contacting my friends who would have come to the dog show in heart beat.

The up side for the future is that I will be incredibly greatful every time I go to my disc golf sanctuary at Tinicum and find it open, quiet, and relatively dog-free.