Now that I can say with certainty that I am not playing any more events this year, given my ailing back, my job search, my family, my Ubering… etc, it’s time to review how I did on my predictions this year. SURELY I could do better than last year where I completed a whopping 2 of my 15 goals. I mean, I’ve lowered the bar so much over the years that I could basically wriggle over it at this point. Well, let’s see:
1) Play in enough tourneys to justify the $75 PDGA fee.
FAIL. I needed to play in 8 PDGA events in order to make back every dollar of the fee. I played in 7. Essentially, I paid $5 more in fees than I should have. Technically I didn’t hit this one, but it’s pretty close. But I’m nothing if not pedantic. 0-1.
2) Cash in a tournament. At all.
SUCCESS! Talk about lowering the bar. Last year was the first year since becoming a full time pro in 2006 that I didn’t cash. So I did cash, three times actually. The first was a cheapie, coming in 2nd in an very weak field where only four players even finished (I averaged under my rating for the record). Then I managed to come in 9th in an extremely strong fielded King of the Lake. Oddly, I won more at the cheapie Dayton event, but that’s neither here nor there. I finished off with a good finish at Bijou, which is surprisingly becoming one of my better courses. It continues my weird trend of even-year success at disc golf.
3) Top 3 at either Sun Valley tournament.
FAIL. There was only one tourney there this year and I did pretty poorly at it, throwing my two worst sanctioned rounds ever at Sun Valley. I average 15 points below my rating and was 9 strokes off the cash line. Ugh. Turns out my weak arm is really exposed there, where worse players who can throw farther have easier up shots than me every single hole.
4) Cash for the first time in the Sierra Series.
FAIL, but with a caveat. I’m not sure there even *is* a cash line at the Series anymore. I mean, TECHNICALLY I came in 3rd out of all qualifying players, having played in only 4 events (1st, 2nd, and 4th all played more events than me). But I don’t think anything even went to the winners this year. Maybe it did? I don’t know. I basically stopped playing disc golf after King of the Lake in July for the 2nd straight year.
5) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes.
SUCCESS! The worst I came was 3rd to last (twice) but with a many stroke buffer between me and the bottom. One might argue that this bar is very low, but I will take my victories wherever I can.
6) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.
FAIL. The most frustrating fail of all, really. It’s now been almost ten years of competing against him, and in the past the best I’d done was tie him (once? twice? I forget). My best shot was at King of the Lake, where I played the highest-rated tournament I’ve ever played over 5 rounds. In one round, he blew me out of the water, beating me by 8. Two other rounds he just scraped by with 3-stroke victories. What about the other two? TWO TIES! That’s right, I tied him again in two consecutive rounds, at Bijou and then the next day at Truckee. I. Just. Can’t. Beat. Him.
7) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive.
SUCCESS! I was playing through some pretty severe back pain and a couple of times had to choke down a few ibuprofin (or stronger) to start the last round, but each time I pulled through. We’ll see how next year goes, as my body doesn’t appear to be reversed the trend of deteriorating rapidly.
8) At least 1 1000-rated round.
SUCCESS, but man, only by the specific wording I used. I did shoot one 1000 rated round exactly, at Bijou at King of the Lake. Interestingly, I shot three strokes better on a slightly easier layout only a few weeks later and it was rated a measly 992. Go figure.
9) At least 1 round over 1010.
FAIL. I now think my best chance of this is when I become Masters age in 2018, especially if I play in a major tourney like Worlds. But for the time being, I gotta be content that I at least have 15 thousand rated rounds to my name, even if 14 of them are 1010 and lower.
10) No more than 1 round below 930.
SUCCESS! I did throw a 926 rated round, though to be extremely picky it wasn’t during a tournament, it was during the sanctioned league. I threw a couple of duds in that league, though some were rated lower than expected because the league was full of people with otherwise poor ratings who were playing only on their best course. Either way, it was a success. My next lowest rated round was a 937 (also during league).
11) Have my rating at some point this year move out of the 959-969 range.
SUCCESS! Talk about the cheapest of the cheap. The way I phrased this question implied that a NEGATIVE rating would achieve success, and that’s what happened. What’s more, I only dropped one point below my arbitrary range, to 958. This rating stayed for 3 ratings periods. So by just changing my range, I’ve been within a rating of 958-969 for 28 straight ratings updates (a period of over four years).
12) Hit one ace.
FAIL. No caveats here. No aces either. Though I did throw two remarkable ace runs on the same hole in back to back rounds (hole 26 in the right position at Lizard Peak) that were almost exactly the same. But yeah, no aces this year.
13) Camp out and actually have the “fun” experience at one of the Turtle Rock tourneys.
SUCCESS! And how. Much went into planning this one night, from making sure it was okay with Ash to preparing the van to sleep there to finding a place to legally park… all to really drink too much (after a game of a game I dubbed Jengboccshoes since nobody seems to know the name). It was bad enough where the next round the next day I was “STUNK” as Matt coined the term for “hungover, probably still drunk”. If I put this one on my list next year, it’s going to be to go and have a pleasant campout experience that doesn’t jeopardize my tournament. (I missed cash by only a few strokes that tourney, playing well in my other two rounds.)
14) Play dubs at least 5 times this year.
I genuinely don’t know. I played dubs a bit in the beginning of the year, but then it petered out when the sanctioned league started up. Did I play five times? Sure. I’m gonna say I did. Who’s gonna say I’m lying. SUCCESS!
15) Try to have fun.
SUCCESS! I normally don’t like these subjective goals, but I can say without hesitation that I had fun playing disc golf this year, even when my back was acting up. Last year I got burned out after King of the Lake (the disappointing finish there might have had something to do with it). I wasn’t having fun. This year I did basically stop after KotL, excluding a one-off while travelling in Virginia, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying myself. It was coincidence. Of the 4 tournaments I had on my schedule to play afterwards, each of them had a major conflict:
Sierra College – This tourney was (and always seems to land on) Ash’s and my birthdays. Oddly, that’s not why I didn’t play it. Two weeks before I had been out of town for a work interview in NY, and the week prior I was back on the east coast for a wedding. It was a no-brainer to change my plans to be home with the fam.
Markleeville Mayhem – my first diagnostic back injection. I withdrew from the tourney, and even if I had stayed in, I wouldn’t have been able to play.
Nevada States – I had the 2nd round of my short story competition, but oddly THAT wasn’t why I didn’t play. I ended up having an emergency trip to FL to help my mother move her belongings to NC.
The Series Finals – My first true back ablation procedure was the day before, and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t have been able to play after that.
It’s a shame because not only was I played pretty well (not amazing, but solid) but I was genuinely enjoying myself more this year. But life got in the way.
So it appears my predictions did much better this year. I was 9 out of 15, easily my best total. What does that mean for next year? Well, for one, it’s an odd-numbered year, and I do pretty crappy in those. 2nd, I won’t be masters age yet – I’ll be the oldest “regular” pro. Third, the back ablations I had to fix my back haven’t really done anything. I’m still in significant pain any time I try to bend (I actually have an appointment in an hour with my surgeon to see what’s up).
My goals are going to be pretty scaled down next year. I just don’t know how much I’ll play (I’ve played one round of 9 holes in the last three months of this year and I am still unemployed so I don’t really have money to throw around. I liken the odds of me cashing in a PDGA event with my wonky body right now to be LESS than if I just played poker.) 2018 should be a better year when I can hide away in the age-protected Masters division. I would have cashed in the same # of events this year in Masters, but would have made considerably more money.
Anyway, that’s that. I’m gonna write up a before-and-after update on my teeth shortly. I know, promises promises…