I celebrated 38 years on November 3rd, and although I whole heartedly don't believe 38 is old, I still can't get away from the feeling that the number doesn't reflect what I feel on the inside. That's what everybody says though, right?
My wish for the day consisted of my family and I going out to throw for a bit before the heavy clouds tired and lost the ability to hold back the water.
We stopped by a local disc golf vendor before our brief session on the Terrace Creek course. I picked up a new Legacy Clutch. I've been curious about the Gravity blend of plastic, so that's what I chose.
As we practiced, I got to thinking about how I'm only two years away from being eligible to play in the Masters division.
What does that mean? Only that I'm almost 40.
If this was a time before the 2002 PDGA rule book change then I could have been playing in the Masters division ever since my 35th birthday.
I believe all divisions like Masters, Grand Masters, Senior Grandmasters, Legendary Senseis and, finally, Walkers are referred to as "age protected." I smile thinking about Masters being age protected, because I know there are a lot of 40-something-year olds that don't need protection.
Playing Masters will in no way be a step down in competition. In fact, I may just stay in Advanced unless I feel like I can compete when that time comes.
As our sport grows in popularity we hear talk about athleticism raising the bar of competition. I know I'm working to become more fit and healthy as I near my forties. I can just imagine what others are doing. In fact, I don't have to imagine. We can all see what others are doing. A simple glimpse into the world of #discgolf on Instagram or Twitter and we can find thousands of posts by people equally obsessed with bettering themselves to better their play.
John E. McCray showed the world this year that just because you're in your forties doesn't mean you can't compete with the best of them. Also, I heard Scott Stokley will be back on tour next year. Will he prove that forty-something-year olds can't be counted out of the Open division on a national stage as well?
I believe the only difference between a 20-year-old and a fit 40-year-old on the disc golf course is time available to practice.
Shoot, it's not all about availability even. It's really about desire. How much time do we want to practice as we get older? So many more things become important as we age, especially if we have a family.
I can't compete every weekend. You know why?
I have to take my daughter camping, or to the beach. My wife and I like to travel, so which do you think I'll pick between a local C tier and a flight to Long Beach, Ca.? Or Venice, Italy?
What will happen with Avery Jenkins when his child is born? You think he'll keep touring the world all year long?
Aging with disc golf, man, it's a trip. Disc golf will be something that will always play an important part in my life, but it will never be more important than a lot of other things. However, it will always be fun to watch the sport and the players grow.
Can you imagine what Nikko Locastro or Paul McBeth will be like when they're 40? I hope I'm around to see those days.
I'll keep practicing and bettering myself mentally and physically. I'll keep competing when I can and I'll enter my forties with a ton of enthusiasm. Hopefully I'll be able to hold my own against the "old dudes" when I get there.
Now, what will I be saying when I'm two years away from 50?