This past weekend my brother Mike and his friends Eric & Nick came down to visit and play in the Lexington Open X disc golf tournament. This is the third time Mike & I have played this event, the second for Nick, and the first for Eric. They are all reasonably good. I am not. However, I have been showing steady improvement. The first year, 2006, I finished last among players who did not meet the following criteria: 1) are children; 2)are women; 3)quit before the tournament ended. My goal for 2007 was to not finish in last place among that group, which I accomplished by finishing in second to last place. My goal for 2008 then, was to not finish on the bottom card (the last 4 players). Again, I met my goal and finished 16th out of 22 in my division. The big difference this year, however, is that there were 2 new divisions, both of lower ranked players. So not only did I meet my goal, but there is now an entire division of players who I am better than! I find this revelation shocking, disturbing, and also very ego-boosting. In fact, I actually won both of my groups on Sunday, which is certainly not something I ever thought would happen. On a serious note, my goal is simply to continue to improve, which I have done. In 2007 I beat my 2006 score by 2 strokes, and in 2008 I beat my 2007 score by 13 strokes, and this is despite the inclusion of a WAY harder course this year. So, from that perspective, I felt very good about the weekend. Am I good at disc golf? No, no I am not. At all. Did I play well by my own personal standards? Yes, I think I did.
From a perspective that doesn't directly involve disc golf, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite weekends of the year. All 3 of those guys are great just to hang out with, and it gives Mike a chance to play with Sophie a little. It really is a lot of fun.
On an unrelated note, you may notice the new picture on the right sidebar. This represents my participation in the Mountain Dew Challenge, which is described on Dan Weiss' blog here. In short, it is a challenge to see who can go the longest without drinking pop. This was one of the things I gave up for lent, and I really haven't been drinking much of it since lent ended. In other words, I don't think this is going to be a huge challenge. And, yes, that counts as trash talk. So, to Dan and all the others, I'm in it to win it!!!! (whatever "it" is)
This coming weekend is the Kentucky Derby, and Nancy & I are fortunate enough to be able to go for our third consecutive year. The first year, I won a nice bit of money (relative to what I was betting, anyway), and walked away confident that I had this "horse betting" thing pretty much figured out. Considering I won pretty much all that money on 1 race and lost all the others, this was a bad conclusion to have reached. I paid for that arrogance last year, both literally and figuratively. I walk into this year's Derby humbled, but with a renewed commitment to study, learn from mentors, get insider tips, but mostly to not make stupid bets that have no chance of winning. It is an ambitious goal, honestly, but my goal is to make enough to pay for our drinks and food during the day. Considering I would be happy to simply break even and have enjoyed a day at the track with my lovely wife and friends, and considering the cost of food and drink at a place like Churchill Downs, this is an ambitious goal indeed. If any of you have any tips or would like me to place a wager on your behalf, please feel free to let me know. I'm sure I'll let the blog-reading community know how I did- if it's good, anyway.