It’s going to be excruciatingly difficult to not go into detail about an AWESOME first challenge for Team Crane this past Sunday, but I’m going to try not to. Instead, I want to elaborate on the league that seriously helps to keep me sane during the winter months.
Team Challenge (TC) brings together players from courses all throughout New England to compete against each other. The league starts in October and ends in April. Over the past two years TC has really gained traction, growing 40% from 24 teams to now 34. The league has expanded from just an A and B pool to now include a C pool. It has also grown increasingly competitive with the A and B pool boasting rosters of New England’s best disc golfers and the prize money for 1st place in the A pool being set at $1,600. Despite the growing competition, TC has also remained true to its roots – home teams put on food spreads and provide beverages for visiting teams in the aim of having a good time, being good ambassadors for their course and making winter disc golf a little more bearable.
All things considered, I’m still new to organized disc golf but at the rapidity in which it has been growing, I feel like a dang veteran – and in many regards I am but that digression can be saved for a later time. Anyway, I got involved with Team Challenge in 2009 with Team Nono (Northampton). Outside of a rogue tournament earlier that year, it was my first real introduction to organized disc golf. I got to meet a whole slew of new people from courses all over the place and I got to further my relationships with the locals that I played league with occasionally. It was the deciding factor in my marriage to this sport and that’s what I see ALL THE TIME now. New teams at new courses are sprouting up all over the place, new players, both male and female are getting introduced to competitive disc golf and furthering their commitment with PDGA and NEFA memberships. We have a bridge that brings players from the recreational side of the sport to the competitive side and they’re having so much fun they don’t even realize that they’re totally hooked.
Outside of the above reason, I also love TC because it literally serves as a reaffirmation of my passion for disc golf. A year of competing in singles play, focusing on solid PDGA performances can get lonely – even if you are competing with a group of fantastic people. Being surrounded by friends with a joint purpose – competing against (usually) other friends that are united with their friends in competition against you and your friends. Basically what I’m trying to say is – FRIENDS! So great to share this sport with great people and it’s that camaraderie that inspires folks pursue disc golf.
Much of my blogging this winter will be about Team Challenge so if you play on a team or are interested in playing and want to nerd out on predictions and write ups from challenges, keep checking back here! I’m already late with my predictions for this year but I will make sure to follow this post up with a Team Crane love note and some bold predictions about this year.
Thanks to Todd Lapham for the thankless work he puts into running the most popular form of organized disc golf in New England. Thanks also to Joe Yaskis for giving birth to this league back in 2006 and finally thanks to all the captains, organizers and players who make this the best time of the year.