We had another great weekend of disc golf in the 2015 Ledgestone Insurance Open. This year being a PDGA tour National Tour stop, and carrying the largest payout in the history of the tour, it was set to be a great moment in the history of the sport. And it was, seeing Simon Lizotte win his first NT event over 4X World Champion Paul McBeth, it was quite a tournament. With the stroke and distance rule in effect for any out of bounds shot, the entire weekend was tough on a lot of competitors. Up and comer Eagle Wynne McMahon, who has had a strong showing the last few tournaments he’s played in, carded a 13 on hole 5 of the McNaughton Park course, if that tells you anything about the tough setup the pros faced.
What I would like to focus on is the video coverage of the tournament. Smashboxx.tv provided live streaming coverage on their Youtube channel all weekend long. It was great. Live 720p High Definition video coverage of a disc golf tournament! For Free!! I didn’t have to purchase additional channels with my cable provider, no extra device needed to watch. A computer with an Internet connection of sufficient speed was all that was needed. An * is needed at this point, as Jomez Productions and Prodigy Disc also filmed round coverage and posted to their respective Youtube channels, usually featuring different cards. Back to the live coverage. It was great. Quality video, sound commentary, nothing crazy, and it never deviated. Though technical issues prevented the live coverage from showing all parts of the courses that were covered, the guys at Smashboxx did a great job at showing anybody who wanted to watch some live professional disc golf.
During all this great live coverage, there was a live chat room that anybody could post comments in. All of Smashboxx’s live events have this live chat, as did Discgolfplanet’s live coverage of Pro Worlds. While this is great to have since the broadcaster gets live feedback on their product, it brings out a nasty type of individual known as the troll. This person spews inflammatory comments just to get everybody else riled up about something. There’s no getting around them, you can block them when you see them, but aliases are a dime a thousand online. And in the past year, race relations have become such a sensitive subject, I tend to intensely dislike those to try to throw race into anything and everything they can.
Which beings me to one troll that I know many on the live chat would have liked to become physical with were they in the same room. A user named ‘The Real Somali’ brought race into the chat room on Saturday afternoon of the 2015 Ledgestone Insurance Open by repeatedly pronouncing that “they are all white” and tastefully complaining about it. I will give the user credit that they never got ugly or offensive, but to throw race into our beloved sport of disc golf was insolence on a new level. Now, I am white, with black friends, latino friends, and probably many other nationalities or mixed backgrounds that I don’t know about. I can’t even begin to comprehend some of the atrocities committed against black people in our history. All of that is in the past, so let’s move forward and look ahead, not behind.
With all that being said, I say this….Troll, I Keel You. If you don’t get that reference, crawl out from your rock and watch Jeff Dunham on Youtube. There’s no place for that type of loathsome commentary in a sport that embraces everyone who wants to play. Paul McBeth, the reigning and 4X World Champion has a mixed heritage. Philo Brathwaite, an African-American, was featured on ESPN’s Sportscenter Top 10 Plays just a short time ago, and we also have Steve and Bamba Rico that own Legacy Discs and sponsor some of the sports top players and tournaments all over the country. That’s just a few select professionals on the men’s side. I haven’t seen a sport so embracing of all players as disc golf has shown to be. So again, Mr. Troll….I Keel You.