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We, being fat guys, have known scorn and derision for calling ourselves athletes. At times we may deserve it. It is hard for fat guys to take ourselves too seriously. But not every fat guy is bad at sports just like not every flat belly is great at sports.

Well we have all taken our lumps enough to get a positive jolt from stories of success or even, perhaps, domination.

Before disc golf I toured the country playing in racquetball tournaments. I was a lowly amateur player with a strong arm and decent motivation (and a beer belly) when I met a great racquetball coach. I took private lessons for 6 years and developed solid skills. More than that, I learned control and strategy which are just as important in racquetball as they are in disc golf.

A few years into my tournament career I found myself at a tournament in Michigan. I had entered in multiple divisions, both singles and doubles, which is common for that sport. I went to an assigned court for a match and met my opponent to be. He was young and big and athletic and had a number of spectators there to root for him including his hot girlfriend. I was a 35 year old lawyer built more like a bowling ball than a swimsuit model. As we were about to start, I got called to another court for a match, so I went off to see which match the TD wanted me to start first.

While I was away I had friends tell me my young opponent was loudly bragging to his cheering section how he was going to crush the fat old guy with ease. Now let me step back in this story to mention that I was a well known figure (a round figure at that) at tournaments but the young guy was an unknown. Word of the bragging evidently reached the TD, who for entertainment purposes decided to move our match to the presentation glass court (most courts will only allow a few spectators while a glass court has at least two glass walls and bleachers). Suddenly there were lots of spectators and I was the local favorite. Well the young guy was inspired by all the attention and continued to shoot his mouth off to the crowd. More entertainingly, his girlfriend was mouthier than he was. She really got the crowd involved.

Like most young guys my opponent loved to play the power game. In fact he only knew the power game-hit it as hard and low as you can every time. I had studied at the feet of a master and had a series of tricky, soft lob serves that were darn near impossible to handle until you had practiced against them for a while. So I started with a relatively easy soft lob serve. He tried to smash it but only gave me a set up which I killed for a point. Then I started mixing soft serves (things you have never heard of like wallpaper serves and Lob Z's) which he had no idea how to handle. So my young opponent got frustrated as his public humiliation mounted. A racquetball game is played to 15 points. A player can only score if they serve. A player wins the serve by winning a rally (like volleyball). A match is the best of three games. So the first game ended at 15 to zero. He never got to serve and nobody broke a sweat. No rally went more than a couple shots.

It was obvious to most of the crowd that there was a total mismatch going on. The poor young guy was out of his league. The funny thing was the young guy didn't know it. He thought I was just lucky and as soon as he won the serve he was going to win because no fat old guy could ever school him. So he kept mouthing off. Not mouthing of to me so much as to the crowd, who were happy to banter with him. And, of course, his girlfriend was proving herself incapable of shutting up. Now normally I would have shown some mercy and taught him a few things and let him get in rallys but this guy got mad and started acting like a jerk. So what was I to do but give the crowd maximum entertainment?

So at the start of the second game he served first. Just like in golf, power without control does no good. I could have ended the rally but decided to run him. So rather than hitting the ball so low he couldn't get to it, I just hit it to one side so he had to run after it. We played a few points where I stood in the center of the court while he ran around like a hyperactive squirrel, still losing the points whenever I chose to end it. The irony of this tactic is often when good players are playing a fat guy their strategy is to run them. So I had been run (or my opponents attempted to run me) in matches for years. Anyway the crowd was most appreciative.

Then I decided to rub it in a bit more. So I went to the power game, driving low hard serves into the corner and ending rallys with kill shots (low hard shots to the front wall). At first this seemed to inspire my opponent because I was playing a game he understood. But after a few points he realized he had no chance and I was beating him at his strength. So with the score sitting at somewhere around 8 to zero I switched to a high wallpaper lob serve which drops into the very back corner of the court. It is hard to get a racquet on a good wallpaper serve because there is no room to swing. Well he was so pissed off he swung wildly and broke his racquet hitting the wall. He had only brought one racquet to the tournament.

So my young, studly opponent walked off the court and asked the crowd if he could borrow a racquet. The crowd roared in laughter. He stormed off, forfeiting the match. His entourage slinked off after him, the girlfriend finally silenced.

So fat guys can occasionally come out on top. I don't recall for sure but I think I celebrated with a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate malt, supersized.

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Replies to This Discussion

That's a great story Mark!
Gotta Love that! Happy meals for everyone.
Thanks guys. After hearing nothing I thought the story failed to hit a nerve in the group.
As you know, I thought it was hilarious. It was a cocktail spitter.


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