The Community of Disc Golfers and About All Things Disc Golf
I've just been thinking about respect a lot. I think respecting others does a lot for your reputation, on and off the course. I ran into an incident a few months back that caused much of this thinking. This past spring and summer, I played a majority of my rounds at Ottawa Park in Toledo, OH. Ottawa is not the safest course to play on. One day I was out playing and the cops were chasing a guy from the neighborhood across the street onto the course and had their tazers out and ready. I've had many sketchy people come up to me, but thanks to knowing a majority of the other players, I get looked out for being one of two regular women at the course. Being that this course is the only one in the city and that it is less than 2 miles from the University of Toledo, many inexpereinced players are often on this course. No big deal. The deal comes when they throw into your back or are overly loud and obnoxious. However, you can still be respectful and courteous in asking them to chill. All that to say, I have played amongst many disrespectful, uncourteous people. Let me set it straight though that none of these people are TADGA regulars. Most of them have enough common sense to respect others.
Fast forward to the end of August. I moved to the cities. I began to find a few courses to play. I met a few people, one being Mike, a mute and deaf player. One of the first times I came across him, he was fishin for discs in the pond, and I was afraid I was gonna hit him. I gave him a holler, and no response came. Someone finally told me that he was deaf and to just play. Mike didn't care. Time went on, and I continued to see Mike at the course every day I was (which was nearly everyday). I met an older man at the course one day that I decided to play with, and it turns out he's friends with Mike, who joined us as well. Mike is a great disc golfer. I enjoyed playing with the two of them.
In October, I finish a round of disc and I'm walking back to the parking lot when I hear and see 3 college age guys yelling and cussing at Mike. When Mike sees me, his face showed relief. I asked the guys what the problem was and they said something to the effect of "this f-ing retard f-ing was flinging sh on our car" (I don't cuss much so I ain't gonna start). I calmly told them that he wasn't retarded, he was simply mute and deaf. I told them he is a great disc golfer and an intelligent man. Then they proceeded to cuss me out. I was ready to punch them all in the face, but that wouldn't solve anything. I looked at Mike and had him tell me his side of the story with hand motions. I felt bad because I couldn't totally understand him. I so badly wanted to convey his side, and, from the little that I knew him, I knew that he wouldn't have done what they said. I told them this and they kindly offered Mike and I a few more obscenities before getting in their car and wasting gas as they floored their Caprice Classic out of their parking space, and again out of the lot.
I felt so badly for Mike. He just wanted to communicate and I was of no help. I felt so angry at these kids- that they had no respect for Mike OR myself. I know this situation is probably 1 in ten million, yet still think about how you treat others on the course. If I were Mike, I think I probably would have wanted to quit playing dg that day. Ya know? Had that been my first day on the course and that happened, I defintely would never be back. Treat others the way you want to be treated. We want this great sport to grow, but when we treat people the way Mike was treated, we are just scaring people away by the stupidity. Always give people a chance, both on and off the course. Don't write people off when you don't know them. Show them respect and try to get to know them. If they don't want to respect you, shake it off. Just do your best to give respect.