Sunday, August 8, 2010

World Record Saturday

A while back I contacted Ed Fallon about playing some disc golf.

I didn't know him per say... But I did know who he was. His name is common here in central Iowa, as he ran for Governor in 2006 and then for congress in 2008. Both bids were unsuccessful, but Ed still maintains a strong presence in the political arena. He and his wife co-host a progressive radio show Monday through Thursdays on 98.3 the WOW FM. Ed maintains that his show is the only show on the station's schedule that doesn't bring a paycheck... And in fact he and Lynn are required to pay for the one hour slot that they occupy from 7-8 PM.

(Photo from DM Register archives)

Ed's politics, while leaning hard to the left, are in a sense Iowa's politics. He believes in democracy, something the current gubernatorial process here in Iowa does not, and like his democratic constituents, isn't afraid to go on conservative talk radio shows to discuss his views. He is a relentless worker and a champion for the little guy. He has a strong sense of justice, something he might have picked up from his religious studies degree at Drake University and is a peace activist who who has intently studied the writings of Mahatma Gandhi. He even travelled to India in 1995 to study ways to use peace as an alternative to violence in dealing with contemporary social problems here in the United States. He lives a fruitful life...  A play on words here... In the sense that he is an avid gardener and he and his wife grow most of the food that they eat.

Ed Fallon doesn't mince words, saying that Iowa's current Governor, Chet Culver, once a good friend and also a democrat, is "not bright enough to be governor." (I agree.) Ed pointed out to me that on two occasions during the gubernatorial debate sessions Chet Culver leaned over to him and inquired about the order in which the candidates were to answer the questions. "Am I next?" Culver asked an incredulous Ed Fallon. While our personal politics are in some ways vastly different, I voted for Ed Fallon because of the man that he is, knowing that he wouldn't use the power of government against the people of Iowa for his own personal gain or hide behind the curtain of government when making unpopular choices. As I said, Ed is a champion of the people and Iowa would be a lot better off if a person with Ed's integrity were in office today.

So yeah... I sent Ed Fallon an email and challenged him to a game of disc golf. I thought that it would be great blog fodder for one, but I also wanted to see if my suspicions were indeed correct that Ed Fallon is there for the little guy. My suspicions were confirmed... He accepted my request and yesterday we met at Crivaro Park in Des Moines for a couple of 9 hole rounds.

As it worked out it became a foursome. I invited our tech guy CVEckian to come along, and Ed invited a friend of his, Jon Krieg who writes a blog for the Des Moines Register. We decided that we would pair up, me and CVEckian vs. the Ed and Jon in a game of best shot. Instantly the game was fun. We were all virtual strangers, two vs. two, but we exchanged friendly verbal jabs back and forth and kept a steady flow of banter between us. CVEckian and I took a lead into the last three holes of the first 9, but somehow managed to lose when both of us missed an easy putt on the last hole, and Ed and Jon birdied it to win. It was getting hot and the humidity was high and I expected that would be it... But then they suggested that we go another round.

Jon, CVEckian, Ed and myself

"Absolutely!" we agreed. Little did we know that we were seconds away from making disc golf history and viewing not one but two documented disc golf world records...

After drinking some water under a shade tree and enjoying some conversation, we wandered over to the first tee. "Ok..." Ed said. "We are done messing around. We are bringing our A game!" We all enjoyed a laugh and proceeded to hole one. Little did any of us know how prophetic those words would become.

Now... I do not remember the exact order... But I think CVEckian went first, then I... Then Ed. Ed had a wonderful drive which fell just a few feet from the basket. Then it was Jon's turn. Jon teed off and his drive sailed to the right of the pin, caught some wind and seemed to dip, and then regained momentum and curved left... And fell right into the basket. A hole in one!

Jon's first hole in one

"Holy Crap!" we all jumped around with excitement and exchanged high fives. It was a great moment to be sure... I have only witnessed one other hole in one in my life, which contains about 21 years of playing disc golf. (I started playing in 1989 when I lived in Iowa City.) The mood was jubilant, and Ed and Jon both taunted CVEckian and me with friendly and spirited vernacular. It was a glorious moment, and even though it was our competition who shot it, it was great to see Jon ace the hole. CVEckian and I faltered, and ended up with an even par for the hole putting us two back going to the 2nd tee.

The Dynamic Duo
Again, I do not remember the exact order in which we threw but it doesn't matter. What does matter is what happened when it was Jon's turn to throw. Once again his drive took a long sturdy curved route to the pin and fell in for another hole in one. It was freaking unbelievable! I bet our wails of delight could be heard for miles away, we were all so jubilant. Again high fives all around, and Jon's triumphant declaration, "I'm going to play the lottery!" From that point on, it wasn't even a game. CVEckian and I stopped keeping score without really discussing doing so, as going into the third hole we were already 4 back from Ed and Jon. I was buzzed... and not from chemical alteration or alcohol, but from adrenaline. It was such a surrealistic moment, it wouldn't have been weird to me if suddenly Salvador Dali suddenly emerged from behind a tree and painted our portrait. We all wondered aloud if this feat has ever happened before, and discussed that topic thoroughly throughout the rest of the match. We had seen the impossible... If not the incredibly unlikely. We would find out later that this feat has only been documented once before in the history of the world.

As I said, CVEckian and I stopped keeping score, but Jon and Ed were on fire, with Jon's long drives and Ed picking up the slack with his unorthodox putting style, making putts at will from various distances. They ended up shooting a ten under for the 2nd nine holes, which in itself is an amazing feat. My adrenaline was flowing so much that my game became secondary. It was fun to watch Ed and Jon as they both played what possibly could be the single greatest best shot game in history.

Late last night I got notice from Ed that what happened yesterday was in fact worthy of world wide mention.

I think our competition today may have inspired Krieg to two world records: shortest time in between aces and most consecutive aces... Check it out! 

He sent me a link to the Professional Disc Golf  Association's World Records Page, which seems to confirm what we suspected... That indeed Jon broke two world records. (Well he broke one, the shortest time in between aces and tied the other, most consecutive aces.) CVEckian, being the techie that he is, had digitally recorded the audio of both of our matches and the recordings confirm that only three minutes elapsed between Jon's aces, which shatters the previous record by 12 minutes! One thing that may separate Jon's feat from the person with whom he tied might be the fact that he used two different disks on his consecutive hole in one drives. The other thing worth mentioning again is the combined score that Ed and Jon had for their second game... Par was 27 for the course, and together they shot a 17. That is remarkable, and a pretty rare score even for a doubles best shot game.

Ed Fallon is a champion of the people... And also a champion at disc golf... Even if he did have some help with a history making partner.

*(Photos by CVEckian unless noted)



Jon said...

Thanks, Troy, for the account of our disc golf adventure. It was great sharing it with you guys!

Nate said...

Hey... I think you are talking about my ace as the only ace you witnessed previously.... my one and only, and you were there to witness the greatness!