This is a VERY well written memoir that I loved reading, primarily because of its honesty. Scott Stokely, a one-of-a-kind character to be sure, invites readers to not only get to know him and his unconventional past but also to learn about the origins of disc golf and how it went from a new activity for curious kids at Oak Grove disc golf course in Pasadena to a world-wide phenomenon.
For those of you/us who have been there from the beginning with our own stories to tell about our Frisbee-world family, you will recognize everything and everyone in Stokely’s story. And it is a lovely tribute. He displays an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport’s evolution and development and clearly has a deep respect for the game and all the people who play it, organize it, grow it and promote it.
I got to know Scott Stokely in the early 1990s—before the blue or green hair and before the world records. He was a super-tall, lanky kid with a goofy smile and a cocky attitude, and he always appeared to be having the most fun on the course. I had never seen anyone throw crazy, over-the-trees or over-the-obstacles shots the way he did, but whenever I see one now, I think of him.
Several times in his book he beseeches his readers to search for video recordings of some of his more spectacular throws… and I MAY have one. It was the 1990 Gold Pan Open. I recall the year because I received a video camera for my 30th birthday, primarily to use as a training device for disc golf. (For those of you who regularly view social media slo-mo videos of x-step or putting techniques to study, for example, you will understand how helpful it is to watch the pros in action or critique/compare your own form. We didn’t yet have social media.) I remember recording Stokely with my new camera as he launched a disc over a baseball diamond fence while everyone watching stood there with open jaws. I’m not sure if the shot worked because he immediately turned around and came at me yelling “GET THAT CAMERA OUT OF HERE!” But then he giggled and asked if he could see the recording later.
Without doubt, Stokely had a natural charm and a certain je ne seis qua that made me love him. He was like an adorable, untrained puppy. And it is no wonder that he has managed to attract a strong bevy of supporters, mentors, friends, and partners. After reading Growing Up Disc Golf, I think I have put my finger on it. Stokely is attractive and successful because he’s VERY smart. And because he is VERY talented. And because he is VERY ambitious. And most importantly, because he is VERY honest. By the way, it is a true story that he designed the original hole #1 at Sandy Point Resort & Disc Golf Ranch, and I also included this in my first book, I’m Living Your Dream Life. During that visit, he also crushed me at ping-pong in the Wisconsin Disc Golf Hall of Fame cabin—not an easy thing to do–telling me he had learned how to play “in Juvie Hall!” Note: The experience he conveys about being incarcerated will shake your soul.
The story of the origin of disc golf belongs to all of us and he does justice to our sport; however, THIS disc golf story belongs exclusively to Scott Stokely. It is indeed an extraordinary ride. And that he shares his story so openly and with so much humor, joy and respect, makes it a gift to his Frisbee family and the world. I give this book my highest recommendation and urge you to read it.