Living life takes on a stronger meaning for Denise Cameron

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Life’s good for Denise Cameron.

The key word in that sentence? Life.

The 28-year-old resident of Syracuse, New York, is living life the way she wants. She’s less than a year from getting her college degree. There’s an awesome internship set up for the summer.

Denise Cameron has overcome a lot in the past year, but she's kept an upbeat attitude throughout. (photo by Dan Traub)

Denise Cameron has overcome a lot in the past year, but she’s kept an upbeat attitude throughout. (photo by Dan Traub)

Then there’s disc golf. Oh, is there disc golf. She’s coming off one of the best seasons she’s ever had. And, heck, just to throw things into another orbit, she’s even dating 2010 PDGA world champion Eric McCabe.

Life’s grand, it seems, for Cameron.

But if not for things working out in a crazy way, all of this may never have happened.

See, on Feb. 4, 2012, two days after her 27th birthday, Cameron suffered a brain aneurysm. And if not for everything lining up just right, the situation may have not worked out so well for her.

Despite being young and active, this health issue ran in her family. Her mother died at 51 from a massive aneurysm.

Active in the Central New York disc golf scene, Cameron said she started playing in 2004 or 2005, when she still lived in Florida. She moved to New York in 2008 and continued playing.

Central New York, specifically the Syracuse area, is a pretty solid area to play the game. With plenty of courses and a lot of people, it’s rare to not find somebody playing.

“It was a fun thing to go into the woods and throw discs,” Cameron said.

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The Disc Golf Guy helps bring the sport to women

By Jenny Cook — Rattling Chains staff

When I think of Terry Miller — aka The Disc Golf Guy — a few words come to mind that create a recipe for a well rounded individual and promoter of disc golf: collaboration, dedication, hardworking, professional and innovative.

Some 20 years ago, Miller was introduced to the sport while at a summer camp. Using 50-class Frisbees and grocery baskets as targets, he competed in and won his first competition.

Terry Miller comes out of the woods for a shot. (photo by Kristin Reichensperger)

Terry Miller comes out of the woods for a shot. (photo by Kristin Reichensperger)

Later that summer, he played on his first “official” disc golf course, filled with baskets. That helped Miller get hooked on the game.

Fast forward to 2013, where Miller has gained a reputation as a course designer, teacher, mentor, and professional player. He’s also been the director for many tournaments, including the 2007 Amateur Worlds in Milwaukee, Wisc., and a tournament for last year’s Women’s Global Event at the Grey Fox course in Silver Lake, Wisc.

That Am Worlds tourney was the second time I ran into him. I’ll never forget watching him walking among the women’s groups and showing his support — something he’s continued to do throughout the years.

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Kristy King inks her connection to disc golf’s past

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Disc golf is largely an individual sport.

Though there are sometimes events with a team aspect — such as the Collegiate Championships or a doubles tournament — the sport is highly individual.

Kristy King shows off her "Steady" Ed Headrick tattoo. (photo courtesy of Kristy King)

Kristy King shows off her “Steady” Ed Headrick tattoo. (photo courtesy of Kristy King)

Whether one competes against a course, another player, the field of a tournament or against themselves, there’s not a lot of room to blame others for things that happen during a round.

It also leaves the opening for people to show off their personality. That type of expression can come in many forms, whether it be clothing, bags, disc designs, the way they act on the course, or, even, tattoos.

In the professional ranks, individual expression is there, but it’s often tame. Some top-level players may have a tattoo or two, or wear a certain type of clothing. Others may be known for outspoken comments or actions on the course.

It all depends on the player.

For Californian Kristy King, her expression is on her right forearm.

That’s where, adorned for all to see, is a tattoo of the signature of “Steady” Ed Headrick, the father of disc golf. As a DGA-sponsored player, the tattoo makes sense.

What makes a disc golfer go that far? Being connected to the game and to the sport.

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Women’s disc golf clinics attract wide range of participants, create young fans

Wearing a journalist hat makes one think differently when at an event. But at a recent disc golf clinic, I was just really excited that my wife and daughters had not only agreed to attend, but were even looking forward to it. Being in dad mode, I at least snapped a lot of photos.

The event, a women’s disc golf clinic led by Prodigy Disc team members Sarah Hokom and Paige Pierce, was held in in Santa Cruz, Calif., three days before the Masters Cup National Tour event.

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My excitement came because I had waited a long time for my wife and daugters to show interest in my favorite sport (or activity, hobby or obsession). My wife used to play many years ago, before the kids came along, but it was always more about wanting to share something I loved. The kids have played a few times, but hadn’t gotten hooked yet.

Scheduled for 5 p.m., the clinic was held on a particularly windy (and cold, for Santa Cruz) day in April. As a disc golf instructor, I assure you that these are not ideal conditions for teaching or learning the basics of flying disc sports.

We arrived a little before 5 and, aside from one lady, were the first on the scene. Slipping into journalist mode, I asked her what brought her there. She told me she was from San Francisco (a 1- or 2-hour drive, depending on traffic), and had played a week earlier in the amateur Masters Cup event. The clinic was promoted during that week and during the Daisy Chains women’s tourney, held in Santa Cruz County the week between the amateur and professional Masters Cup weekends.

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Ragna Bygde looking beyond Sweden to make her mark on the sport

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Life as a professional disc golfer isn’t the most glamorous of career choices.

Especially for women.

The fields are smaller, which, in turn, makes the prize money smaller than in men’s tournaments. And that’s just in the United States. Add in being a professional women’s player in Europe and it’s even harder.

Ragna Bygde is one of the newest members of Prodigy Disc. (photo courtesy Ragna Bygde)

Ragna Bygde is one of the newest members of Prodigy Disc. (photo courtesy Ragna Bygde)

Such is the life of Ragna Bygde, one of the newest members of Prodigy Disc. A resident of Stockholm, Sweden, the 23-year-old Bygde has been playing on and off for eight years and comes from a family of disc golfers. Her father, Peter Bygde, is also a professional.

Being a professional wasn’t much of a choice for Bygde, though, as she made that move when she played in her first tournament.

“In Europe, there’s only pro for women,” she said. “So as soon as you get into the game, you are a pro.”

Though she had a father who played disc golf often, it wasn’t her first love. She did spend a lot of time with her father at Järva Discgolf Park, but it was just to hang out with her father.

“I never joined him though,” she said. “I was to busy working on my career in show jumping and synchronized swimming as most young girls did at that point.”

Something changed, however. During her teenage years, she started throwing plastic. Bygde said she saw another teen playing and wanted to give it a chance. The love of the sport didn’t take long to set in and she soon left the pool and horses behind.

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Women to take over Rattling Chains from May 12-18

Women’s Week has returned to Rattling Chains.

Before I continue, allow me to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all you discin’ mothers and any others who happen to come across the blog.

If you have been a follower of us since the early days of our blog, you’ll remember us declaring one full week last year as Women’s Week. Our plan was simple — to dedicate a full week to write about or have stories written by women.

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We did it in conjunction with the PDGA’s Women’s Global Event. For the week, we changed the look of our blog and ran stories that seemed to be a hit among disc golf fans.

Still, we did it in our early days. We had only been going at it for about two months and didn’t have the connections or contacts we do now. We had some pretty solid stories, but there were some about the Women’s Global Event and things like that.

The PDGA decided it wasn’t going to hold the WGE this year. It’s not a permanent thing, though. After all, the WGE drew more than 600 women worldwide playing in these events and it is a smart and strategic move for the PDGA to be involved in the advancement of women’s disc golf.

Despite that, we made a conscious decision last year to make this a permanent part of our site. As long as Rattling Chains is an active blog, there will be Women’s Week each May.

This year, we’ve started the week on Mother’s Day, which seems like the most fitting time to start our week to honor the women in this game. We’ll, once again, be changing the look and colors on our site and our stories this week are about or written by women.

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