I’ve been spending the last two weeks in the maritimes speaking to kids and teaching frisbee in schools. I introduce and demonstrate Disc Golf, Ultimate, Guts, the Overall and Dog Disc. In addition, I’ve gotten to meet lots of disc golfers and hear about the short history of the sport in Atlantic Canada.
Frisbee provides many wonderful opportunities for people of all ages to stay active, have fun, travel the world, and spend time with friends and family. However, because there hasn’t been a lot of money in frisbee over the last 30 years, there hasn’t been much marketing or awareness and as such, the growth has been very much at the grassroots level.
In mid-July, the PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) will be hosting the 2017 PDGA Amateur and Junior World Championships in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Indiana, USA. The World Championships (and disc golf in general) has historically been very much dominated both in skills and numbers by the USA. However, that is starting to change as we see more disc golf courses and players getting into the sport, especially in Europe and Canada.
However, at the junior level, frisbee is still very much in a grassroots and growth stage. Although Canadian ultimate has come a long way at the junior level especially in Winnipeg and Vancouver, disc golf is still extremely new.
As of right now, there is only one junior disc golfer from Canada competing at the PDGA Junior Disc Golf World Championships and he is from Lethbridge, Alberta. He is 14 years old and his name is Noah Higgins.
I first met Noah last summer at The Lost Egg disc golf tournament in Wayne, Alberta, and he immediately impressed me. Not only his disc skills, but moreso his personality. His is kind, patient, thoughtful, attentive and curious. All qualities that many adults are still developing. It’s typical of kids who play frisbee to be more mature than their age would suggest because they spend most of their time around players much older than them. Noah is no exception to that rule and I always admire, respect, and support kids in frisbee because we need them to help us get more kids playing. It’s really tough not having other kids your own age playing the sport you love, but Noah clearly has the fire, the passion and the drive to improve his game, challenge himself, set an example for others, and pursue his dreams.
Noah was featured on CTV Calgary News today and you can check out the story below.
Noah’s mom and local disc golf club, the Bridge City Gunners, have set up a Go Fund Me to help raise money so Noah can attend the World Championships and represent Canada. I’ve donated and if you feel so inclined, the link to donate is here: https://www.gofundme.com/noah-higgins-2017-pdga-jr-worlds.
Noah expects to finish in the middle of the pack but the results are secondary. The experience alone will be worth it for Noah! To be around the best junior disc golfers in the world, to see what the sport has become, to witness the potential that exists, I know it will only add to his fire, give him so much hope and confidence, raise his game to another level, and help contribute to the growth of disc golf in Alberta and Canada.
Good luck Noah! We will be cheering you on!