Wow, what a year 2016 was! I really enjoy doing a year in review because I think it’s important to reflect and be grateful for everything that has happened (both the good and the bad). The bad helps make us stronger and the good helps us to keep moving forward.
Looking back, 2016 was less about competing than the previous years. Although I still had the chance to compete in a variety of disc sports, 2016 was a big building year for me. I learned, grew, failed, succeeded, connected and overcame. Without further ado, here is my year in review:
- February 2016, I had a book launch for The Davy Rule, a book that I self-published along with Olyn and Lais. It capped off nearly two years of work which included a Kickstarter campaign which helped us pay for the illustrator, designer and the printing. Over the past year, I’ve done approximately 40 book readings, 8 book signings and we’ve sold nearly 500 books which is both surprising and disappointing. I have learned so much from doing it all on our own but it has been absolutely incredible to connect with kids, travel with Davy and have him there when I read the book. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this book – possibly approaching a publisher, doing more readings/signings and definitely more events!
- Literally the day after the book launch, Davy and I left on a 10 week road trip that ended up covering more than 30,000 km (18,500 miles) and took us through 7 provinces and 16 states. I spoke at more than 25 schools in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Oklahoma and Virginia, competed in the High Desert Distance Challenge (where both the Men’s and Women’s World Distance Records were broken and I beat my previous Canadian Distance Record), the Houston Quadruped (which Davy and I won) and the 40th Annual Virginia State Frisbee Tournament (where I won Distance). I had a deer hit my car just before leaving for the US and thanks to my gracious host Bobby in Houston, who crazy glued my headlight back on, I was able to complete my trip uninterrupted. I stayed in a hotel room 4 nights and was fortunate enough to stay with friends and family the rest of the trip. I got to spend time with my grandma, who is suffering from alzheimers. It will probably be the last time I will ever see her so I am so grateful for that the time I got to spend with her. Davy was sprayed by a skunk and I got covered in it too – luckily that day we spoke at a school for Pink Shirt Day so none of the kids said anything about the smell since it’s ant-bullying day and they didn’t know it was a skunk! I got to meet Shannon Darch, who illustrated The Davy Rule. I also ran an ultimate clinic in Halifax, Kansas and Washington, DC. I ran a disc dog throwing clinic in Nova Scotia and visited the Ashley Whippet museum in Naperville, which is full of disc dog and frisbee history from the last 40+ years! It’s a trip I will never forget and I definitely see myself doing that again!
- During my trip, I created a challenge called Unplugg’d. The goal is to inspire kids to spend less time in front of a screen and more time outside, playing and practicing what they are passionate about. It’s also meant to have the kids push for more family time. This challenge was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell and Philip Zimbardo, both of whom talk about the idea of 10,000 hours – Malcolm in the skill mastery sense and Philip in the sense that the average boy plays 10,000 hours of video games by the time he’s 21 years old. The average kid spend about 8 hours a day in front of a screen. So far, the challenge has been quietly growing and to date, I’ve had more than 150 kids from 30 schools take the 1 day “No Video Games/Netflix/Movies/TV” challenge. Recently I announced that Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Coulombe, co-authors of Man Interrupted, have joined the Unplugg’d team as my advisors so I will be working with them to ensure that the programs, challenges and rewards have a real impact on kids and their habits surrounding screen time.
- In May, Davy and I traveled to Indiana for the Quadruped where we ended up finishing 2nd to my friend Gary and his dog Kate. It was a super quick trip but was really nice to see my disc dog friends again.
- In June, Davy and I traveled to Kansas for the final Quadruped of the year and despite feeling confident and outhrowing the field in the early rounds, Davy and I came up just short, finishing 3rd which gave us 2nd overall in the Quadruped series. No matter the finish, I love getting to compete with Davy and see my friends so it’s definitely bittersweet!
- In late June, I traveled to the UK for the 2016 World Ultimate & Guts Championship. I was there doing communications & social media for WFDF but I was also part of the broadcasting team. We ran a Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year to raise money for livestreamed games, daily highlight and mini-documentaries and a 2-hour broadcast on CBS Sports Network. It was an incredible trip and I worked 18+ hour days – and loved every second of it!
- After the UK, I flew to Santa Cruz, California for the US Open Overall Flying Disc Championships. I got to spend a week leading up to the tournament disc golfing with Jeff & Reily, sightseeing and training for the competition. I ended up finishing 7th overall which included a 2nd place finish in Self Caught Flight and a 3rd place in Distance and Accuracy. I learned so much and it keeps me hungry to do better at the next overall! I also made a Happy Birthday video to celebrate the PDGA’s 40th birthday which featured many disc golf hall of famers, and I was able to film interviews with some of the sports greatest including Jim Challis, Chipper Bro, Amy Schiller and Paul Thompson. I love getting to spend time with my frisbee family and to share their stories with other frisbeeings.
- I was able to play 4 disc golf tournaments this year in Alberta, which is only a fraction of the total events on the tour. However, the highlight for sure was the Alberta Tour Championship and the Alberta Tour Doubles Championship which was held at Lloyd Park in Calgary. On the first day, I shot a course record 50 (-10) and won Men’s Open by a few strokes. On the second day, my doubles partner Mark Dakiv and I shot the course record 45 (-15) and won Men’s Open by a few strokes. It was such a fun weekend and it was really nice to play to my potential. I don’t get to play disc golf as much as I would like to so being able to spend the two weeks leading up to the two tournaments playing more golf than the rest of the year really paid off!
- I announced that I would be again attempting to break 3 Guinness World Records and 3 WFDF World Records at the ht on February 11, 2017 at Hawrelak Park in Edmonton. I currently hold all 6 records and this will be my 3rd time at the festival (2013 and 2015 being the previous two times). I also decided that I wanted to have a woman join me to break the women’s records for Self Caught Flight on Ice Skates so I posted on Kijiji, Reddit, Facebook and Twitter announcing that I was looking for a woman who can throw & skate. The search got picked up by local media and I was on the news multiple times talking about the event and my search. I finally decided to have two women join me – Jill Duffy & Jennie Orsten – which I think will be exciting and add some drama at the festival. It’s sure to be a fun time to make sure to check out the Frisbee on Ice page for all the details!
- On a personal note, this year was a very reflective year. I listened to some of the most influential audio books of my life which have impacted me greatly – The Power of Habit, People Buy You, The Ice Limit, The Wright Brothers and Relentless (full list of the audiobooks I’ve read/am reading). I lost friends and made new ones. I loved and learned how to be more respectful. I learned a lot about business and how to treat others – to not be spiteful, to be understanding and fair. I learned that bucket filling does work and to keep being myself, no matter what others may or may not do. I spent more time this year than every before with Davy and strengthened my bond with him. He’s changed my life and continues to everyday. I started to minimize the amount of time I consume content, I am doing better at choosing only the things that will be a good space in my life and realized that there is more negativity, bitterness and cynicism out there than I ever realized. I’m working on being better at forming an opinion around facts, research and listening to both sides of a debate.
I hope that you had a chance to reflect back on your year and realize that both the good and the bad made you who you are today.