In Burlington, Ontario in 1994, I came home from a Grateful Dead concert with a disc that a few very skilled hippies passed on to me after I watched them throw for hours as my wild evening with the Dead wound down. For a few years, we would go out and throw and play some pick-a-target disc golf. In time, our crew had all picked up discs from local sporting goods stores, and the back of the boxes would eventually detail how to play ultimate. So it began.
I started pick up, leagues, I moved to university and continued to play more and more, I then set off traveling. I moved to South Korea in 2002, and was one of the early captains to take teams overseas to tournaments in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok and the first Boracay Beach tournament. I lived in Busan, and started another pick up league there and united with the larger player bases in Seoul to form touring teams.
I returned to Canada and played two touring seasons in Toronto, and then was off again to Australia. I lived in the Gold Coast, and though I was happy to travel to Brisbane an hour to and fro, we soon developed pick up, leagues, tournaments, and touring teams in the Gold Coast for the first time as a city club.
My passion for the game is infectious, and I’ve attracted some of the finest players in the land to join in campaigning to win our Mixed Nationals seasons. In my last few years playing, I focused on building elite competitive teams, and was rewarded with some excellent tournament placing’s from our teams, and a Mixed National Championship.
After over 20 years in the sport I’m a well rounded player, but in hindsight it’s very clear that the highlights of my career have come from off-field facets: coaching, managing, administrating, youth development, and of course, commentating for Ulti.TV and Skyd.
All of a sudden, my life path changed again, and now, I find myself in Northern Nicaragua running a restaurant in a surf town. It’s called ‘Pasta La Vista’ in Santa Maria del Mar, and it’s on the Pacific Coast… some excellent surf here … but shhhh, don’t tell anyone.
A smattering of surf breaks in a small region are captivating ‘wave finding ‘tourists. The tourism industry is beginning to churn with an ascending development trend of surf camps, yoga retreats, hotels and restaurants. Brick laid roads are stretching further into the area, and the locals are playing key roles in many of the foreign, and local run businesses. It’s booming, and there is a great energy here that is reflective of the surf.
Recently, I’ve been showing off my throwing skills to my staff, and have now attracted a small group of locals keen to play ultimate on a weekly basis. They’re learning quick, and the limited equipment is starting to wear the brunt of their learning curve, and limiting involvement.
We’ve played four weeks in a row, and our numbers are growing week to week. I had three discs, but with lots of errand throws and some hard landings, I’m now down to two, and with a growing list of interested parties, I’m trying to get in early to be able to keep the momentum on the grow.
A good friend of mine, Jamie Collum, will be back in Chicago in August and is kind enough to transport discs upon his return (August 23). The ideal would be 20 discs to run weekly sessions with fluctuating numbers.
I’m writing this as a bit of a resume to qualify myself as responsible for your kind disc donations. I’m more than happy to drive another development, if I can get some assistance. I’m well qualified to do so and need your assistance to alleviate the importing difficulties that this would present themselves without a willing “mule”.
Chicago has randomly become an ultimate community that can help me start grow the sport in a remote, underdeveloped part of Nicaragua.
If you live in Chicago and are able to donate discs, or if you are coming to Nicaragua later this year, please get back to me. You can email me at email@example.com or find me on Facebook: Stefan Rappazzo.