, 2023-05-18 17:17:54,
Playing through shoulder injuries, Pierce, Keith claim OTB titles
May 18, 2023 by Kingsley Flett in Analysis, Recap with comments
It occurred to me, now that we are over of a third of the way through the season, that the 2023 Disc Golf Pro Tour has become a grand tour of America. Granted, other pro sports might have their tours, but tennis players and golfers seem to just randomly hop between venues via private jet, without any continuity or narrative, while the mostly road-bound Disc Golf Pro Tour rolls from tee to shining basket across the American landscape, visiting places in the heartland along the way and telling the story of our game and its tribe.
We’ve wound our way from the Sierra Nevada across the Great Basin to the Rio Grande, then across the Great Plains and the Gulf Coastal Plains to the Mississippi River and almost to the Appalachians. Then back west we go across the Central Plains to the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada again, and to Stockton, at the head of the lush Central Valley of California. The tour has described a lazy loop through the bottom third of the continent before it heads east again via a more northern arc.
Woody Guthrie would have approved of this hobo lifestyle and might have also liked how the ethos of his most popular song was reflected in the statement Paige Pierce made after round two. A visibly emotional Pierce mentioned how the sport lost one of its most loved veterans to suicide this week and in light of how public debate about Natalie Ryan had taken a nasty turn, she reminded everyone to remember that “everyone’s a friggin human being and to be kind.” This land was made for you and me, indeed.
It was hard to ignore the long shadow that Ryan’s court case cast over the event. If people were hoping the issue would somehow fade away once play began, then Natalie had other ideas. Her 6-under-par 61 had her one throw out of the top card and atop the leaderboard for much of the early part of the round. Then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in to settle the issue for now.
Emerging from this shadow was the story of Paige Pierce herself. A shoulder injury had hindered her play in the last month and threatened to derail her season. But with some strict rest that included not even carrying her bag in the right hand and throwing left-handed rollers to her dogs in the backyard, coupled with some intense…
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