Orthotic assistant discovers grit and grace in disc golf
, 2023-01-30 05:21:01,
On Jan. 1, 2018, Jennifer Trombley trudged through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard.
Wind whipped across her face as snow swirled through the air. For six hours, she struggled to keep moving forward. But there was only one thought on her mind: finish the game.
An avid disc golf player and founder of her own league, Trombley was playing in a tournament to kick off the new year when that blizzard struck.
“It’s not always fun playing that type of weather, but it makes you stronger as a player. To be so determined and try to keep your mind focused, it can test your limit at times,” said Trombley, an orthotic assistant in Michigan Medicine’s orthotics and prosthetics department.
Trombley’s brothers introduced her to disc golf in 2003 when she was a high school student, and she immediately took to the sport. Similar to traditional golf, disc golf involves throwing flying discs into baskets.
She said she enjoyed being out in nature and having a free way to spend time with friends.
But after playing disc golf for 10 years, Trombley started to grow frustrated.
“I wasn’t getting any better at the sport. I just thought I was bad. I was embarrassed to be throwing not as far (as the other players) all the time, but I was playing with men. And then I met some women who played and realized, ‘Oh, no, I’m pretty good,’” she said.
Even on a professional level, Trombley said, the strength difference between men and women is visible in how far they can throw a disc. After playing with other women, her confidence grew as she learned the methods behind controlling a disc and the physics of throwing at different angles.
Five years ago, Trombley decided to create her own league. She started advertising her group through word-of-mouth, and eventually printed business cards promoting the weekly practices.
“It’s just a nice environment for women to not be embarrassed, and to feel comfortable learning to play casually or to compete against each other,” she said. “It’s gained a lot of traction over the years, and my league is now getting around 20 to 30 women a week.”
During the practices, female players — ranging from children to retirees —…
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