Back in the early 90’s, when not studying at The Roy Park School of Broadcasting, I played a lot of disc golf. A Lot. Most days I’d be outf the studio door before the noon newscast's closing theme ended, eager to fill my ratty Toyota with a few fellow derelicts and spend the afternoon hurling pockmarked discs at chain-link mirages. They were the last days of an extended boyhood and I and my pals made the most of them - even if we did look like roadies on the lam from Pearl Jam. I was never all that good, mind you, but the slacker in me savored the pace of this low-impact sport. Usually, somewhere between the third and fifth hole, a bleary-eyed buddy would lean in and with a dry mouth remark how righteous it was that our sacred game was invented 'right here in Greenville'. Never knowing just how true that legend was, I always answered by launching my own colorful orb, until it invariably took a chunk out of a poor defenseless pine tree.
Fast forward fifteen years or so. Bob Buckley and I emerge from the chilled interior of Unit Four and walk deep into the Surry County smolder. There we’re met by an unassuming fellow in his fifties, a sliver-haired sprite who quietly tells of that day in the late sixties, when he staked a hula-hoop to two makeshift poles, gathered up a handful of Frisbees and invented a game of tactics and plastic. Sadly, George Sappenfield is a Californian, but he did work in Greenville for a time and his sublime game has had a fabled Downeast connection ever since. But Buckley and I hadn't driven up twisty-ass Highway 89 just there to reminisce. Shortly after the on-camera ended, Bob and George set out to a throw a few holes, while my tripod and I sweated in the hundred degree sun. Heat stroke aside, it was an honor - for while George Sappenfield may have never made a dime off his Frisbee epiphany (leave that to the shills at Whammo!), he can go to his grave knowing he helped enrich planet Earth with a most serendipitous endeavor.
Sure hope he likes this profile.