Thursday, August 24, 2006


Today marks the culmination of months of effort, preparation, road trips and prayers. It's not really an end, but hopefully the beginning of something big. Before you jump to conclusions - no, I am NOT announcing my own write-in campaign for Columbus Council.

POWER FRISBEE TODAY: It's the Premiere Night of the new sport we've mentioned here over most of the year, Power Frisbee of Georgia. We're playing the first matches in Augusta, and moving somewhat east-to-west across the state from there like a golf tour. Only the fans will have to find something more meaningful to yell than, "Get in the hole."

From time to time in recent weeks, we've been explaining how Power Frisbee came to be. I developed the game during college, based on football kicking drills I did in the yard when I was young. My goal was to become a punter or kicker -- but I kept shanking the ball over the fence into the neighbor's yard, where the possessive barking dogs ended my practice for the day.

(Power Frisbee originally had the name Frisbee Showdown, but I changed it in the 1980's because I thought it sounded strange. Little did I know what Celebrity Poker Showdowns would develop on cable TV....)

Power Frisbee became a personal form of exercise for me during the fall, from college on. Some guys would go into the woods, to hunt for dinner. I'd take a frisbee to a football field and throw. Some afternoons, I brought home more for dinner - because I went grocery shopping on the way home.

But I admittedly was always a bit reluctant to tell people about Power Frisbee. It was partly a matter of waiting for the right time to introduce it - and partly a matter of being around men who think there's no room for any sport but football between September and December.

I showed off Power Frisbee a couple of times to passers-by over the years. There was a young man I met in the 1980's in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. And there was a TV technician I met at Georgia Tech's football stadium several years later - back when the field had artificial turf, and students actually hugged and kissed each other there on Sundays.

For years I thought Power Frisbee would be a viable game, which could build a following -- one with a mix of athleticism, strategy and drama. All I had to do was get organized and start preparing for it. But that would take time and money -- and the job I had full-time I had paid very nice money.

When I was let go of that job in 1996, I tried to get Power Frisbee going. A stadium contract actually was on my table to open the season in Atlanta, during the Olympic Games - so either the entire world would see the sport and be impressed, or everyone would be stuck in gridlock and the stands would be empty.

But Power Frisbee did not begin in 1996, because I took what was promised as a "one-week temporary" job at the American Red Cross. I was never told it was "temp-to-perm," and they actually wanted to keep me on the staff. I've amazingly faced a similar sort of situation this year. I suppose it's a compliment that no one else in the U.S. can be found to do my job....

The Power Frisbee season never happened in 1996, but all sorts of doors have opened to make it happen this year. I'm persuaded there's Someone bigger than I working all this out - and no, I didn't hire Ralph Reed after he lost in the primary.

Thanks to the computer age, I've been able to do much of the preparation for Power Frisbee at home. It started with e-mails about renting stadiums and working with parks departments last December - e-mails I'm now convinced were 90-percent deleted as spam.

It's become especially clear to me in the last week that some people are reluctant to help Power Frisbee, simply because it's new....

+ Local governments aren't sure how it works, even though we have a web site explaining everything. Maybe they think we're a front group for "Punk'd."

+ Many organized frisbee groups seem to be ignoring me. The folks who play "Ultimate" must really think it is....

+ A couple of people who I've asked to sing the national anthem before matches want to see copies of the words first. Maybe if I asked them to sing "Georgia on My Mind" instead.

I could tell you many more stories about the road to Premiere Night, but I'll save those for the tell-all book. Tonight is the big event - and in a stunning twist, it's turned into "Founder's Day." That's because no women showed up for our Augusta tryout. So who will face Savannah's top woman? None other than.... me.

The idea for this came in the middle of tryout day in Augusta - especially when the female sports reporter from a TV station didn't want to take part in it herself. I'm not sure that would have stopped Brian Sharpe years ago....

So your blogger will be taking on the best female frisbee thrower in Savannah, in a Premiere Night exhibition to begin the opening season of Power Frisbee. I don't claim to have a chance to win. After all, I turned 48 a few weeks ago - and when I threw a disc for practice the other day, it glided right into a storm drain. [True!]

I'm praying for nice weather in Augusta, and a nice-sized crowd to match. But I am NOT praying for victory against the woman from Savannah. I know some sports history, after all -- and I'm in the role of Bobby Riggs, taking on a Billie Jean King.

We should note Power Frisbee season will require some adjustments with this blog. Postings may be a bit less frequent, especially on Mondays after Sunday matches. (Don't expect one Friday.) And postings around match days may not be as laser-focused on Columbus as they are the rest of the week - in part because WRCG radio still can't get its signal right, so I can hear it beyond Harris County.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Since we're in a sports frame of mind:

I think the boys played great in the Little League games. What an experience to remember a life time...cheers to MCSD who is allowing the players and siblings to count the trip as a field trip...The only negative among many positives is the attitude of Kyle Carter. I hope he matures into a respectful young man and proves the media wrong...

Well, it's always nice to have readers from Phoenix, Arizona visiting our blog....

But no: this came from a regular reader and e-mailer whom I believe is local. He or she apparently is convinced when it comes to Kyle Carter, baseball truly is a game of inches - such as how many inches off-center your ball cap is.

Did you see Connie Watson of Phoenix on the news Wednesday night? "They're sandbagging the game!" she cried on-camera. Watson reminded me of that British comedy on PBS - "Last of the Summer WHINE."

The Columbus Northern team denied again Wednesday it sandbagged the game Tuesday night, when it lost to a team from Illinois. If it will make the eliminated players from Phoenix feel any easier - why didn't you beat Columbus the first time around, and make the whole issue moot?

Columbus faces an elimination game tonight in the U.S. semifinals. They'll take on a team from Portsmouth, New Hampshire - a place where I think Little League baseball is the only major sports event between Presidential primaries.

The Northern All-Stars have their dream to pursue, and so do I. But before I go chase mine, let's check items from the Wednesday news:

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported Judge Robert Johnston has ordered The Fire House nightclub closed for good. Not even a federal homeland security grant can save this one....

+ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the next official Georgia road map will show the four grandchildren of Pine Mountain Rep. Vance Smith. Smith happens to chair the House Transportation Committee - so is this a political deal? Or is this simply proof of that theory about Republicans having more babies than Democrats?

+ Business owner and frequent WRCG "TalkLine" caller Burt Coker officially announced he's a write-in candidate for Mayor. I suppose he's sincere, but I'm afraid he's going to come across more like comedy relief. I'm not sure he'd even win a majority vote of the other TalkLine callers.

+ Instant Message to The Courier newspaper: Why do you want voters to ask mayoral candidates about whether they'll support a "qualified African-American candidate for Mayor" in 2010? I mean, what if Jim Wetherington wants to serve two terms?

COMING SOON: East Alabama's answer to Danica Patrick....

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