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Disc golf: Society’s new downfall

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

You betcha, partner. And that fallen tree probably has something to do with one of those maniacal tree-killing disc golfers.

You know the kind. They wander around, whipping their bark-biting discs of death, whizzing them wildly past the whippoorwills and through the weeping willows.

When their discs go off the “fairway,” the disc-wielders have the audacity to retrieve them. And that necessitates sporadically plunging an arm into the thicket and fishing around for the errant toss. Sounds like breaking and entering, if you really strain your eardrums.

But the McHenry City Council proved Monday night at its monthly meeting that it wasn’t going to play host to these vandals and their evil ways – at least not right away. Nope, they tabled the idea of building a disc golf course at Cold Springs Park, a notion brought forward by the local Kiwanis Club and the radical disc golfing element.

Thank goodness for the folks who live in the Park Ridge Estates subdivision, who stood up and voiced their objection to this potential savagery of a slice of their precious local resources.

They even brought in examples of a disc, what bourgeoisie might try to tell you is just a FrisbeeSRTm, for the city leaders to touch. And in doing so, each was offered a tactile opportunity to gauge how much potential damage these evildoers might achieve if left to their own, disc-shaped devices.

Neighbors complained that the game wasn’t “passive.” There also were concerns that the game would be a magnet for local toughs, thugs and the incompetent who simply can’t throw a disc in a straight line.

In full disclosure, I don’t bathe in patchouli oil, download sitar music from iTunes or wear a multicolored hat knitted by someone in Peru. So perhaps I am not qualified to speak specifically to the people I immediately would connect with disc golf aficionados. Suffice to say, I am not bona fide.

However, I pressed ahead and sought out incidents on the Google machine and the Internets in which disc golfers have caused a ruckus.

I searched “disc golf+violence.” That turned up instances where disc golf clubs around the country had held fundraisers for victims of violence. There was a notation of a disc golfer using a metal disc in game play, but I suspect someone in his foursome eventually pointed out that he was, in fact, slinging a discus or the hub cap from a ’76 Chrysler New Yorker and not a disc.

I searched “disc golf+damage” and found a few articles that indicate similar fears of damage to flora and fauna by residents who opposed the construction of a course. But in my review, I didn’t find any stories about actual damage to trees. In fact, most of the stories about damage that I came across were about discs being damaged by trees. Can’t wait for the disc lobby to write its Letter to the Editor.

I searched “disc golf+hooligans” and, surprisingly, found 5,900 results. None of them was helpful, but it appears that soccer hooligans perhaps take a break from burning down stadiums to play disc golf. Perhaps this is part of nature’s balance. Quick, someone call a sociologist.

I found no legitimate reason to give a disc golf course the thumbs down.

Then again, maybe this isn’t a case against disc golf and is merely a scenario in which neighbors don’t want people walking through a public park that backs up to their homes.

Nah, it couldn’t be that simple.

• • •

Ouch, baby: Received a letter last week from loyal reader James Herlihy of Huntley.

Mr. Herlihy wrote (with excellent penmanship, I must add): “I realize that the Northwest Herald is trying to save money by reducing operating expense, however, cutting back on the print is too ambitious. Enclosed please find August 7, Obituaries that [are] so light [they] are almost illegible.

“Please consider reducing ink on the Cubs manager, Lou Piniella, as he rarely makes any worthwhile comments or insights. He says way too much while those in the Obituaries would like their last say to be readable.

“And finally… good catch in the Corrections and Clarifications the day after the Northwest Herald ran the incorrect day and date on Page 1. As VP/Executive Editor, that item should be the first thing you see every day.”

The page of obituaries that Mr. Herlihy references was washed out. It happens occasionally, but not because of a cutback in ink. I checked in with Kevin Elder, our vice president for production.

Elder told me that the faded page could have been the result of a number of things – from low ink levels to a buildup of water in the printing process. He surmised that the problem most likely was attributable to low ink levels at the time your edition whizzed through the press. Elder buys his ink by the truckload, which is why I rarely argue with him.

If we could control the place where this random phenomenon occurs, I surely wouldn’t pick the obits. I’m guessing that some might choose Page 2A each Sunday.

I agree that Piniella’s post-game insights are frustratingly vanilla and, on occasion, slightly less enlightening than George Will’s.

And (almost) finally … our editors will continue to strive for accuracy, especially with regard to the date of each publication. Rest assured, there was only one Aug. 13 this year.

Important to keep in mind for all readers: If you receive a newspaper that is in poor condition, call our Circulation Department at 815-459-8118. They’ll take care of you. It’s their job, and they’re very good at it.

• • •

Take a stand with Turning Point: Don’t forget about the fourth annual Take a Stand for Turning Point fundraiser, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. WZSR-FM and its on-air personalities will host a 36-hour radiothon, broadcasting from the parking lot of the Crystal Lake Sam’s Club beginning at 6 a.m. Friday.

Listeners can call into the radio station or stop by the mobile studio and make a donation.

I don’t have to tell you how badly affected the local nonprofits have been by the inane cuts that have been made to the Illinois state budget. But I will anyway.

Turning Point works on a primary level with local law enforcement and serves as a 24-hour, on-call resource by sheltering people whose lives have been shattered by domestic violence. This is not a superfluous organization that we can live without in McHenry County. And the $170,000 funding gap that Turning Point faces can’t be covered by a bake sale or by selling some raffle tickets.

These are challenging times for all nonprofits, and as the months wear on, we will tell you more about the solid local organizations that provide unique and necessary services and the specific funding shortages they are facing. Gov. Quinn might be OK with turning his back on these groups, but I am confident that our community isn’t.

In the meantime, get out next weekend and show some love to the folks at Turning Point.

• • •

And finally … : Mr. Herlihy deftly handled the “And finally…” this week.

Cheers to you, my friend.

I’m taking the rest of the column off to go disc golfing. Except with clubs and a ball.

All right, at least a sleeve of balls.

• Chris Krug is executive editor of the Northwest Herald. Contact Chris by calling 815-459-4122, or via e-mail at Keep up with Chris’ rants, raves and insights by following him at

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