Remembering the 5 most emotional moments of my life
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It is Wednesday evening, October 12th. I am on the plane to Los Angeles and enjoy the view above the clouds. I am on my way back to my second home and I am thrilled. While I am not (yet) on my way back to the World Tour and its tournaments, I am looking forward to another very special event. I already sure today that this will be an event I will remember a lifetime. It will bring special moments with lots of emotions involved – but I will get to that later.
Speaking of “emotions”: The Dreampions team suggested that I share the emotional highlights of my life and my career so far in an article. This perfectly fits my mood. So let's start with the 5 most emotional moments of my career in chronological order:
Highlight No. 1: First time German champion
In 2009, I won my first German championship in Weilheim. One year earlier, when I was 15 years old, I had been promoted to the adult class. That year, I had been ahead of competition for the most part of the German championship, just to be outplayed right before the end and come in second. That was why I felt particular pressure during my second time in the German championship. When I finally won this first important championship it was a huge moment for me and also a kick-start for my future career: I had proven to myself, the opponents as well as possible sponsors that I can beat the adults. Also personally this was a great event: I had just started my junior year in high school and my classmates began to notice, what I do and in what kind of sport. When I came to school as the German champion on Monday, everyone congratulated me enthusiastically. I felt really proud, especially after I had been considered an exotic who throws some kind of Frisbees through the forest.
Highlight No. 2: My Last Day of School
While we are talking about school: There are people who liked to go to school. Not me. And my sentiments do not even get any better looking back. Every day it cost me quite an effort to go to school. That was not at all because of any pressure to perform well or because I had bad grades – with a final grade of 2.4 for my German secondary school diploma, there is no reason to complain. It simply annoyed me every day that I had to memorize things that were generally unnecessary or would be irrelevant to my particular life. And I don’t enjoy wasting my time for things of no use to me – that is probably true for most people. The fact that children have to learn things that they either cannot or do not want to learn has never stopped bugging me. I think it would be so much better to start early to focus on individual talents and interest – and I do not mean that Disc Golf should be a major field of study. I was enthusiastic about math and less interested in history but this made no difference whatsoever. Anyway, there are probably enough experts discussing this topic… For me, my last day of school was a huge relief by all means. The whole burden of going to school dropped off my shoulders – this moment was actually even better than a won tournament. What a great day!
Highlight No. 3: European Champion 2012 at the age of 19 years.
For some reason I had not registered in time for the European Championship taking place in Essex (England) and I only owe it to luck and a cancellation that I moved from the waitlist to the field of participants. As a “punishment” I was assigned to the first playgroup, which had to start teeing off as early as 7.30 AM at the first hole. I am clearly not an early bird, but it turned out that that morning was perfect disc golf weather: sunshine and no wind. When I finished my round, a stormy rain started. This allowed me to finish the first day with a big lead that I could live on the next days and win the European Championship with a wire-to-wire victory. It seems there was a higher power at work to send me into the first starter group. This victory allowed me to turn from the German champion into a top player in Europe - which kicked off my international career.
Highlight No. 4: I hold a world record!
In October 2014, I entered a long-distance competition near Las Vegas. The goal there was not to reach the target with the lowest number of throws, instead the distance achieved with a single throw was decisive. My best throw ended up at 263 meters (288 yards). At the time, this was furthest throw ever achieved by a disc golfer. It was distance simply inconceivable to many people. Also the fact that it was more than 7 meters further than the old record was a quantum leap – comparable to a race in which Usain Bolt who would improve the 100 meter sprint record by nearly a second. Completely unusual in our sport. The reactions to my record varied: On one hand, people showed great recognition and enthusiasm. On the other hand, there were some voices on the internet saying that in the wind conditions of the Nevada desert everyone could accomplish a world record. Well, as not “everyone” managed to do this, it does not bother me. To achieve a world record was long-held dream come true for me, sweetened with a $ 10,000 purse. In the weeks following the event I enjoyed myself and splurged the money with the great feeling that I had earned it with my record throw.
Highlight No. 5: Father and son Lizotte win the Konopiste Open 2016
At this tournament near Prague, my father had been part of one of the great World Tour events for the first time. Unfortunately, this had never been possible before due to his job. Instead of mixing with the audience, my father supported me as a caddy who was carrying my bag and accompanying me on the rounds. It was a special feeling that we could be together during the entire tournament, as it used to be on youth tournaments years ago. This feeling was even crowned with the fact that I was able to score in the play-offs and thus bring in my first World Tour victory. It was an incredibly emotional experience for us both: the roller coaster ride during the tournament, in which I was first ahead, then fell back, ultimately caught up again and won the tournament. All of this in this unique constellation that we could do this together again. My dad sparked my enthusiasm for disc golf. He is aware of my strengths like no one else and he knows best what kind of support I can and cannot use during a round. Of course, it was not a coincidence that I scored my first victory on his first tournament visit. With his quiet manner, he had a great share in this victory. Having him around felt familiar and gave me confidence after the countless hours we had spent together on the course in the past. And it spurred me to give my best to make him proud.
Different people express emotions in different ways: some cry when they receive a gold medal, others are deeply moved when they listen to their national anthem, some just do not get the smile out of their faces, and again others keep the happiness to themselves. In general, I am a quiet, mellow person, perhaps a typical Northern German, and rarely show any extreme emotions. After winning a tournament, I usually feel a mixture of satisfaction and pride about the performance, relief that I held up against the pressure, and an incredible mental fatigue. The joy is definitely there, but often my greatest desire is just to lie down and have a good night’s rest, to process the events on my own instead of being in the center of attention.
Highlight No. 6 – still to come!
This weekend, however, will be different. My friends Avery and Leah are celebrating their wedding at their ranch in Oklahoma. This is the first wedding I will be attending, and chances are high that I will not go to sleep early and possibly even shed some tears instead. Already now, the thought of the wedding brings me a joyous-excited feeling. Avery helped me so much on my way, he and Leah have become such good friends for me that I am just very happy from them. Of course, it will also be great to meet many friends from the disc golf world after I could not participate in the recent tournaments due to my injury.
To be with Avery’s and Leah’s family and to share this day of love with them will be something incredibly special. Already now I am sure that my list of the most emotional moments will be include one more special moment next week - likely even my new personal number 1.
All the best for you, Avery and Leah!