Games and sporting have been a part of many civilizations’ rituals, religions and cultures. We can trace it all the way back to back to the first Olympic Games in 776 BC.
The games were devoted to the Olympian Gods and held on the ancient plains of Olympia. Similarly, hunting used to be a means of gathering food and resources. It has become something more, with target competitions included since the first Olympic Games—Games of the I Olympiad—held in the modern era in the summer of 1896 in Athens, Greece. Organized play using a ball became sports for which many people gathered, resulting in games and sports that we still play today.
Did you know that ESPN used to air the Great Outdoor Games? From 2000 to 2005 they aired the event in the late summer every year. In 2006 they decided to shift focus elsewhere and canceled the event. The Great Outdoor Games had individual events in fishing, sporting dog, target and timber. Fishing events included fly fishing and freshwater doubles. Sporting dog events included agility, disc drive, big air, flyball and field trial. Target events included archery, rifle and shotgun. Timber events included boom run, logrolling, team relay, endurance, speed climbing, tree topping, hot saw and springboard.
You may have never seen any of these sports before, but they’re some of the most recognized sports in the outdoors. The most notable is golf, due to the television time, sponsorships and money available.
Although there have been golf-like depictions of a round object and a club throughout history, including one on the tomb of Beni Hasan in Middle Egypt circa 2,600 BC, the Romans created a game called paganica, where you would aim for the chosen target with a bent wooden stick and a filled leather ball.
Golf, as it’s known now, has been around since the Song Dynasty (960‑1279), when it was known as chuiwan, which translates to “ball-hitting or striking-ball.” There are paintings depicting emperors playing in a field with clubs, wooden balls and different-colored flags. The current incarnation of the game is traced back to 1457 in Scotland.
There are different variations of golf, one being disc golf. The actual origins of disc golf are unknown, but it’s very similar to that of flying disc (Frisbee). In 1976 the Disc Golf Association was created by Ed Headrick, who also invented the pole hole that would be placed in the ground. Disc golf is played with different types of discs: putter, mid-range and driver. Some of the throws in disc golf include backhand, forehand and alternative throws. The scoring works the same as it would in golf; both types are dependent on how many throws you take to finish the hole.
If you’re planning to play disc golf in the near future, there are a ton of courses all across Oregon, as well as over 3,000 formal courses across the states and in 40 other countries. If you’re looking to play a full round of 18 baskets of disc golf, look no further than Pier Park located on North Lombard St. and Bruce Ave. PSU Student Robert Brodeanu tried out the Pier Park disc golf course with a group of friends and shared his experience.
“It is a more exciting version of golf. It was fun to be outside. The experience with friends was worthwhile. Disc golf was easy to learn and difficult to master.”
Pier Park, established in 2003, is a par 3 course that is made up of short and long holes with a ton of trees that will try to ruin your score.
During the final day before the 2014 MLS All-Star game, the players made a stop on the links for a round of Footgolf. This sport is basically soccer combined with golf. The scoring is exactly the same as golf, with each kick counting as a stroke. The object of the game is to use your feet to kick a soccer ball down the fairway or rough and into the 21-inch cup.
Footgolf has become increasingly popular, with over 60 courses currently operating or under construction. The international presence of the sport has made the footgolf World Cup possible, the first one having been held in June 2012 in Hungary. The sport is run by the Federation for International Footgolf (FIFG). They plan to have their second official FIFG World Cup in late 2015 or early 2016, which will include players representing over 30 of the member countries of the FIFG.
The MLS All-Stars stopped by Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland to play in teams against each other and members of the media. United States Men’s National Team center back Matt Besler of FC Kansas City was accompanied by teammate goalkeeper Jon Kempin, Australian International Tim Cahill of the New York Red Bulls, fellow Red Bull teammate Bradley Wright-Phillips, and D.C. United defender Bobby Boswell.
If you’d like to become part of the fun and represent Soccer City, USA, you too can kick an 18-hole round at Glendoveer, located on 14015 NE Glisan St.
Although we’re primarily known for support of the Timbers and the Thorns, Portlanders are also known for supporting tennis, another popular outdoor sport. In 2007 Portland hosted the Davis Cup finals, pitting the US against Russia at the Memorial Coliseum. The pre-sale tickets sold out in less than 15 minutes. The sold-out crowd led Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers to a 4-1 Davis Cup win over Russia. It was their first title since 1995.
In Oregon we have a number of public outdoor tennis courts that range from one to as many as eight court blocks. We have leagues where all ages can participate, such as the United States Tennis Association or World Team Tennis.
In Oregon we have plenty of outdoor sports available—this state’s hospitable climate has given us an opportunity to explore the outdoors in a sporting environment.
So get out and do something before it gets rainy again!