Apr 272011

NoC Sports

Appreciation for sports in this city has long been ignored by city leaders, or so say some Lexington citizens.

“I drove out to Nicholasville yesterday to check out the Riney B [disc golf course and water park], and dammit if their disc golf course don’t go to 24,” says Danny Mayer, 35, a passionate amateur disc golf player and regular faculty member at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. “Along with a private 22 hole course some communitarians have built out near Keene, this gives Jessamine County 2 extra long golf courses.”

It didn’t take too long to put two-and-two together and realize, Mayer says, that “Lexington doesn’t have any 22 or 24-hole disc golf courses. None. Nothing here is bigger than 18 holes.”

Not content to rest easy on this knowledge, Mayer got to thinking. Disc golf is real popular with young creative types like himself. The hip downtown paper he owns, North of Center, has strong creative class demographics, and it covers a league (the BDGA) that plays in disc golf tournaments. One of the city’s most progressive companies, LexMark, has its own set of baskets. Heck, Austin and Portland and Pittsburgh and all those places have kickass disc golf courses.

It’s not just a slacker leisure sport, he thought. It’s also an attractor of economic actors.

With this idea guiding him, things fell into place.

“Leaking premier disc golf courses to Jessamine County is no way to attract people here to Lexington who are creative like me,” Mayer observed. “But it’s not just disc golf. Before we know it, the entire downtown scene could very well be all moved out Nicholasville way, to the Boot Store perhaps–or Cracker Barrel.”

Determined to save his city, Mayer did what all creatives do: he started a Facebook page, attracted some like-minded souls and then called a meeting. Two weeks later at uptown Lexington’s Al’s Bar, the editor of the quirky northside newspaper found himself front and center in front of a crowd, transformed suddenly into a genuine community organizer.

“The park facility our disc golf players compete in, and our fans go to, must be the gold standard! It can be nothing…less than that,” Mayer thundered from atop a milk carton to six white people and one multi-cultural assembled at Al’s Bar this night. “I think on that we can all agree!”

The CfCSS plan: activate the city

The group, called Creatives for Common Sense Solutions (CfCSS), had assembled that night at Al’s to listen to Mayer and embark on a first community project: demanding Lexington “develop a 25 hole disc golf course somewhere in the city.”

CfCSS’s first task will be to secure the $35,000 in private donations necessary to ensure the group’s existence. Times are tough, money is tight. Thus far Mayer has refused to comment on speculation that Mayor Jim Gray may kick off the CfCSS fund-raising effort by making a personal contribution of $2,000.

“This project is all about activating our city,” Mayer says while playing a recent soggy round at 18-hole Lexington course Shillito Park. “Taking the opportunities in our sports community and engaging those opportunities in imaginative and inspired ways…[P]eople want to be around that kind of energy. We’ve got to be realistic, but we’ve also got to dream.”

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