Natchez native brings disc golf program to AC P.E. class

Published 12:02 am Sunday, April 18, 2010

NATCHEZ — Ryan Porter shouted, “Three, two, one, go!” and the children let the discs fly.

The Adams County Christian School fourth graders in Coach Melanie Hall’s P.E. class surrounded the disc golf net and simultaneously launched their discs, hoping to land them in the basket.

If a child’s disc made it in the net, they got to throw it again during the next turn. If it missed, they sat until the end of the round. The ring of fire exercise, as it’s called, keeps the children firing the discs until just one is left standing.

The activity is part of the Educational Disc Golf Experience program Porter has brought to the ACCS P.E. classes, and Porter said the EDGE program seeks to get young athletes interested in the sport.

“EDGE is a standards-based, classroom linked curriculum for teaching the lifetime sport of disc golf,” Porter said. “It’s something that makes learning fun for the kids.

“There’s one section of the instruction manual called, ‘How Flying Discs Fly,’ which outlines the simple physics of how it goes through the air. There’s also one called, ‘It’s in the Numbers,’ where it uses math to do basic things like adding up final scores, to doing more advanced things like finding the average distances between holes.

“They’re taking concepts learned in the classroom, and applying them to the disc golf world. If we can get them interested in disc golf, we’ve met our goal.”

And it’s not just the children in which the EDGE program has birthed an interest of disc golf.

“It’s converted me to the game,” Hall said. “I’ve already bought my own discs and plan on playing it with the family. This is great — all four of us can play.”

Although most of the children are new to the sport, several started playing before Porter brought EDGE to their school. Dayne Daye, 10, said he started playing a few years ago when he lived in Colorado.

“I started when I was about 7 or 8, and I found out about it on the Internet,” Daye said. “I cut a hole in a trash can and used that, then my mom took me to a place with real holes.”

And the ability to play it almost anywhere is what makes it so fun, Daye said.

“You can just get something like a trash can and get a disc, and just play,” Daye said.

For Andrew Porter, 10, the physical activity is what makes disc golf fun, he said.

“I like baseball the best, but disc golf is No. 2,” Andrew Porter said. “It gives you exercise and it’s good for your arm.”

For Hall, the reunion with Porter also brings back memories of when she used to teach him in P.E. as a child.

“Several months ago, he came to me during basketball season and proposed bringing the EDGE program here,” Hall said.

“I remember when I stopped teaching P.E. at Trinity in ’89, he was in the first grade. Then, when I came to ACCS to teach a few years later, he ended up here. Now, many years later, the Lord just put us back together.”

And Hall said it’s amazing how well Porter works with her students.

“He’s great with these kids,” she said. “I’ve had the privilege to watch him interact with them, and it’s great seeing someone who’s passionate about what they do.”

Porter said ACCS is the first of hopefully several stops for the EDGE program.

“I haven’t set up dates, but I’ve contacted Cathedral and Trinity, and have spoken to some teachers at Natchez High School. I also want to try and bring it to McLaurin Elementary, since my mom taught there for over 20 years.”