Humble. A word that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to professional athletes across all sports. Being humble is something to be praised within the sporting world, most people do not like someone who flaunts their greatness, however right they may be. This word is the first word that came to mind when I got finished talking to and getting to know Lisa Fajkus. She is all but deserving of the phrase and I could not think of a better example of humbleness in the world of Disc Golf, and here’s why.
To start off, I wanted to know where her roots within the sport began. Everyone has a different story and each one of them is different and exciting in their own way. Lisa told me that it began in 2005 when “a friend of a friend of mine had discs in his room and we went and just played the game, I have loved it and was hooked ever since then.” So, she began her journey into the world of Disc Golf through friends and caught the bug like we all do at some point. From then on out she began to compete in tournaments and grow her skill to soon become a professional.
Being a professional has its difficulties when it comes to playing. Lisa explained to me that “I worked my way up to the top, I have always been competitive growing up.” So, she fought and fought to earn her way through the rankings and to be considered how good she is now. I found out that “I have worked my way up to a pro since 2009, but, I have wanted to go pro from the beginning.” She has been only competing for 8 years now, which, may sound like a long time but there are individuals with her skill level that have been playing and competing for a while longer. She continues to grow her craft and wants to be the best that she can be in this sport. She also explained that being a Disc Golfer as well as being a professional has “given me a frisbee family that has helped me get where I am now.” Having a base behind you is so helpful in this sport and it’s great that she found one so early in her career.
With any professional career in Disc Golf, it requires a lot of travel when you go on tour. I wanted to hear form Lisa about what is like to be a road warrior on tour. She told me that “I am looking forward to the off season to work on some things.” While everyone enjoys a break, there are upsides to being on tour. Lisa explained that “traveling for Disc Golf has opened my eyes to all these beautiful places in this country.” She explained to me that “I used to not get out of Texas and now I have seen so many great places across the country.” The recent ability to travel has given her the chance to see the sights across the nation. She continued to tell me “it has made me love to travel and given me the opportunity to follow that.” She has taken this opportunity and ran with it. It is more than just playing in the tournament, but allowing professionals like Lisa who didn’t get to see these things before to see them now.
Now, Lisa has been a pro since 2009, but, she has only been sponsored by Innova for two years. She explained that “this year was one of my first actual full tour years thanks to Innova and being on the Innova Champion team.” So, she has not been on the Innova team for long but she has enjoyed her experience so far. I asked her what it’s like being on Team innova and she told me “It was a goal of mine for a while since I always threw Innova and it’s like Christmas every time I receive a package from them.” Spoken like a truthfully grateful person who enjoys what she does every day. I asked her how she got on the team and she explained to me that “I did really well locally so I decided to reach out to them to see if I could get a spot, it took some communicating but I finally landed a spot on the team.” Which is proof that you can succeed and reach your goals if you try and fight for them as much as possible. But, being sponsored has made Lisa more productive in her play. She told me that “The team is so special, being teammates with your fellow athletes and peers just makes you want to play more and play better.” The competitiveness and comradery on her team is like no other and Lisa can’t get enough of it.
Not everything I ask always has to be deep and inspirational, although, sometimes the toughest questions I ask are simply, what are your favorite course and disc? Not overly difficult, but, they still cause issues for people to answer. Simply because with 20+ discs in a bag how can you just pick one? So, Lisa told me her top three Discs “I love my star Shryke, metal flake Teebird3, and of course my KC Pro Aviar.” No surprise that she chose three Innova discs, however, they are all great discs and I wish I could get my hands on a Metal Flake TeeBird3. When it came down to her favorite courses she had to think for a minute she decided that “I really like Pier Park in Portland, OR and the legendary Maple Hill in MA.” I am surprised she did not pick a course in her home state of Texas, and to an even bigger surprise she picked Pier Park over Milo-McIver in Estacada, OR.
Every pro had to start somewhere in their game and Lisa Fajkus is no different. I know that I could use all the advice I can get when it comes down to my game. So I wanted to pick her brain and find some advice for myself and for you out there reading this. Her advice was just as wise as I thought it would be, she told me “As long as you love the game, you will find a way to get better. Go out and practice your shots, play a lot, but play against people who are better than you and learn from them.” I think that playing “up” is more useful than playing “down” as well. You will improve your game just by being around better players and seeing how they make shots that you may not be able to make yet. Another big key that she pointed out was “you have to take breaks, do not overdue yourself or you will burn out and not want to play at all, work on things slowly and enjoy the process.” When you want to succeed as bad as some do, you may burn out and learn to loathe rather than love the game. So, taking the process in pieces is a great idea especially for people who are just starting out. The biggest piece of advice that I took form Lisa is that she told me “Disc golf is such a mental game, in order to succeed you need to be patient, dedicated, and have a level head. After that, the rest will come with time.” She admitted that those things are hard to do, but, if she can get through it anyone can.
I always like to let the individuals I interview and talk to say something about themselves or say anything else that may have not gotten across when the interview is over. Whether they talk about how they play for a loved one or just want to talk about their previous sports backgrounds, all the answers are interesting to know and maybe brag about themselves for a bit. With Lisa, this is where her humbleness shined brightest. After a moment of thought and silence she told me “Well, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education last December which is something I am proud of. With Disc Golf, I just want to lead by example you know, let my game and play talk for itself and just spread goodness around. Also, I want to thank Innova, my family, and everyone who has supported me through this journey.”
I would like to thank Lisa Fajkus for letting me interview and get to know her. She is truly a great individual to talk to and she has a wealth of knowledge to give around. If you want to know more about her, you can find her on all forms of social media. If you would like to support her, you can find her Tour support Star Shryke on dgustore.com. The pattern is a sweet pair of aviators.
Picture credit goes to friends of Lisa Fajkus