As kind as life can be, it can be equally as cruel. Christmas Eve that same year Patrick’s mother Anne underwent an open heart surgery operation, and two years to the day after that his sister Donna was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The proceeds of touring, his only steady job, he spent on caring for his family. For someone who has become accustomed to seizing the moment himself, being powerless to do anything except wait and hope is agonizing.
Unsatisfied with being relegated to the sidelines in his loved ones’ fights for their lives, he has taken the fierce intensity and work ethic that has molded him into the successful athlete and poured it into providing for his disc golf family. Instead of dominating the Masters field on the PDGA National Tour this year, you can find him at Golden Gate Park with a weed eater, a shovel, or even just bare dirty hands working from dawn until dusk. It gives him some measure of reassurance and comfort in one of life’s situations that offers none of either.
Most people know Patrick as a fiery individual who speaks his mind and is never satisfied with less than perfect, but many don’t see beyond that. Looking beneath the tattoos, the intense stare, and the ‘if you’re not first, you’re last’ mentality you’ll find somebody who cares deeply for his sport, his friends, and his families. He often doesn’t filter himself, and he’ll be the first to ‘fess up to his short temper, but it is evident beyond doubt that Anne Brown taught Patrick and Donna one of life’s most valuable lessons: that actions speak louder than words ever will.
He steps back and overviews the completed wall. Pulling out his cell phone, he snaps a quick picture for his blog. He jots down some notes for tomorrow’s work. Soon enough, the same course that brought him up through the ranks will be the crucible that makes or breaks the next generation of Northern California disc golfers. He gets a text beckoning for him to join a doubles round forming at hole 1. Though he’s tired and calloused he locks up his work gear and grabs his golf bag, never passing on the opportunity to school his younger brothers in the backyard.
Photos courtesy of Ron Schreier.