Lion Signs On As PDGA Events Assistant
The biggest events can come down to the smallest details; an unclear out-of-bounds line here or an ill-defined rules application can take the shine off a tournament.
Luckily, new PDGA events assistant Todd Lion sweats the small stuff.
“When I look for a good event, I’m looking for the on-the-ground execution of the nuts and bolts, the daily grind, the base level requirements for a successful event,” Lion said. “…From my experience as a TD in my area, I think that those are the areas I excel in.”
It was that experience and attention to detail that helped Lion rise to the top of a pool of more than 40 applicants for the position. A North Carolina native who now resides in South Carolina, he boasts a degree in aerospace engineering and formerly worked in mechanical and heat transfer engineering as a contractor for General Electric.
His disc golf bona fides, meanwhile, date back to the late ‘90s, when he first discovered the sport playing on an object course at a university campus near his high school. He became a PDGA member in 2008, and in 2011 started volunteering with South Carolina’s Upstate Disc Golf Club, where he’s worn numerous hats. Lion has been a tournament director or assistant tournament director in nearly all of the club’s local events in the last five years, and he’s served as club president for the last two.
Downsizing at his contracting role left him with more time to dedicate to disc golf, though, and paved the way for him to apply for this new role.
“Being able to work for the PDGA is a good intersection of being able to turn what you’re passionate about into an actual job,” Lion said. “…If my boss knew how much time I was doing disc golf spreadsheets at GE, I would have gotten laid off a long time ago.”
Lion jumped into the events assistant position feet first, trekking west for the PDGA National Tour kickoff at the Las Vegas Challenge in February. He’ll be on the road much of the year, as he’ll help events manager Shawn Sinclair run the organization’s five remaining NTs and 11 Majors.
“Todd brings with him a vast amount of tournament directing experience,” Sinclair said. “His rules and competition knowledge is unrivaled, and he is a great addition to the events team.”
So if you see him out on the road, feel free to go up and say hi. He can regale you with his dry sense of humor, or show you some photos of his wife's co-workers. (She's a zookeeper, so there will be baby animals aplenty.) At the same time, don’t be surprised if you don’t end up seeing him at all; that’s by design.
“It’s kinda like the offensive lineman or the referee quotes that everybody gives for football: 'You shouldn’t notice these guys unless something goes wrong,'” Lion said. “You should not really notice me unless something goes wrong. And I don’t want to be noticed.”
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