By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Time spent with friends, not the final score, is what’s on Rachel Jean’s mind when she hits the disc golf course.

She spent Sunday morning at Highland Park, an 18-hole course in St. Paul.

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“Just being outside and enjoying the weather, listening to music,” Rachel said.

Her number-one partner crime for years was her buddy Steve Cedarbloom, who was never in a rush to tee off.

“If you’re waiting in line at one of the holes, he would want people to pile up and start playing hacky sack and get to know them, and then like make our group bigger,” she said.

In April of 2019, Steve died from an accident at home. His sudden passing hit Rachel hard. But after inheriting his discs from his family, including the pink one she was using on the first tee at Highland, Rachel had an idea.

“I wanted to have a way that he could continue to like get to know people on the courses some way or another,” she said.

That heartfelt mission is written on the disc, waiting to be shared. It reads:

This disc was Steve’s. Steve loved to disc. Please help him continue to play. Throw this disc to the next basket. If you find this disc at the end, please bring it to the next course. Please share a picture and video and #steveisstillplaying so friends and family can follow along.

Rachel left several discs, all with the same story written on them, at Steve’s favorite courses around the Twin Cities.

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Steve Cedarbloom and Rachel Jean (credit: Rachel Jean/CBS)

The final disc was now sitting in the first basket at Highland. While the story written on them can understandably elicit somber emotions, Rachel hopes people instead feel inspired.

“I don’t want somebody to pick [the disc] up and it’s a sob story. I want somebody to pick it up and be like, ‘Oh man, like I gotta throw this disc real good, you know, do a solid for Steve,’” she said.

Thanks to the hashtag #steveisstillplaying, videos and pictures of people throwing Steve’s discs have filled social media. One video shows a man saying Steve’s name as he and his friend whip the disc up the fairway, enough to make Rachel shed a tear. With each throw, new memories of her beloved friend are being made for a whole community to share.

Some discs have moved to courses beyond where Rachel left them.

“[Steve’s] friends and family, every time they see it posted, like they get excited,” Rachel said.

Her hope is that one day she sees a picture on social media showing the discs in other states as far away as California.

“Him like traveling through that many courses and that many people experiencing playing with him, that would be so cool,” she said.

While he’s no longer around to play a round with her, Rachel feels his presence often on the course. She expects his laughter after she throws a disc into a tree, and senses him encouraging her to talk to strangers and be more social.

“You kind of lose that person being involved in your life if you don’t continue to carry their stories with you,” she said.

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A story that she no longer carries alone.

Jeff Wagner