The Galindo brothers weren’t close growing up in Decatur.
Mario and Ruben were separated by 11 years and were always in different stages of life.
When Mario was graduating high school, Ruben was a 7-year-old kid.
“We lived in the same house, but he was working and going to school when I was just starting to be able to do stuff,” Ruben said of his brother Mario. “He was 21 when he had his first kid.”
The two never really had the stereotypical brother relationship until around 18 months ago when Mario chose to give his younger brother’s hobby of disc golf a shot.
“I really got into it just as something we could do together,” Mario said. “I just wanted to get to know him, and I ended up loving the sport.”
After playing once, Mario went out and bought his own set of discs and the two brothers who once never spent time together, began playing at least twice a week and building their relationship.
“It was awesome because a lot of times I was following in his footsteps,” Ruben said. “He tried one of mine out one day. I showed him some basics, and he took off with it.”
Ruben said that Mario improved quickly by listening to his advice and having the strategic mind that the game requires.
When the Decatur Parks Department built a six-hole course at Melba Doyle Park last fall, the two helped with the design of the course and have been regulars’. They were some of the first to join the Decatur Disc Golf Club that now has around 49 members.
Not only did their relationship grow, their skills also grew.
Ruben had been playing for nearly a decade and had become one of the top players in the area, while Mario picked up some of his brother’s tricks and became a strong player as well.
In fact, when Ruben recently won the Decatur Golf Club championship, it was Mario who came in second right behind him.
“Ruben is amazing out there,” Mario said. “I just got lucky and had a good day. Ruben blew everyone else away.”
Despite his modesty, they both have been instrumental in locally growing the sport that has been building a groundswell in recent years.
The Galindo brothers have given free lessons to young and inexperienced players in the area and helped the Decatur High School students, who are building an 18-hole course at the school with design ideas.
Though disc golf has been around since 1926, it hadn’t reached national popularity until the last 20 years, and the state of Texas is a hot spot for the sport.
Texas has 250 courses, 53 more than any other state in the nation, according to the Disc Golf Course Review.
Recently, they signed up for one of disc golf’s biggest national events, the Glass Blown Open in Emporia, Kan., and were two of around 900 scheduled to play in the tournament.
Unfortunately for Ruben, his new job with the Grand Prairie Fire Department won’t allow him to attend the event, though Mario is still planning on making the trip.
Ruben’s new job will undoubtedly eat into his playing time, but becoming a fireman has been a longtime goal for him.
That might have something to do with his big brother Mario, who has been a fireman for over a decade and currently works for the Hurst Fire Department.
“I think part of it is, I’ve always had respect for the position,” Ruben said. “My brother did it and I always respected what he did. He encouraged me to look into it when I mentioned that I had some interest.”
Mario laughs when talking about the paths their lives have taken.
“It’s funny,” he said. “I started playing because I wanted us to have something in common. Now our lives are kind of parallel in that we have the same occupation, we’re both fathers and we share a hobby.”
Though their early lives were loosely connected, two brothers found a place for each other with some effort and a love for disc golf.