The Lost and Lonely Discs
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
By Tony Forder
4/20 - Written during the early days of Covid-19 shutdown.
It's a tough time for discers. No parks open to play in, throwers are reduced to virtual disc golf or putting practice, unless they own extensive property. Yes, we should all be 100+ rated putters when this is all over.
Full-time discers carry dozens of discs on the course, and have closets full of them at home. They consider which ones to take in their bag depending on the course, the weather, etc. Thus it's a privilege for a disc to be taken out to play. And of course there are the super-privileged, the special discs that basically live in the bag. You can imagine toy story-like whining from the discs that are left behind. Now, even the favorites know what it's like to be left behind.
Just like us discers, just like us humans – the pandemic is reminding us we're all in this together.
So, as discers can only fondle their favorite plastic at home in these times of quarantine, I find myself wondering, is it weird to have such a personal relationship with a plastic object?
Regular discers are notoriously protective of their discs. I was at a putting contest once at a brewers convention in Nashville and some of the local discers came out to participate. The publicly available putters looked pretty scrappy so I asked this one guy if I could borrow a couple of his putters. He looked at me like I was trying to steal his baby. In fact he said, "Sorry, they're my babies."
Me, I'm old school. I carry only a half dozen discs or so, but that's mostly because my quiver is tiny. Don't worry, as I re-enter the sport, I am planning to upgrade to a larger backpack.
And I've started to realize why my game sucks so much. I don't have much of a personal relationship with my discs. Ya see, I live part-time on a disc golf course, well, on a farm that features a disc golf course. There's tons of lost discs in the clubhouse. There's the recently lost – which generally have a pretty high claim rate, and then there's the lonely ones which are forever waiting in purgatory to be reclaimed. Some with phone numbers, some without.
I figured I'd make some of these discs happy, to give them flight again. I try and pick the ones sans phone numbers. But, what do I know about their past, what kind of karma is instilled in this plastic?
As most adults know, it takes time to build a relationship. It's no different with discs. Many discers carry a new disc in their quiver for a while before even throwing it, except maybe in practice. I have a new Aviar in my quiv – it has the stamp of one of my favorite breweries. I have it designated for approach and long distance putting (for me that's over 20 feet). I have no intention of replacing my short distance putter – it has a personal stamp on it. So I added the new guy to the quiv and tried it out here and there. It didn't do anything to prove itself, and when it messed up, I made it wait. But last night, I had an approach – I could clearly see the low hyzer line and, it being a doubles round, I went for it. And nailed the 100 footer. The new guy proved itself. The old long distance putter is now backup.
For serious disc golfers, it can be quite traumatic to lose one of your go-to discs. Rewards are offered for return. Hence the phone number written inside. Although I have seen messages like Finders Keepers written on discs.
On our farm, the course is young and still being tamed, but as it gets more manicured, I'm sure there will be less lost discs. Although the pond – Lake DiscBeGone – will no doubt continue to claim its share of plastic, some to be trawled in, some never to return from the murky depths.
Meanwhile, although I have been able to forge a meaningful relationship with some of my recycled discs, when I get my new bag, I might go the route of virgin plastic, so I can develop an unfettered personal bond with my discs.
On the other hand, what if I purchase a used bag? (My current one was a hand-me-down) – now, there's another conundrum!
In the meantime, let's spare a thought for all the lost and lonely discs out there...and for the days when we can all air it out together again, and give our plastic wings, as was meant to be.
Tony Forder began discing in the 1980s in the Redwoods of California as a founding member of the Par Infinity Disc Golf Club. After a lengthy hiatus he is plying plastic again on the opposite coast with the Skylands Flying Disc Club of NY/NJ.