How To Tarnish Your Brand

I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy, so…no names. I recently agreed to cover a local tourney for a disc golf site, and a clinic being put on by a local club featuring a well-known pro. The clinic was okay, but I thought a lecture on biometrics and proper throwing form was lost on this crowd. Most in attendance were there to meet the pro, and maybe glean a trick or two to add to their game. Believe me, it was a lecture. The pro in question showed up late, and then behaved like a rock star who expected his every whim be indulged. Afterward, I approached him and said I wasn’t writing another “10 questions for ______” type of article, that i wanted to write something more in depth about the sport. He agreed to a interview on a certain day. He left a day early with no courtesy call to let me know. No big deal, I suppose, unless you part of a sport that is clamoring for more media attention. I’m sure the life of a touring pro leaves precious little time for social media, but then it seems wise (to me, at least) to be accessible to those who have proven their ability to influence it.

The next day, he of course won the local tournament and pocketed roughly 800 dollars. To my knowledge, not a peep from him acknowledging the countless hours of hard work put in by volunteers to make the course ready after a spate of recent storms. Entire trees had to be cut up and moved. Tee boxes needed to be mulched. Stolen baskets had to be replaced. All of this in addition to the work by local vendors (done for free). The pro in question had a chance to shake some hands, engage with his fans, and establish himself as a true professional. Winning 800 bucks off the hard working locals and then blowing town puts you in the “pool shark” category.

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The Last Word On Lost Discs

I panicked when I reached into my bag for my precious Star SL and realized I didn’t have it.   We had been together for quite awhile, and our relationship, though rocky at the onset, had strengthened over time and she became the most trustworthy disc in my bag.  I’m betting anyone reading this has had a similar love affair at one time or another.   You find yourself reaching for the same disc almost every time a challenge presents itself, because humans, by default, stick with what they know.  My SL was a reliable driver, put a slight anheiser on her and she would smile and just hold a line as long as you needed her to do so.  If I needed to skip an upshot toward the chains, she would take off, scan the terrain, and bounce herself up at just the right moment to give me an easy putt to finish out the hole. It’s like we had this whole “Vulcan mind-meld” kind of synchronization.  You can’t fake that.   Oh sure, there were other discs.  I had my share of brief flings with glossy newcomers with names like Katana and Valkyrie, but afterwards, I always felt so…dirty.  Cheap and easy plastic whores were a distraction, but in my heart, I knew which disc loved me back.

Alluring, yes, but heartbreak and despair await

That day, my disc golf buds and I were throwing a sort of practice round.  Two drives off the tee, it gives you a chance to try out different approaches to the same hole.  For whatever reason, (and, truthfully, there are probably oh, say, 420 reasons) I forgot I had thrown my SL, and it wasn’t until we had gone to play the back nine that I remembered.  I retraced my steps as best I could, but I never found her.  Someone else surely did.  Another player either found her before I went back, or after.  I was seriously tweaked by this development.  A relative newcomer to the game, I didn’t have many discs in my bag that I had already dialed in.  I actually placed a bounty.  But I never saw her again.  Then a funny thing happened.  I was complaining to my friend about it, and he remarked, “well, didn’t you find that disc to begin with?”  Man, the earth shook, the angels wept.  I experienced what drunks call ” a moment of clarity.”   Yes.  I had found her.  She was laying there, in the weeds, looking battered and scratched but essentially intact.  There was no one else playing that course at the time, so I placed her in my bag, and finished out the game.  I had almost a year with her.

I’ve thrown plenty of 16 dollar discs into the lake, or deep into wooded thickets that would make a platoon of Viet Cong change course. I’ve spent more than a few hours searching, lifting up fallen logs, scattering leaves, reaching into dark recesses that could have, at any time, brought me face to face with a pissed off pit viper or a rabid raccoon.  (Isn’t that a Beatle’s song? The rabid raccoon, checked into his room…)  Sometimes I came away with my disc, (or at least some other disc) but many times, I sighed, gave up, and went on about my day.  I emphasized gave up because that’s where I think you have to end this whole sordid business.  I’m going to pronounce this as LAW, sent down from on high by the Discs Gods themselves: “The moment you stop searching for your disc is the moment it no longer belongs to you.”

Think about that.  At some point, you just say tohellwithit and go do something else…finish the round, mow your lawn, split a pitcher of ale with your mates, whatever.

Once I accepted that, I stopped pining for lost discs.  Someone will eventually find them, use them, and likely re-lose them.  You know what? The Earth Mother will still rotate, the tides will continue to rise and recede, the sun will shine as brightly as ever.  Let go.  Breathe. Focus on the discs you still have, and take comfort knowing some other disc golf player may be enjoying one that you lost.  Why begrudge him or her?

This post was motivated by two separate but overlapping events.  On Saturday, I was playing a local course with Rock Solid and Travis Damn Quillen.  We teed off on hole 7 or 8 and as we walked to our discs, another player approached and asked us if we had found his disc, which he described as a white Valkyrie.  We informed him that we had not, but then the other player noticed Rock Solid putting a white disc into his bag.  (We all carry quite a few white discs, simply because it’s an easy color to see in any season) Rock Solid’s neck hairs bristled a bit, but he did show the guy that it wasn’t his disc.  I’m not sure what would have happened if Rock Solid had refused to show him, but I’m pretty sure any move to force him to do so would have resulted in that other golfer being air-lifted out on a gurney.  It was beyond rude.

Then I heard a rumor that the PDGA will no longer sanction new courses that don’t include a “lost disc” box of some sort?  Please tell me this isn’t true.  It may be along the same lines as Obama’s “death panels”.  Anyway, I don’t have the strongest Google-fu in the world, but I couldn’t find a source for this.

That said, applying a little etiquette is always a good idea. Goofus sticks the disc in his bag and hides it.  If there is a name and number on the disc, Gallant will always place the call. But, the burden of return is always on them.  I’m not polluting the planet with exhaust fumes so that I may meet you somewhere.  Send me a postpaid envelope, I’ll put it the nearest box.  If I see you on the course, I’ll gladly hand it back to you.  Absent those two scenarios, I’m pretty much out.  Deal with it.

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Another Day, Another Gig

My name is Mack Farmer.  I am a chain smoker, a basket case, a huckster.  You can often find me walking the woods of neighborhood parks in my over-priced water-stained shoes, carrying around a bunch of over-priced Frisbees in my over-priced Howler monkey -proof bag.   My body bears the scars from unfortunate encounters with thorns, briers, insects and assorted critters.  I have calluses on my right index fingers from the beveled edges of polymer discs that rip from my out-stretch hands. I am a disc golf player.

I wanted to say that I am a disc-golf fanatic, but that seemed too extreme.  I don’t sleep with my discs under my pillow, or have any posters of four-time Grand Master Winner Dr. Rick Voakes hanging on the wall, and I certainly DO NOT HAVE ANY “FRISBEETARIAN” COTTON AND WOOL BLEND PAJAMAS.  (Available in sizes 28-44 on my website, please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery)  But I wouldn’t classify myself as mere a fan either.  I play.  A lot.  I have a basket at home that I use to practice approaches and putting.  I keep my bag in my car, just in case.  I have excellent disc-golf related websites like Acerunners.com and The Church of the Grand Hyser bookmarked.  Got it?  I’m a serious play-yah.

So, when Acerunners.com contacted my agent about me writing for them, I was intrigued. But something was nagging at me.  It didn’t quit all through the flight, (even with first class accommodations) it still bothered me during the limo ride from the airport, and even while taking the elevator to their posh penthouse office suite I kept feeling something wasn’t right.  I managed to push it to the back of my head during the mind-numbingly dull interview.  I can’t help but be bored by the endless recitations of my personal literary achievements, look, guys, we all know why you sought me out, there is no need to recount the reasons out loud, is there?  Still, I smiled and nodded through each and every stupid question and talked slowly and remembered not to use too many big words when I answered them.  They of course giggled and fawned the whole time, then put up no resistance to my unreasonable demands.  “Whatever it takes to make you happy, Mr. Farmer” was seemingly on a loop.

It wasn’t until after I left that it hit me.  This is a boring damn sport to write about!   There are no “runner on third, two outs, one run lead” scenarios to be re-told.  I mean, how would someone write interesting articles about, say, hunting?  “He approached, unnoticed by the slow-witted deer.  He took careful aim, squeezed the trigger, and rejoiced as the leaded projectile slammed into the animal’s ribcage, creating a rainbow of colors as the flesh, fur and blood flew into the air”.  That about sums up every hunting encounter.  Ever.  Anyway, I began to feel that I had been had.  I actually agreed to write interesting articles about people who fling plastic at metal targets.  It cannot be done.

Fortunately, I am a cagey old bastard.  See, I can divide this past-time into two separate categories…sport, and game.  As a sport, I suppose I can write some stuff about tournaments, equipment, and perhaps review a course or two.  (Though, just about every course has the same elements: trees, hills, thickets and fairways, right?)  Now, as a game, I figure the sky is the limit!  Because I happen to think that disc-golf hasn’t really turned into a mainstream sport, not yet.  It has advantages over other “fringe” sports, like snowboarding, because, well, first of all you don’t need snow, and also because you don’t have to look like a juiced up ginger kid to be good at it:

Wait, not him.

Him.

But in fairness, I have to admit that at least snowboarding belongs in the Olympics, unlike this sport:

Seriously, people watch this?  I guess, if you live in a place where winter is 13 months long, and everyone around you is as bland as unflavored yogurt, this might just qualify as excitement.

And I don’t think disc-golf will ever get there.  I hope I’m wrong.  But as I was saying, as a game disc-golf has more appeal to me, and I’m wagering that there are many others who share this view.  I’ll be exploring that in posts to come, so check us out early and often.  Oh, they asked me to include a pic of yours truly, and, well, I took their money, so I guess I kinda have to.  Here:

This is all you sickos get.

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Disc Tree

Okay, under the new rules for 2011…can anyone tell me which of these discs are considered “in”?

H/T:  Ace Runners.

Played Seven Oaks on Monday…can’t say I was unhappy with my round, considering I hadn’t touched a disc in three weeks.  It was cold, but not brutally so.  Travel sank a 40 ft putt, the prick.

I hope to get out next week.  I have a 40 degree rule, and this week ain’t looking too good.

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REWARD

I am placing a bounty on a disc.  Bring me my white Star SL, (there is no other like it, anywhere) and I will pay a 30 dollar finder’s fee, no questions asked.  Lost on Saturday at Seven Oaks.  She will not perform for you, she is beat up and scratched and could possibly infect the other discs in your bag.  We have been together a long time, and we have an agreement worked out, but she will not honor it with you.  Make the world a better place.  Return my disc.  The go buy you something new.

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Rock Solid Rocks Crocket

Good grief.  Rock Solid shot a 1 under par at Crocket Park in Richmanville, Tn yesterday, beating Me and Travel by 5 strokes.  The boy can putt.  There is nothing else to say about that.

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Updates From The Rectory

Well, I got my first ace.  Okay, I actually got something called a “black ace”, but it is apparently a big deal if my friend T-ravel is to be believed.  Hit the basket from tee box I did, only, it wasn’t the right basket.  Felt kinda good, but really, anytime you hear the chains clank together it feels good.

Starting to see very good distance from the forehand drive.  I can pretty much depend on my overstable discs, like the Xcaliber, Wraith, SL, and Tracker to hold their line and then break appropriately.  Thats handy on on the course.  Backhand is still sketchy, but not too erratic.  I just can’t throw it too far that way.  200 ft, pretty straight.  Course management is my game these days.

If I could only putt….

I may wander down to Seven Oaks this afternoon and play in their tourney, just for grins.

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