Parting With Plastic

Parting With Plastic

A disc’s life starts off in a manufacturing plant somewhere in America, and for the ones that end up in our disc golf bag; each has a story as to how it got there.  Was it purchased at a local disc golf store, won at a tournament, given to you by a friend, or found on a disc golf course? Over time, some of these lucky discs become our “go to” discs—our absolute favorites to throw.

So if that disc you simply cannot live without ends up in a murky pond, how long would you spend searching for it?  The majority of the disc golf population probably wouldn’t hesitate to grab a rake and start scraping bottom, searching till the sun went down—or came up.   I’ve even seen “Lost Disc” flyers posted at courses with “Reward if found” written in big, bold letters.

Facebook and the social forums on dgcourseview.com also allow us to reach out to the locals with please, like, “I lost my disc on Hole 4, in the rough somewhere. Keep your eyes open for my Valkyrie please!  Call if found.  Reward!” We love the plastic that’s in our bag and would do almost anything for it.

There can be risks involved in fighting to get our loved ones back. My husband once found himself in this position raking the bottom of a pond in search of his putter; his favorite putter.  As he crossed a slick fallen down log acting as a bridge, he slipped and landed on a branch—X-rays later that night showed that he had two broken ribs and a punctured lung.  Two weeks later, including three chest tubes and a thoracotomy, he was released from the hospital.

A full recovery has been made since then and up until this last July, his putter still lay in that un-forgetful stench of a murky pond in Joliet, IL.  The famous blue Champion Rhyno was recently found among hundreds of other discs and after a phone call it made its way back into his hands.  His favorite Rhyno now hangs on the wall.  Two years later, the story is now complete; because of that phone call.

There are other lost disc stories out there that, thankfully, do not involve losing our “go to.”  Take this amusing thread on the disc golf forum dgcourserview.com about a guy who received an e-mail from a girl about his lost disc titled “I have your Frisbee!”  Included in the email was a photo of his disc being used as a plate for her sandwich.   “This is your mid-range driver in a Colorado parking lot!” the e-mail read.

At the time she was on a “post-grad rock climbing cross country trip” and continued to send more emails with pictures of his disc in various situations (in the car, on the beach or on an airplane).

After the second email from her the guy simply wished her well on her trip and asked for more photos.  Two months later the story continues as, in my opinion, as one of the most entertaining threads on dgcoursereview.com.   It sounds like he’ll get the disc back some day.  Hopefully he’ll post a photo of his reunion for all of us to see.  The disc owner appears pretty laid back about losing this particular disc, some plastic we’re okay with parting with—temporarily or permanently.

Sometimes you just have to say goodbye.

Many years ago I was doing some driving practice on a friend’s farm in Grinnell, IA.  Way before I knew what an anhyzer air shot does in a head wind, I turned one over and watched it carry deep into the cornfield.  I searched for hours upon hours for that disc. It was my first (and at that time, my only) ace disc.  Later that evening I decided to call the search off and informally offer it up as a donation to the farm—knowing that one day, a brush hog would be by to chop it up into little Pro Leopard bits.  The friend who I was visiting that weekend on that sunny farm in Iowa has since unexpectedly passed away.  In a sentimental way, I’m glad that I never found that disc.

Sometimes losing a disc is a conscious decision.  A donation so to speak.  If you live in a state as nondescript as Illinois, any mountain top or canyon you find yourself near, say on a road trip, creates a great opportunity to really watch a disc fly. Far.  If you’ve never done it, throwing a disc off a mountain top is a truly exhilarating site and feeling.  That’s why I always have a few DX discs in my hatch. Just in case.

I’ve held onto found discs of friends whom I have lost touch with over the years; I refuse to throw them or sell them so they stay in storage.  I may run into him/her again and be given the opportunity to return their plastic and maybe even rekindle a relationship.  Even new relationships or acquaintances can be born out of the return of a lost disc.

I once found a disc at a local course in Illinois.  After a phone call I found out the owner lives in California and have never been in my state.  He lost the disc in Nevada.  How it ended up here is a mystery.  For my minimal efforts to mail his disc back to him in California he offered my husband and I a personal tour of Yosemite National Park, where he works as a park ranger.  An unexpected but fantastic trade off!  We hope to take him up on that offer one day.

You never know what can become of dialing that phone number on the back of a Destroyer you pulled out of the woods.  At the same time you may never get a phone call on one or few of the ones you’ve lost – or you may just hold onto hope that one day you will. That’s completely out of our control.

And remember, no disc is worth a life.  As innocent as your search for a lost disc seems to be going, always use caution and remember that, at the end of the day, it’s only plastic.  Even if it is a 10x Roc.  Some stories will have happy endings, and others will not.  But for the ones that do, isn’t it great to have been a part of it?