Note: This is part 9 in a series of posts which make up the chapters of a tongue-in-cheek look at the game of disc golf and why we love it so much, despite the lack of reciprocated affection. It is not actually intended to improve your game…unless it does…in which case we’re happy to take the credit.
Chapter 9 – Disc Prejudice and Brand Elitism
For some reason that I still fail to comprehend, our seemingly enlightened and civilized society of freedom-loving disc golfers still has an ugly, dark underbelly of prejudice. I’m not talking about race, religion, political preference, or cola consumption. I’m talking about the plague that infests courses in our very own neighborhoods– disc prejudice.
I want to be careful as I address this sensitive subject, lest local newspapers become overrun with fiery letters to the editor. Is that still a thing? After all, we are not talking about preferring certain discs for certain throws, which is completely natural. I’m not saying that you have an obligation to putt with a driver, or tee off with a disc that fades hard only ten feet after leaving your hand (see RDG Stego), merely to give your discs equal play time. I’m talking about avoiding perfectly good discs for no reason other than brand discrimination.
Yes, there are pros out there with sponsorship contracts, and they are forced to limit their bags for the sake of financial support. We can probably forgive them. But there is also a frightening number of unsponsored and even novice players out there who have embraced brand elitism to a nauseating level. You will recognize them immediately when you pull a favorite disc out of your bag and strike up a friendly conversation.
“Have you ever thrown one of these?”
The other player may suddenly cringe, as if they’ve just taken a bite of raw tripe. “No!” They roll their eyes as if you should know better. “I only throw Brand X.”
“But this is my favorite disc…”
“Well, you’re wrong!”
Suddenly you’re left standing there dejected, with your prized disc hanging limply from your fingers. You feel like you’ve just been called an idiot, because after all, only an idiot would dare throw something made by a different manufacturer than what you’re friend throws. Right? From that point forward, you find yourself hitting every tree, landing in every hazard, and missing every putt, because your confidence has been neutered by a brand elitist.
There is a popular disc brand that, for some reason unbeknownst even to the most vocal of critics, has become nearly a cuss word in my local county. That prejudice has spread even to neighboring counties and currently threatens to infest the entire state. People act disgusted when I admit that I throw quite a few of their discs, and I’m treated like a second-class disc golf citizen. Their discs are great. There is nothing that I can detect which would make them any lesser quality in either materials or design. The only flaw I can find is that the brand name rhymes too closely with “crap”.
People see this particular brand sticker on my van window and say things like, “I wouldn’t want one of those on my car because my car would break down.”
What? Really? Why? In fact, I was so tired of hearing the negative remarks about the brand from one local player that I finally asked, “Have you ever thrown one of their discs?”
“Me? No. Of course not!”
Well then– if they haven’t ever thrown a single disc by the brand, how could they possibly have formed such an outspoken negative opinion? The answer is simple. They are either brand elitist, meaning that any brand other than what they throw is, by default, utter crap. Or they suffer from disc prejudice because they are extremely susceptible to whatever opinions are frequently voiced nearby, even if there is nothing to back those opinions.
One of the most popular disc brands happens to have a lot of supporters who will throw nothing else. It’s an easy choice to make, if you’re going to buy into the one-brand-only mindset, because they have a huge catalog of discs. If you must limit yourself, then I suppose it is the easy choice to limit yourself to a brand that has created every possible mold, including popular and very dependable discs, as well as useless duds. But sometimes these players will find something made by another manufacturer that they really want to throw, and they talk themselves out of it, as if it would somehow ruin their bag beyond repair if an impure transient were included among the purebred plastics that they’ve chosen. They may run their hands over the disc, swing it through the air a few times as if testing the possibilities, but then they shake their heads and put the disc away, because it couldn’t possibly be equal to, or better than what they have previously chosen.
I have seen brand elitists, in a highly emotional breakdown, give up their chosen brand because they’ve suddenly found sufficient motivation to move to another brand. It’s almost like divorce. It is a major, life-changing decision, but once they make it, they are as passionate about the new brand as they ever were about the first. On top of that, they talk only with disdain of their ex brand, as if they’ve excaped an abusive relationship, or repented of some horrible sin
“Yeah, I used to throw Brand X. I thought they were the best. But then I discovered that Brand Z is the only way to go.”
“Oh yeah? I’ve got discs from both.”
“You should cleanse your bag of those cursed discs from Brand X, because I know from experience that they can deceive you and lead you astray. They’ll break your heart! You should only throw Brand Z.”
Now, if I were a weak-minded Stormtrooper and believed that my associate was the Jedi of disc golf, I’d fall right in line and make the switch. But you know what? I love my mixed bag. I embrace the possibilities within all plastic blends, and all disc brands. I welcome all discs, no matter what their origin, into my loving, open-minded bag. You may still kick my butt on the course, but I refuse to believe that it is because of your inability to see beyond a single logo! You are not a disc golf Jedi! You are a purebred plastic Voldamort! I defy you! I also think I’ve got my movie metaphors mixed up, but you get the point. No more disc-rimination!
Brands currently in my bag, but likely to change on a moment’s notice:
Chapter 1 – Why Do We Play?
Chapter 2 – Be the Basket / Be the Disc
Chapter 3 – It’s Always the Disc’s Fault
Chapter 4 – Achieving True Disc Lust
Chapter 5 – The Need for Companionship
Chapter 6 – Rules of Communication
Chapter 7 – Keeping Score
Chapter 8 – Disc Golf and Sports Injuries