2012-06-21 / Views

From the Braver Institute

It has been said that Frisbee is the sport of kings. I don’t know that it has been said by anyone noteworthy, but it has been said by me, therefore making my opening statement true. If you ask me, there is nothing more noble than flinging a plastic disc.

Oh, all right, there is nothing noble about flinging a plastic disc, and there is even less nobility (or grace for that matter) in running to catch said disc. Frequently there is great humility in playing Frisbee, especially if you are old enough to remember when Frisbee was the national pastime. Oh, okay, Frisbee was never the national pastime, but it sure was a lot more popular than it is now.

Two giants in the world of Frisbee have taken it upon themselves to restore Frisbee to its former glory, and by giants I mean really large guys, namely my good friend, Nelson the Viking, and myself. We firmly believe that every beach, park, and playground should have at least one Frisbee in the air during all daylight hours. Even after the sun goes down the occasional Moon Glow Frisbee could be thrown.

I have tried to talk about Frisbee to those around me, but these days when I mention Frisbee to people too young to remember the glory days, they look at me with a stupid puzzled expression and say “do you mean Ultimate?”

“NO, I DON’T MEAN ULTIMATE!”

Ultimate is some stupid form of Frisbee football that has been around for apparently a number of decades, and in recent years has become popular, I guess. But ultimate requires you to have a team, while just playing Frisbee requires you to only have a Frisbee, and additional people are optional. I have no desire to be part of a team, except maybe a gunfighting team, but that is a story for later.

Some time ago, the Viking had called me to ask if I wanted to play Frisbee. The first thing that came to my mind was how once when I was a teen throwing a frisbee around, out in the water at the beach with my friends, the most beautiful girl I had ever seen was walking along on the sand with one of her friends. I was mesmerized. Trying to be cool (because that is what young guys who are throwing a frisbee do in the presence of beautiful girls), I gave the Frisbee a two-finger fling, the coolest throw I knew. It worked, I got her attention, but not because of my smooth Frisbee throwing style. No, I got her attention because I totally screwed up the throw, and hit her squarely on the head with the Frisbee. I am sure she still suffers from the impact to this day. With my luck she’ll read this column, and I’ll end up served with papers.

“I would love to play Frisbee!” said I.

I hung up the phone and went to my dresser drawer to see if I still had appropriate clothes for Frisbee—you know, knee-high striped sweat socks, a pair of Adidas, gym shorts with piping down the sides and around the leg openings, a tank top, and a sweatband. A pair of mirrored aviators would complete the look, but I don’t think I have a pair that survived.

Actually, I didn’t really go looking for that get-up, because I know I haven’t owned anything like that in at least a year or two, but I wished I still had such clothing, because it would have improved my throwing right off the bat. Looking the part is an important aspect to playing the game well, plus there is the intimidation factor.

You may find yourself asking why intimidation is necessary when playing Frisbee, and I’ll tell you that it isn’t, if all you are doing is tossing a Frisbee to a friend. But in order for anything to be the sport of kings, there must be an element of warfare involved—some hostility—and there is no hostility in simply tossing a Frisbee to a friend.

I come from an era of Frisbee throwing when the game of Guts was in its heyday. Guts is a game played internationally, and that originated right here in the Upper Peninsula, in the Copper Country. It used to be broadcast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. It is older than that namby-pamby Ultimate.

Guts is like dodgeball with a Frisbee—there are rules, but the gist of it is that you throw the Frisbee at other people as hard as you can, trying to keep them from catching it. To catch a Frisbee flung at such velocity takes guts, hence the name.

It is no real secret that everyone just wants to seriously injure whomever they are playing against, just like dodgeball. Death and dismemberment is the goal.

So the Viking and I took to the battlefield, just he versus I, since there is no one else around who wants to throw a Frisbee.

Now we did not set out to play guts, or even seriously injure each other, it just worked out that way. Two giant men running around on the uneven ground of a park picnic area, chasing a flying disc is a recipe for injury for both participant, and spectator (had there been any).

The Viking had absolutely no control of the Frisbee, and I had to run to catch it every time. Since I was in a constant state of motion, I think I twisted both of my ankles, and dislocated a knee. My revenge was sweet though, and I am sure I broke his hand, and most of the fingers on it, with a deadly accurate, high-velocity throw.

Carnage. Mayhem. Frisbee.

The sport of kings.

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Waye Braver can be contacted on Facebook or by e-mail at waye@braverinstitute.com

Visit the Braver Institute at www.braverinsitute.com

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