Hi. My name is Steve, and I am addicted to plastic.
Innova. Discraft. Latitude 64. Discmania. I’ve tried them all.
ESP. Champion. Super Stupid Soft. It doesn’t matter what trendy blend it is, they’re all good to me. I’ll even slum it with some DX or Pro-D when I am really jonesin’, just for the taste.
Westside. DKG. DGA. MVP…Oh, sweet luscious MVP, with that inner core of candy-colored goodness wrapped in an outer, more grippy shell. You are like the M&Ms of flying discs.
But I digress.
Origins of the Obsession
I wasn’t always this bad, you know. No, it started innocently enough. Last March, my dad came into town to see our newborn daughter, but newborns nap.
Naturally, we wanted to get out of the house for an afternoon, and I knew there was a disc golf course nearby. I had an early 2000s Innova DX Viper from when I experimented with disc golf in my college days (Who didn’t do a little experimenting in college, right?) collecting dust in the garage, and we went down to the local sporting goods store and picked up a blue 177 gram Innova DX Roc. Armed with one disc each, we were ready to go enjoy a leisurely day in the park throwing around a Frisbee.
We were just bored. That’s how it always starts, right?
One round, and I was hooked.
For reasons I can’t quite explain, the lure of playing disc golf just kept calling to me. I went and grabbed the Innova starter set (Leopard, Shark, Aviar), plus a DX Valkyrie, and was on my merry way.
Beware the Internet
I had been playing for a couple weeks, whenever I could snag some free time (or when my wonderful wife would give me a break from the new duties of fatherhood), when I stumbled upon something magical:
Forums. Advice. Technique. Retail outlets!
It was the end of my sanity as I knew it.
I pored over everything I could find, learning about “stability” and “flight charts” (both of which were a bit confusing at first, being that I am a lefty and everything is written for righties). I found courses in my area I could easily try out, and I even found a local disc golf club to play with every now and then.
But something more disturbing was developing. It all started creeping in, and a little voice in the back of my head would not relent:
“You can get more distance if you buy another disc.”
“Buy that one! It says it goes straight right on the stamp!”
“You know what? You probably need some back-up discs in case you hit a tree or something.”
“Little voice,” I said to myself, “you’re right! I do need more discs! And I need them now!”
Before I knew it, I was the owner of 10 discs. Of those 10, I would estimate that I could throw three accurately. And not very far.
But I had to have more. That little voice just kept calling to me.
I found myself spending countless hours simply browsing disc golf vendors online. It started with Disc Nation, where I could pick color and weight, which fooled me into feeling like I was in control. The cost of shipping also helped to keep things in check, and I figured I would be content with the set-up I had going for me.
Then along came Disc Golf Center, with these two gorgeous words:
It was like a heavenly oasis of disc golf happiness had been thrust onto the gleaming screen of my laptop in Vegas-sized neon lights! I couldn’t believe these guys would just pack up and send me discs FOR FREE. I had to patronize them. It was my duty as an American.
Or something like that.
Ordering those discs soon became an addiction. I had to click “Add to Cart” and “Checkout” like my life depended on it. And I think I know why.
Every time I knew a disc (or two or three) was coming in the mail, it was like being a kid all over again. I would check the mail box religiously each day leading up to any deliveries, just hoping that a box or padded envelope of joyfully molded polymers would arrive. When it did, I tore it open like I was a five-year-old on Christmas morning who had eaten an entire box of Trix covered in chocolate milk and Skittles.
When it didn’t, I had a borderline pout-fest, as it felt like Santa had punched me in the crotch and laughed as he skipped past my chimney, prepared to give my toys to other kids.
Opening new discs gave me a wonderful, warm, fuzzy feeling. Not having them was just plain awful.
Guilt, Starbucks, and the like…
From here, things got a little out of hand. I’d buy a disc, hate it, shelve it, and buy another. Or, buy a disc, love it, and buy another just in case. Either way, I just couldn’t stop. I needed the rush. One month went as follows:
- $19.79 to Disc Golf Center
- $67.97 to Marshall Street Disc Golf
- $36.44 to Disc Golf Center
I was beginning to feel guilty every time I clicked the “Checkout” button on an order. I knew I didn’t need to spend this kind of money, but it was fun! And if I didn’t try a disc, how would I know if I didn’t like it? It isn’t like disc golf has a try-before-you-buy program.
Still, the guilt ate at me.
Luckily, I had an out.
My aforementioned wonderful wife (who, to her credit, has been an absolute gem about my disc golf hobby/habit) has her own addiction: Starbucks. And I am not talking about a $1.95 cup-o’-joe-each-morning habit. We’re at full-blown, $4.25 daily (and sometimes twice daily) white chocolate mocha madness. It is her very lifeblood, and for so long I did not understand it. I fought it. I tried to make her quit.
But now, her habit was my ally. If she spent that much a day on Starbucks, it certainly was fair for me to spend as much as I was on discs, right? Right? Right…I think…
At my last count, I am up to 45 discs (which doesn’t include at least five I have lost) since March 2011. One year. For those of you who don’t like math, that is an average of almost four discs per month.
Maybe that isn’t a lot for some people, but it sure is a lot for me. Especially since I throw, in any given round, about six of them.
Which means I have a surplus of more than 30 discs in my garage.
This would all be fine if I was a great disc golfer, but I’m not. I am still struggling to make that elusive par round, and I think having too many discs is a hindrance to my game.
Plus, all the money I spend on discs is having an impact on my family. We don’t even have enough food for my daughter, so she has taken to eating my discs.
OK, OK, so that is a total exaggeration. But I need to get some things under control. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, I have a problem. I don’t throw anything well because I don’t stick with it, and I really would rather improve my game than feel neglectful of that depressed, innocent, lonely plastic every time I go in my garage.
Something had to change.
With this in mind, I have imposed a three-month disc-buying moratorium on myself.
You read that correctly. Once my new Discmania FD arrives in my wind-chapped hands this week, I will not buy any more discs. For three whole months.
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit thinking about it.
Overall, I think it will be a positive for my game. I will focus on the discs I have, not the discs I think I need. I will work on improving my form, instead of looking for the next lightning in a bottle disc that will solve my problems like some magic elixir.
In short, I will stop drinking the Kool-Aid until June and focus on just playing my game.
This won’t be easy.
I still sit and stare at disc golf websites every night, thinking about which discs I want to gently fondle before lovingly guiding them down the fairway. And I know that during this next quarter of a year there will be a cornucopia of new molds released that I will want to try. But I have to hold out. My wallet needs it. My game needs it.
My poor, disc-devouring daughter needs it.
Wish me luck, fellow golfers. It is going to be a long few months.
What’s that you say? You have some discs you want to trade me?
Well, that’s a whole different story.
Steve Hill desperately wants to tell speed 7 fairway drivers how he feels about them, but fears he will jeopardize their relationship as “just good friends.” Email him at steve [at] rattlingchains.com.