If you frequent online enclaves such as the the Disc Golf Collector Exchange group on Facebook, or the similar forum pages on Disc Golf Course Review, the acronym O-O-P may be well known to you.
It stands for out-of-production, which refers to discs no longer being produced by their manufacturer.
This, of course, is significant to collectors because it means a disc is in limited supply and, therefore, of potentially higher value.
It means something to me, too, but for a different reason. While collectors get excited about O-O- P, I get nervous.
Having played disc golf for more than 20 years, I own close to 100 discs, not including the stock I have on hand for use in my School of Disc Golf. But I would not consider myself a collector. Possibly a bit of a historian, and, more than anything else, an accumulator. But as collectors are thought of as those who like to build a collection either as a hobby or for profit, I can safely say that isn’t me.
I have some discs that would go for much more than their original sales price if I ever decided to sell them, but all the discs in my possession that I value the most are dear to me for one of two reasons — either I have a sentimental attachment to them – like my first ace disc or a prototype signed and given to me by Steady Ed Headrick; or they are out of production and I still use them to play.
It’s the second reason that is the main subject of today’s post. Irreplaceable actually retains its literal definition when the object that is difficult or impossible to replace is actually serving a function rather than just gathering dust (in it’s dust cover, of course). The mere thought of losing a key disc in your bag and not being able to replace it can cause little beads of sweat to form on one’s forehead — am I right?
In my bag right now, along with an Obex, Trak, Lace, Blizzard Ape, Blizzard Destroyer, ESP Nuke, Pig and two Aviars, are no fewer than four such discs. Every time one of those gems flies out of my sight, I feel like a father whose teenage daughter is out on a date. (Okay, as a father with actual daughters I admit that’s an exaggeration, but still!) These are discs that if lost or broken would leave a big hole in my life, er, I mean my bag.
First there is my gummy Champion Beast. It is a pre-Barry Schultz mold that flies very straight and is great for low, flat S-shots. And the material is virtually indestructible (I have a theory that Innova stopped using it because it’s too durable). I stocked up a bit on these so I’m prepared should it ever get lost, but still, O-O-P.
Next is my Pro-Line Rhyno, very soft and grippy, yet firm for throwing.
I’m sure I can replace it if I have to, but I’ve checked on eBay where I actually bought this one, after losing its predecessors, and the price is going O-O-P up.
Next is a disc that is a perfect mid-range for me as a straight flyer, which can also hold a turnover line forever — my yellow Champion Cobra. This disc doesn’t say ‘First Run’ on the stamp, but I think Innova only made these in this mold for a short time. It’s very different from both the original Cobra and the ones being made now, with a completely flat top and decidedly mid-range nose profile.
I have one other one (in purple), but it doesn’t fly quite the same. Whenever this disc isn’t exactly where I expect it to be, my heart rate rises steadily until it’s safely in my bag once again.
Finally, there is the great-grandfather of my bag, a 173-gram DGA Disc Golf Disc Distance Driver, made in 1989.
This baby has both practical and sentimental value. It’s my go-to finesse roller with no conceivable replacement waiting in the wings. And being a virtual antique made when there was no other plastic other than what is now known as DX (Innova’s designation for the lowest grade), I cringe whenever it so much as heads for a tree. I originally purchased four of them from Steady Ed himself, at the DGA factory, but the other three have all died the deaths of brave warriors.
There is virtually no chance of replacing this disc, and every time I get it to roll perfectly on my second throw on hole 13 at DeLaveaga, it’s like watching one of those vintage World War I planes zoom across the sky. There is a sense of watching history unfold before your eyes, but also a nervousness around the fragility and irreplaceable nature of that disc in particular. Discs are meant to fly (and roll), though, and I’ll keep using it as long as I can.
By the way, a quick side-note about this disc — when I bought it in 1998 it was already out of production. Those who knew Steady Ed will appreciate the fact that he charged me $20 for each of them.
So my questions for you are, do you have O-O-P discs in your bag? What are they? Are you a collector who has rare discs that you’d like to throw but don’t want to reduce their value as collectibles?
Let us know in the comments below. I’m sure we’re all interested to hear the range of opinions on this one, and I personally love hearing about other antique discs that are still out there producing, even if they are officially out of production.
Jack Trageser is the founder of School of Disc Golf and the instructional writer at RattlingChains.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.