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Do we have a reason to be ashamed of who we are? Should we try to present ourselves as something we are not?

These questions are central to issues like the Collared Shirt Rule for major tournaments or the way that the new disc magazine (FDM) portrays the sport. It seems to me that we cannot disguise who we are and trying to do so will not work. Beyond that, why should we try?

Go to a disc golf course and watch who shows up. Most of those you see will be young, blue collar and counter-culture (let's call that Y, BC, CC). If a park or a potential sponsor or a player cannot embrace (or at least tolerate) Y, BC,CC then they will not like the sport of disc golf. Go to a disc golf tournament and watch who shows up. Mostly the same group. Somewhat older and more dedicated but still BC and CC.

We are not like ball golfers. We are not as wealthy or as conservative as they are. Nor will we be for the foreseeable future. We would look foolish trying to pass ourselves off as something we are not. And our foolish attempt would be immediately transparent to all involved. Hippies in collared shirts are still hippies. So too are Y, BC, CC in collared shirts.

If Flying Disc Magazine were to homogenize itself to the point where it hides the true character of our sport, it does us no favors with parks or sponsors. Sorry but that scam is going nowhere.

So why should we be ashamed of what we are? Some of us find the Frisbee Family to be pretty darn charming and lovable. Since joining the Frisbee Family is purely voluntary, anyone whose ego needs a status bump will go down the road to the country club.

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Actually nitegolfer,

I think the reference to FDM is a direct reference to their article on smoking. I might be wrong but indeed the gist of Mark's post is to be accepting, and in that sentence he makes the comment that denying what FDM is saying does us no good with Parks or sponsors. He emphasizes that point by saying playing that card is a scam and is going no where.

I disagree with Mark's assessment, part because of common sense but part because of the direct anecdotes written here.

No one has yet come forward with a statement that shows me in any way that this issue doesn't matter to sponsors or that it would in any significant way help us to obtain sponsors. No one has shown me a single sponsor who is of the attitude, I'm gonna sponsor this sport because they are pro-drug utilization (alright, the local head shop did bring pipes to the last weekly mini but other than that...).

As I've pointed out before Mark did mix two issues, that of general acceptance and that of drug use. Yes, he didn't refer directly to drug use but he did refer to the outstanding and well documented issue raised by FDM article on drug use. Those who have taken the approach that drug use is not good for this sport have carefully separated these two issues. For the most part we've all stated that we should be inclusive even of those who partake. We've also said that taking on that image is not going to help the sport no matter what Mark feels. There is one exception, Cent. I'll leave cent to defend his own position on this but I will admit, he does recognize that drug use is not a good way to sell this sport.

Now, I accept rollers, the use of carts, what ever clothing you want to wear, your use of drugs in non-sanctioned fun rounds (if you ask me politely) sandal wearing, streaking or golfing in the nude (on private courses), martinis, beer, the two meter rule, enforcement of the foot fault rule, rednecks, rich people, professors, professionals, rookies, eating while driving on the course, straddle putts and push putts, forehand drives, tattoos, and a whole host of other mainstream and non-mainstream legal activities. I don't condone cheating and I think it would be a mistake to assume it won't hurt us to accept drug use as the norm in our sport and brag about it.
It is all about the sponsors.
Been a TD, course installer, and promoter.
Being responsibile for getting those sponsors, having to look over my shoulder to have an idiot screw it up bothers me.
I am good at getting sponsors for this sport.
But why get them for some selfish person only thinking about themself, and their current high.

Ever heard of insurance, and (lawyers)?
They cost corporations millions. Where image is important, to investors and shareholders.
Would a million dollar sponsor lay it down for a 'party' crowd?

I don't care about the "country club status symbol."
How many lawyers drive a Prrius?
More like a beemer or Mercedes.

Believe the problem is that The PDGA is not really professional yet.
How can tournaments be run for "free?"
Image primarily matters for sponsors and for officials who approve course installations. The clothing players wear or don't wear won't make a difference to either group. If there are large crowds of people watching, sponsors won't care what the players are wearing other than the pros who have sponsors. The officials who approve courses might be more impressed by those trying to get the course installed if they wear polo shirts or better. Many times it's those players willing to dress more conventionally (or do anyway) that do the work for getting courses approved.

Point being that dress of the average players for rec play or events isn't relevant. It might result in an image being portrayed but it doesn't have any direct economic ramifications. Unfortunately, the perception of what a drug user wears goes with the look whether right or wrong. So the hippie look is going to continue making that connection for the uninformed whether the person uses or not. However, the rise in popularity of snow boarding is an example where even the clothes and the real or perceived drug culture doesn't hurt the acquisition of sponsor money if you have enough people willing to watch. We don't have the spectators yet but have a dress code. Go figure.
I have friends (from high school) who were world champion athletes.
One was World Whitewater Kayak Champion. Participated in various events around the world and the Winter Olympics.
The other was a dominating 2 miler distance runner. Traveled to Helsinki, Japan, everywhere.
He received stacks of scholarships at school every day. A lot of people did where I went to school.
Now a very successful entrepeneur in sports clothing.

Both of them are down to earth nice as can be, friends. Whom I have talked to.
I hung out with the athletic crowd and was one from "other" sports than disc golf.
There was "NO question as to how you were supposed to act.
And what is expected of you and the organizations you represented.
We were not elite in our attitude towards others (not better than anyone else).

If my friends or myself were to be arrested, or misbehave, the money and sponsorship would have been gone!
Sorry to say it boys and girls, I do not judge anyone's actions.
But come on.
When the corporations, were listed on my friends jacket sleeves, all over his jacket while interviewed on ABC's Wide World he represented himself and all those people that work for those large corporations.
This is how I was raised not only did I represent myself, but others as well.

Chuck,
As anyone ever been disqualified for drugs or alcohol during a PDGA tournament?
Answer only yes or no. No need to name anyone. Don't want to hurt anyone.
Yes, several times for drugs in events where I was playing over 20 years (not me nor called by me). Can't remember any when alcohol resulted in a DQ. It's not rare but not common either. I also remember a fight in the parking lot that got both participants DQ'd. The PDGA office probably has some knowledge on this thru TD reports but they likely don't compile stats on it.
I don't believe in a Gestapo type atmosphere,
But responsiblity is dependent on each participant.
Every PDGA event I have been lucky enough to be part of, a simple "heads are turned" attitude was approached.

I made artwork for the "surfer" industry for years.
They have a reputation. You don't see anything negative in the surfing magazines. Surfers are not "angry-anti-esatablishment people." Living in Florida, it is all about the surfing "dude." Or the waves. And where.
The same should be about "disc golf." It all about flinging the plastic, dude! Where are the coolest disc golf courses.
As far as skateboarding and snowboarding, the stuff the sponsors produce are cool, and progressive.
How many people who don't surf and skate, wear or have something along those lines. They are not just 'posers' anymore.
It is about branding and marketing.

In a few years, you will see it happening to disc golf.
It is the Tournaments themselves that have to be productive and make it worthwhile to run.
It is the "charity" attitude that is hurting "us" as a whole.
BTW - one other point to make,

While I do think Mark meant to introduce the drug issue here, I don't know where Mark stands on this issue or even on the whole inclusive issue. I've seen enough items by Mark and watched his videos enough to know he's a sharp guy. It is not improbable that Mark introduced this topic because he feels it should be fleshed out and has no real position on it at all. Smart guys do that.
I personally believe this thread was created in direct response to my " How happy are you with FDM" thread. It seems to me that is was turning out that the discussion was ending up in the image arena and the flying high article was being discussed. Next thing I know there is this image of the sport thread, and I think it was started to pull people away from a thread with FDM in the title to one that was specifically discussing the issue of image. Remember this only my personal opinion on this. But it would stand to reason that if Mark is right on the web page that was being discussed and is writing for FDM, that he would have an interest in protecting that position.

I believe that Mark's opening statement (which I have already quoted a few times here), has everything I am proposing here sort of written between the lines. But you have to take everything in context, including all of the referenced FDM articles, and some of the posts from the other thread. Then IMO you definately see all the connections regarding image and the drug use issue and the reason for starting this new thread.
I think Chuck and Disc Player Sports have some good points. My beef is that years ago many wanted the sport to attract larger viewing audiences as well as more and bigger sponsors in order to grow the sport and for the well-deserved movers and shakers of this sport to be nicely compensated. Looks like the ball golf path was chosen, which looking back at history, took it a long, long time to get to where it is now. So, why should we expect anything different or even expect the same result?

If the PDGA and others wanted an "overnight" success with this sport then they needed to embrace the "coolness" factor of disc golf and its particpants. Snowboarding, skateboarding and the like are individual sports where the particpants are allowed to express themselves in their dress and their style. Most that enjoy these sports already know or at least have a good idea of what goes on behind the scenes or what drives some of the particpants so it is not really required to mention it during a broadcast or competition or use it to promote the sport. Most players themselves will do this for you by their dress, speech and overall behavior. It is the "wow, I could never do what that long hair or hippy or crazy kid or whatever just did" reaction that can draw people to these sports.

I am aware of the smoking article but I find that any discussion about the future/image of this sport dwells too much on this one subject. If a course gets pulled or a sponsor doesn't like the atmosphere then it was probably not a good fit in the first place and both sides will lose out. So, instead of trying to erradicate something that will not go away, I say, be up front with sponsors and parks depts. and let the cards fall as they may. All may be surprised. Sometimes it is a pick your poison kind of circumstance for them anyway. Several disc golf courses that I know were orignially put in because the park was already out of control and there was a desire to have more foot traffic by disc golfers to curb unwanted behavior. Great selling point by the way.

Personally, as I have mentioned before, I think the PDGA should publish only the bare bones of information (schedules, results, standings...) because it is more cost effective and helps to insulate themselves. Leave the other articles (more coverage, photos, opinions, recipes...) to another publication(s) that can take more of a risk. There is a market for it and isn't that the bottom line?

Not trying to step on anyone's toes here, I am stating some opinion. This thread could be an excerise in futility but some realism needs to be injected from time to time.
Nice post Nitegolfer!

Thanks
I'll second that.
I'm with you 100% Mark.
That being said...
I have been disc golfing for a few years and part of the reason I got into this sport was the fact that no one was going to tell me that I couldn't dress the way I wanted, or that I had to act like someone I am not. I am what Mark would call Y, NC (no collar), and CC and I don't force my beliefs on others, nor do I wan't them forcing thier beliefs on me. I live in Humboldt co. which may give me a slightly diffrent opinion on this, but people up here smoke on courses, it's just a fact of playing up here. We usualy all have enought respect to not smoke in front of peoples kids, but as with anything if you get enough diffrent people together you are bound to end up with some stupid ones. If someone doesn't smoke that's cool with us we won't look down on them, just as they won't look down on us, we are all equal, we are all disc golfers, we are all family. And on the sponsors issue we have alot of holes on diffrent courses around here that are sponsored by Smoke Shops, Hydro Shops, etc., and that hasn't upset anyone, we still have tournys (none that force people to dress a certin way), heck the smoke shops and hydro shops are often sponsors of them too.

I have hung out and played with some of the top players in the world some who partake and some who don't they are all cool people and none of them have ever given me s*%t over my choices. Some of the people that have responded to this thread have been extremly intolerent of others and I find that to be very sad.

When you are trying to get sponsors for an event, or to convence the city to put in a new course you don't need to tell them that people smoke or drink, becuse not everyone does, you should be presenting an even overview of the sport, the health benifits, fun, social asspects, hand eye cordanation, etc, not the negitive asspects.

cent said "These are the casual players that show up to a course to drink beer, smoke weed, and occasionally throw a disc." I think this is BS. I think that you need to look again, I throw a disc and occasionally drink a beer or smoke a little, not the other way around, and I think that is like most people that you have been arguing with, and it is in extremly bad taste to unfairly classify people becuse you don't agree with them. Just like it would be in bad taste for me to call all the players that look down on me stuck up, country club, richy rich's ( I don't acctualy feel this way it's just my way of showing how backwords it is).

What gives someone the right to say who can and who can't come (aside from private courses)? What's next piss testing before you can praticpate in a tourny? When will the day come to were we have to play in a country club setting paying 20, 30, 50+ bucks to play? Will it come becuse we are forced into a box to play the sport we love, to wear clothes that aren't our style and never will be? If the sport heads this way I can be sure that lower paid golfers will be forced out to make way for more white collered players, and I think that is definitly not the way to grow our sport. The way to grow the sport in my opinion is to show people that it is a fun, relaxing, laid back sport in which anyone can perticipate, despite thier income level. I don't think that putting a more "professinal image" will realy help our sport that much, with the exeption of people trying to make disc golf a carer, and trying to get big corprate sponsors, though I don't think that will ever happen.

Lets all go out and throw some discs.

Peace, Love, Happiness, and lets not forget Tolerence
-Chris

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