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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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The "cops" are about as useful as the concrete tee pads.
Know of situations of drugs, and they are very messy & touchy.
Don't you watch the news.
Most disc golfers are harmless.

But there are KNOWN situations.

Discretion!
& Appropriateness!
I didn't KNOW of this coming into the sport.
Started from scratch on a Homemade course. Then started with one "public" course, moved it 10 miles down the road, and a new one recently.
It came to the Disc Golf Course. Or the Park (probably was all ready there).
Believe this, it pisses me off when someone "smokes" in front of my son.
If you call the cops, you are labeled, and you put countless hours building courses and installing them, for what.
TO HAVE IT REMOVED, BECAUSE SOMEONE DECIDES THAT THEIR BEHAVIOR MUST BE TOLERATED. Let's see would a city put up with it? It is their park. Smoke in a shopping mall, or supermarket, any public place! See where it gets you.
Are not parks public places!
Grow up children.
Don't care if anyone smokes. Do it away from kids!
Be appropriate!
Change the law!
The sport is about throwing discs at chains Russell... why should those of us who choose not to break the law whilst playing the game we love be UNFAIRLY tarnished by those of us who think that they can do whatever the hell they want? The reason, in my opinion, our GAME has not become a legitimate SPORT is for a couple of reasons, the first is that we are considered a novelty and secondly is that people think of disc golf as that "hippy stoner sport". I can live with the hippy part, it's the "stoner" part that gets me angry.

You say that its people like me that keep bringing it up and causing this negative image, i disagree. Refusing to deal with the issue doesn't make anything improve, in fact things generally go from bad to worse if people don't have the courage to speak up. People who smoke dope and play disc golf on public courses at the same time cause the issue, because if this didn't occur, there wouldn't be anything for me to bitch about.

Other sports (eg weightlifting and track and field) have done everything they can to distance themselves from drug controversy and establish anti-doping policies to combat drugs in sport, and over here in Australia elite AFL players have been given extended bans for testing positive to illicit drugs in their system (including recreational drugs). If we want our game to become accepted as a mainstream sport (which I accept may not be everyone's goal), then we need to do the same.

Now we'll hear the old "but its our culture" argument. This is a load of crap. The hippy counter-culture was way different to the current counter-culture. Hippies were about peace, love and tolerance from what I know. The new counter-culture is about blatantly disrespecting authority and any sort of restrictions just for the sake of doing so eg "If I want to smoke a joint in public, screw anyone who tries to tell me otherwise".

As for our "under-handed" and "sell-out" money and sponsor-grabbing ways, money makes the world go around. Corporations cannot be seen to endorse illegal drug use, they want to be associated with success and integrity, and at the end of the day they need to make money out of any sponsorship through positive brand recognition. We couldnt get new courses or clubs established without this source of funding, whether its government or private sector. The game has grown so far thanks to the hard work of people who have put in years and years of blood, sweat and tears into promoting disc golf to government and private enterprise. Tolerating drug use will mean that we will NEVER be a legitimate sport, and never see the sort of professionalism and press coverage the bigger and more professional sports receive (synchronised swimming is an Olympic sport, yet we can't even get regular tv spots? come on!).

Russell, I don't think anyone said you were an idiot, so don't accuse us of that. I knew nothing of the pot-smoking image before coming into the game, so once again you are making assumptions. All I knew was that you were meant to throw the disc into the basket, and that was a beautiful thing. It was later that I found out about the negative press disc golf gets due to the pot-smoking element (which I have to disagree with you again, is not "the entire image" of disc golf). And as for saying that we would "go totally against (our) beliefs if a company promised (us) money", thats possibly the most ignorant thing I think I've ever read. You don't know me, and you don't know my ethics or morals, so thats a HUGE call to make about someone you've most likely never met.

If I want to try and have a part in changing something for what I consider to be "the good of the game", I will try to do so. And I don't think that anyone could argue that smoking pot while playing improves disc golf as a whole and encourages other people to try the sport. YOU might be considerate and smoke dope away from children at the course, but if its permitted at all, there will always be the jackass who will do what he likes and blatantly smokes it in front of either children, or (even worse) in front of their parents who shy away from the game because of witnessing drug use at their local course (I know I wouldn't be too keen on frequenting a park where heroin addicts shot up regularly, this is how more conservative people may view marijuana use). Complaints to authorities will kill the game, as once councils start to get complaints, they need to act on them to get re-elected. It's a lot easier to pull some baskets out of the ground than it is to sit and listen to a few thousand concerned parents voice their angry opinions about how their local park has been taken over by "drug addicts" (not my personal opinion, but they will label pot smokers as negatively as possible). Negative influences are also a lot stronger than positive ones, so me giving a disc to a local kid who's never played the sport before will be eclipsed by someone else throwing discs and smoking dope if that kid's parents happen to wander past the course and witness both acts.

I'll throw in a couple more direct quotes as well:

"What a sad world we live in when people think that because they think or feel one way, that it should be their way or no way"- Russell

Yes, it is sad when people think they can smoke an ILLEGAL drug in public while playing a game where the playing community is perceived by the general public to be "hippy stoners". Forget the collared shirts thing, a collar doesnt mean a damn if we've got players wandering around stoned off their heads while playing. Also, the "people" you're referring to in your quote above are the majority of the community, remember we live in a democracy where certain rules and boundaries are set for us by our elected representatives, and MOST of us understand we need to abide by these rules (one such rule concerns illicit drug use). If you choose to break the law, I would rather you do it on your own property and in the presence of those who are happy for you to do so, not somewhere in public where your actions could negatively impact on me or any of my friends or acquaintances.

"Denny, lets get a few things straight....All who choose to do illegal activities are not criminals"

I don't need to say a word, this one shoots itself down.

Thanks for reading, people.
Possibly the longest post on the site.. thats how passionate I am about our game, and what I consider to be the biggest thing holding us back at the moment.
I'll throw this in the fire since the topic has gone so far the illegal side ... we now have a post on the front page of discgolfersr.us that is about drinking games. Drinking may be legal, but it is FAR worse for you than many things, especially when done in excess.

It upsets me when I see people acting like "illegal" means it's the worst thing for the human body ... it's not. Prohibition was proof that the public goes bonkers if it doesn't have a legal drug to abuse. I like drunks much less than I dislike stoners. At a recent tourney I was awakened in the middle of the night by a group of drunks who came into the campground at 1:00 AM in the morning ... sorry but the truth is that drinking makes people much more aggressive, alcohol is a depressant, it's a much sadder story.

I'm not trying to defend anyone or anything. I'm just saying, that if we're going want to improve the image of disc golf [over other sports] we should be TEACHING that it's better to be happy, straight, and enjoy your life the way it's supposed to be ... not in the bottom of a glass, or in the clouds.
Fair point John, drinking alcohol in public is also illegal in most places as well, yeah? Trying to become a professional sport would mean we have to start policing ourselves, so its ultimately up to us as a community which path we wish to take. I know which path I would like to see us take, but the majority will speak sooner or later.
John,
Well said.
It's not the drug or alcohol abuse, it's the asshole using them!
I have really enjoyed this thread......I have 3.5 year old son, who has been already bitten by the disc golf bug!!! (May have something to due with his dad's obsession). I am also worried about things he may seen on the course, not that he won't see drug use elsewhere. I worry what he may witness. just wish everyone used some discretion and respect on the course.
Since I feel partly responsible for this thread I will say, Thank you Peter. I am glad you are enjoying the thread, and the many voices of reason that have made comments.

I think it is very important that we as a community ( of disc golfers), draw the line somewhere and protect our image, children and families from the basic caveman instincts we see being exhibited on the course. Of course we need to bond with our kids and want to be genuine, especially dads, and their sons and daughters, but we need to feel a certain level of comfort when going to the weekly tourny.

I know that some guys get out on the course and basically think that everyone should accept what they are doing and that everyone there is just like them. Sort of like being out in the wild hunting with your buddies with no one else around. Hey, I can act like a caveman and do whatever I want, when I want. You don't like it, well too bad, I am in my element.

We need to be ourselves, but at the same time we have to think beyond the caveman level of intellect and realize there are many walks of life joining the Frisbee family now. It is not just the stereo-typical hippie males and the few hippie ladies that tagged along behind them. We have many people who are picking up this game unaware of the cavemen out there ready to metaphorically club them in them head with their lifestyle choices.......
Russell,

"All who choose to do illegal activities are not criminals." Did you really say that? Were you busy "criminalizing" yourself when you typed that? lol
Whether you get your drugs,
From a Bar,
Liquor store,
Drug Cartel,
Hood,
Pharmacy,
Suburbia,
Executive Suite,
It does not matter.

The criminals exist at one end of it.
How many shootings have been over drugs in the past few years?
1 is too many.
People, if they do not know you feel this fear and don't want it around.
It is that simple.
It takes a few angry people over tax dollars to make change.
There has been a "local" disc golf course almost stopped because of excessiveness.
Be careful.
I think Mark started this post to see where we would take it. I think I just heard him chuckle.

There are plenty of sports that are legitimate but do not get much coverage and money. This sport is already legitimate but we have players saying that it is not, because of the "stoner" aspect. Players are de-legitimatizing the very sport they want legitimatized with their very own negative comments! One person's definition of what is better for this sport may vary from another and I think that some people have personal crusades against certain activities and use Disc Golf as a means to further their agenda without looking at the big picture. The "stoner" aspect will always be a part of the sport no matter what people try to do or say. I think Mark is proposing or suggesting that Disc Golf may want to re-think the targets and strategies of future promotions/marketing to better use our strengths instead of our weaknesses. That is the crux of the biscuit in my mind.

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