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I was torn whether to start this discussion. I was worried it may be a bit over the top or seem too braggardly or pompous. I don't mean it that way. I just want to share the joy. I bounced it off a few friends who gave me the green light. So here we go..

Damn, being sponsored is fun! The first dozen years I played this game I was not sponsored. I actually had to buy discs and shirts and bags and stuff. It seems so long ago now.

I spent three terms on the PDGA Board Of Directors. I purposely tried and threw discs from both Discraft and Innova. By the way both are great companies and make great discs. I also tried Gateway and Lightning and Aerobie and anything else I could get my hands on. Even though I live in Michigan (home of Discraft) I didn't think it was right to vote on PDGA policies but only support one company. Once I left the Board I could not turn down an invitation to join Team Discraft.

So please partake of a glimpse of being sponsored and one of the most fun things to do: Raid the Candy Factory!! You have all walked into stores that carry discs. There are racks of discs to choose from. Now take that idea to a grander scale. The factory has thousands of discs! There are boxes stacked on shelves that reach 30 feet high. There are racks and racks and racks where the discs are segregated by type and color. You can touch them and compare them and they are free.

There are cabinets filled with shirts and hats and towels and jackets and hoodies and goodies. And they are free. There are posters and stickers and banners and bags. And they are free.

So I was in the factory a few weeks ago. Based on my allotment (The yearly number of discs you start with) and bonuses (for performance and promotions) I still had around a hundred (a hundred!!) coming my way. It was late October so I wanted to keep some in reserve in case something new came out so I decided to collect 75 discs. Now I don't really need any discs. But what does need have to do with it? Well, for the next hour or so I was on the hunt. Where do you start? What do you pick?

I spoke with Mike Wagner who runs production to get his advice on the new runs. He knows my preferences and steered me to the new Z Crushes and ESP Pulses. BTW, Mike was right on. They are great runs for anyone who throws forehand or has a very strong backhand. I was also looking for an overstable run of Flashes that came out last year. Mike went into storage and pulled some of those out, too. The new hot pink Z Buzzzes are totally flat topped and I had to take some of those. Discraft finally made a run of Soft Magnets in bright pink ( I love bright pink- it is the easiest color to find in any conditions). The pink Magnets are soft but not too soft. They are grippy but still have a backbone to them, not all floppy like some soft putters. Oh, yes I took some of those.

I live about a 20 minute drive away from Discraft so a visit to the factory is a somewhat common occurrence for me. I recall last summer a bunch of the Team members came into town to play in the Discraft Great Lakes Open in nearby Ann Arbor. Usually Team members have their discs shipped to them so a visit to the factory is a rare treat. You might think for some top Pro that picking out discs would be no big deal. Wrong. These guys and chicks were ravenous. It was like a feeding frenzy. It was so much fun to watch. Once there were about a dozen Pros all going at it. It was pandemonium. Some Pro would find a box of some beloved run and yell out what he found. All the other Pros would sprint over to inspect them and grab a handful. Then some new Pro would arrive and start looking at what the other Pros had already collected. If there were no more of that disc then the bargaining would start even while the boxes were being filled. Then Wagner or Kenner would make an appearance and they would get mobbed with players wanting to know whether they could get this disc in this color from this run. So Mike would walk to some hidden stash of boxes and have a trail of Pros following him in procession.

You may have seen those TV shows where people could win a shopping spree for a short time and they run around frantically while the stopwatch ticks away. Well the factory is about the size of a Supermarket, so you get the idea.

Well, anyway, it is a blast to be sponsored. And I would like to thank my sponsor for all they do for the Team and to promote the game. I know for sure Discraft treats their Team very well. So thank you Jim Kenner and Mike Wagner and Pad Timmons and Brian Sullivan and Marnie White and all the folks at Discraft.

It is a dream of many players to land a sponsorship. The common question is what it takes to be sponsored. To that question I have little insight since I am not a Discraft employee or stakeholder and am not involved in those decisions. I am sure for every company, they have their own procedure and standards.

Tags: Discraft, Sponsorship, Team

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Must be nice, must be nice...
HOLY CRAP LOOK WHAT WE"RE MISSN"
Mark,
I know about being sponsored and your right... it IS alot of fun. Kellogg Company (my place of work before retirement) sponsored me during the 1984 Iron Man Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii. Everything was free to me. Plane fare, hotel accomodations, some spending cash and gear. My bike was the only thing that was mine. It was grrrreat. Although my sponsorship was short term...I know how you feel about it. As for others trying to find it...I'm thinking they should be banging on retail doors looking for it. Plus...I think one should be a caliber player (such as yourself) to ask for it.
Finally...I do not think you are a braggart with this article. You are just showing the inside life of being sponsored. I'm happy for you that you are. Again...thanks for the free PINK Buzz SS. It's getting alot of play. Your right...it is very easy to see.
K.
HOLY!! Thats pretty much how I imagine sponsorship. I would want to travel the country though. I know Mark is a working man so he can't just drop and go. Though I am sure he would if he could. I know that if I am ever sponsored I would have reached a career goal as a disc golfer. But how can you start a career DG'n if you aren't sponsored? I guess I jsut go out and disc as much as possible and hope someday I can be in that light of stardom. I would truly feel on top of the world if ever I was sponsored by a company like Discraft or Innova. I would be in a league with all the people I have watched and thrown discs with their names on them.
As for the candy store? A dream come true. All disc golfers have the dream where they are on their home course and they walk upon the biggest disc eating hazard there and end up walking out with more discs than they can carry. Weird how some of the discs are square-shaped, but hey you found a hundred discs ALL YOURS!! But back to reality, you work on your long putts, with the twelve discs you had when you went to sleep and now awaken with still only twelve and hope you can hit that crazy anhyzer hole on your course that you've only dotted once or twice, but aced the hole before and after it.
It is true when these guys say that our famous disc golfers are the most down-to-earth stars on this earth. Mark I give credit to for having the strangest sense of humor and the biggest interest in the DG public. He deserves his sponsorship for his hard work through the years. A dozen years may go by playing random sanctioned tourneys and non-sanctioned fundraisers until you make it, but one day maybe. I love disc golf, have since I found it. I spend every extra minute I have thinking about it or doing it. I hope someday to be sponsored, but until then I will go on spreading the joy of disc and keep the ambition of that next ace or that next new course I've never seen. And GO Ben and Greg for hitting 1000 courses holy crap!! Everyone must disc!!
Well done, and well put
Sounds like heaven, by the way if you run across any of the old 150 flicks in those secret stashes let me know!
I would lose my mind if was sponsored and had the chance to get my hands on everything. I would grab every disc and multiples so I could try every shot with every disc. Practicing certain shots with all the same disc (mold, weight, color, etc) would be amazing for practicing in an open field.
Wow...for an Am 3 player like myself who has been playing for about 2 months and has only my third tournament Saturday, It is definitely a goal for now, I can't say dream because dreams are fiction unless you have E. S. P....This sport is amazing, simply amazing I mean my brother has a heart condition so he can't do Football or Wrestling or anything that he really wants to do so I showed him disc golf and he is all about it he was awestruck when he saw you Mark and Mike Frame at Waterloo he didn't know what to do because he watched your instructional videos on You tube and Mike Frame's Dirty Dollars video, he is thriving two events and two trophies and I just won my first trophy last Sat...I just need to develop my Forehand better and my putting, but I watched your putting clinic video and that helped a lot...
mark,
from all that you have written you are a lucky , very lucky man. thank you for your contributions to this great sport and so freely sharing your knowledge with others like myself.

jc
be good
have fun

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