I'm no fan of labels. Never have been. Whether it be the newest intellectual or political movement (notice I separated the two), the latest pop-culture fad, a celebrity or musical act, or any other medium that opens itself up to branding by those willing to classify it, there's likely to be a few new labels associated. I, as I've recently come to discover, also have a label. I'm what some of you refer to as a "casual".
From what I understand (and that's admittedly very little), there are certain guidelines and precedents one must either meet or exceed in order to break free from such a label. I don't know what these guidelines are as they pertain to my situation, because as I've stated, I'm just a casual. I imagine that you amount to very little without a PDGA number. I make the assumption that if you've never played in a tournament, you know nothing of the sport. Or, perhaps, all it takes to be a "casual" is inexperience. If so, how much experience is enough? How many rounds do you have to play before you can "level up"? Surely there must be an answer, but don't bother checking the Internet. I've been to the end and back, and I still have no idea.
Now, perhaps I'm just being a curious kitten, but does anyone know what label those who don't fit the "casual" mold have been stuck with? If, in fact, they have been given a label, I've yet to hear it. So far as I can tell, "casual" is essentially another way of saying "amateur', so it stands to reason that those who aren't members of the "casual" persuasion might be considered professionals? But wait. A professional (as the term pertains to sports and recreation) is defined as "a person who earns a living in a sport or other occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs: a golf professional."* From what I've been able to gather, very few disc golfers can earn a living playing this great sport. It's not that they aren't good. The money just isn't there yet. Even the a lot of the top pros have a full-time job, folks. Hmm. I think the pool of "casuals" just got a lot more crowded.
I'm not here trying to instigate war between "casuals" and "whatever-they-ares". I'm simply making a point. Labels aren't of any use, simply because we're far too diverse to be grouped. Some like a little smooth jazz and red wine with dinner, while others prefer to watch the tube and wash down their pizza with cheap beer. There are those of us who are pro-life, and others who are pro-choice (I'll leave blogging about this topic to you). Some of us throw Champion plastic, while others choose ESP. All of these differences among us, and yet we all have one thing in common: disc golf. You see, labels do nothing but divide us, when what we need, what this sport needs, is for all of us to stand together. Solidarity will make this sport flourish.
Call me what you will. "Casual", "Newbie", it makes no difference.
I'm a disc golfer. And that's no label. That's a fact.
*http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/professional Definition #11