But much as our nation of immigrants is divided by perceived differences where it should be united by common bonds, the Frisbee too splits us apart even though everyone owns one. The divisions start with the name: Purists know that the Frisbee ™ is a brand name and that 'Disc' is the proper term. Of course, the zealotry of a Purist, insistent that they play, 'Disc Golf' not 'Frisbee Golf,' blinds them to the fact that every time they tell someone that Frisbee is pronounced "Disc," they are three breaths away from, at the very least, a metaphorical punch in the nose.
Likewise, Frisbee fanatics are shocked at the failure of Ultimate Frisbee to be an Olympic sport, Disc Golfers do not understand why sponsorships elude them, free stylers don't really understand why the beauty of their sport has not been compared to synchronized swimming, and Dog Disc-ers wonder how they're going to pay for another 25 pound bag of dog food in this economy. Meanwhile, the general public sees the Frisbee as the athletic equivalent of a Bocci set, and probably just as European.
To the mainstreet America of Joe the Plumber, Ultimate Frisbee is a dilettante's sport, played by stoners named Moonbeam and Barack, with as little relevance to America as Soccer. Disc Golf is a sport that is played by people with a beer in their hand, and to even call it golf is to besmirch the sport that John Daly has brought to mainstream America. Free style IS the equivalent of synchronized swimming, and where the dog is concerned, the thought is, "Wait a minute. Don't you do all these things with your dog?"
But as we face danger in our international affairs, and uncertainty in our economy, we should look to the things that unite us, not allow small differences to divide us. Like the nation of immigrants that we are, we are all different users of the Frisbee. Let us treat the sun burnt dad at the beach with the same respect the serious aficionado craves, and likewise, let us not belittle the odd efforts of those who take their toys too seriously. Let us all, each and every one of us, see that the Frisbee, more than anything, joins us. For we are truly united by the 'Bee, if for no other reason than this: Frisbees are made out of oil (plastic) and manufactured in China. USA! USA! USA!
Luke Smith is a High School teacher, Coaches Cross Country Running, Nordic Skiing, Track and, of course, Ultimate Frisbee.