Discs Spin and Worlds Collide


So I’m at the beach yesterday with my GF and her daughter who are both beyond average athletes, bordering on exceptional, and we generally like to be active when we’re hanging at the beach. As I’m afraid this may be our last real beach day of the year (78 degrees, relatively warm water, and a breathy breeze), I’m jonesing to hurl the disc, or, to the unfortunate uninitiated, play frizbee.

However, my GF was more interested in running the beach and her daughter was into playing, but …….. at this point I should say that we weren’t just at any old beach. We were at Scarborough Beach State Park, which, for the state of Maine is a rare gem when it comes to big, sandy beaches. In case you didn’t know, Maine is famous for its rocky coast, not its sandy beaches, and even the beaches that are sandy generally still have rocks strewn throughout. And when Scarborough is at low tide there’s a LOT of smooth, sandy space to throw the disc. I’m talking large format play or at the very least not having to worry about running into some unsuspecting six-year old child and dealing with the ensuing potential nightmare of parental confrontation. Point being I was longing to hurl my disc. It’s not that my ten year old friend can’t play, it’s just that she isn’t yet capable of throwing that far, that accurately, or that consistently and I was hungry for some more advanced play.

So imagine my surprise when my ten-year old frizbee companion tires of the game and some old guy down the beach picks up on it and shouts “Hey, frizbee”. Now, I say old guy because the guy had gray hair and was packing some extra weigh amidships. Oh, and he had a bad foot so he did this sort of hobble thing when he had to move more than two or three steps. But his is about where the old guy thing ends because as soon he received my first toss it became wildly apparent that the guy had game. Serious game. In fact, I’ve seen and ever played frizbee with only one other person in my entire life that had as much game and I’ve played in NYC’s Central Park and LA’s Venice Beach and I’ve seen some moves. This guy immediately reminded me of my old friend and frizbee master Bill who grew up in Portland, Maine and who I’ve had the pleasure of tossing the disc with at this very same beach on numerous occasions.

Back to the old guy. Our game progresses and so do his moves as we both begin to play with and compensate for some increasingly gusty winds. Banked throws, floaters, skips, bombs, and old guy is getting multiple spins and around the backside catches on most of his receptions. Again, I find myself thinking of my old buddy Bill and wishing that he were here to be a part of this.

After about thirty straight minutes of this I’m a bit parched and decide to pause for a drink of water so I gesture to my new friend and we approach one another for what was supposed to be a moment of introduction. Instead, as I extend my hand to this guy and say “Hey, thanks for playing, my name’s P…”

“PAUL!!!” says the old guy, and at that very moment I realize that I’ve been playing frizbee with my old buddy Bill’s childhood friend Kurt. We launch into laughter, smile, man-hug, and shake our heads in disbelief. Both Bill and Kurt are brilliant individuals and together they took the physics of frizbee far beyond the pedestrian notions of the game.  I hadn’t seen Kurt in quite a while and didn’t recognize him from our constant game distance. I see Bill on a semi-regular basis but I hadn’t seen Kurt in years and I know for a fact that Bill hasn’t seen him in a while either so we both made promises to get together with him soon and said our goodbyes.

After that drink of water I ran the beach, swam, built a castle with my GF and her daughter, and pretty much spent the rest of the day marveling at how small and magical a place the world can be. We can only hope to have that kind of fun more often.