by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
In the early 60s, nearly every Boomer family had one or more hula hoops in the garage hanging on the wall between the push mower and the garden weasel. Folks had retired the hoops now that deterioration of the hips, knees, and spinal cord had begun after their use. The Limbo and the Twist may also have had something to do with the physical ailments. To be sure, Chubby Checker and Wham-O were on every chiropractor’s Christmas card list.
The hoop market was drying up, so the Wham-O company came out with something called a Frisbee so that people with the above mentioned knee and hip problems could start matching them with elbow and shoulder mutilation. The Frisbee was modeled after the tin coffee can lid. In those days, coffee cans were opened with a key and the resulting lip around the lid provided excellent stability for sailing until you cut your finger on the sharp metal. Wham-O provided a plastic dish that could be sailed through the air with no fear of breaking the skin.
Amazingly, 50 years later, the Frisbee lives on. You can play catch with a friend on the beach, sail it and try to get your dog to chase it, or you can engage in a game of Frisbee Golf. There is a Frisbee golf course near my home, and I spot activity there whenever I’m in the area. The tee box is a concrete slab, about 6 feet by 10 feet, and the target can be 150 to 350 feet away. It is a steel pole pedestal with a few chains curtained around a large basket to capture the Frisbee. I have never played myself, but it seems to be an inexpensive pastime at Central Park.
But I did a double take the other day when I noticed a player who was carrying a bag about the size of a large camera case. In it I could see several different Frisbees in the bag. I don’t know the Frisbee golf rules, but maybe he changed Frisbees depending on wind or other conditions, or the length of the shot. I imagine that there was room in the bag also for maybe an elbow support, possibly a wrist brace, powder, tape, a nail clipper, and a resin bag.
It seemed a little over the top to me. Frisbee golf must be a very complex game. I can’t think of any other sport where a player would drag around that much extra equipment just to play a simple game.