Hail and Well Met,
Clouds and murky weather have been the standard for the 2014 A*T season, so it was no surprise that Mung was in the air when I arrived at our Green (and overcast) Beach. Robbie Rob and Ivan-TJH were already on hand as I walked in from the Southwest corner entrance by the best water fountain in Central Park.*
* – There is just some stuff you gotta know.
They were stretching out as I nailed up, and we had the entire field to ourselves. Seriously, there were maybe four other people occupying the rest of the 15.5 acres so Ivan and I started by getting our Heave on. My “Finch 52” Ultra Star was in perfect flying condition and we really were letting loose, so much so that Robbie Rob was inspired to join us, snapping off backhands with authority at 60-70 yards until Chuck and Doug E. Fresh arrived to get the Jam started.
“Flip Flat, Flies Straight.” Throw and catch. That is where is began for all of us, even before “Invent Games.” As much as I love taking control of the plastic and attempting to bend it to my will–as I listen to what the disc commands–I am most enamored of the glorious flight paths that I am able to will into reality or watch as a fellow Heaver lets loose with yet another high arcing volley.
A few weeks back Ivan coined the nickname “The Accurists” to define the long distance Jam n’ Heave thang that he, Jaime-TJH, and me are working so hard to perfect. Simply put, we combine the disc manipulation of Freestyle with the primordial game of catch that all of us started with back in the day. We play with a non slicked 175, taking advantage of the high Z’s of the unleashed power throw, while doing everything we can think of with that big disc.
So when Rob went off to Jam, Ivan and I increased the distance and difficulty of our Jammin’ Heave. Ivan is a natural Southpaw and his backhands come in Counter with amazing Z’s, which is perfect for me. In turn, I can rip a backhand or snap off a forehand to take advantage of the fact that he is ambiDISCerous. It really got kind of crazy because we were throwing strikes at 80-yards, doing Freestyle combos, and sealing with efficiency. And doing so without having a care in the world because there were no other people around to interfere with our Flow. The best part of this was the solid hour of Fabulous Flights.
Inspired by the Rob/Fresh/Check Jam where much Shredful behavior, we too a brief water break, then switched to a nicely broken in 2002 vintage Sky Styler. Having already warmed up, our Jam was just awesome. With Ivan’s athleticism, agility, endless enthusiasm, and very serious skills, we really locked in. And then (much to our delight) The Reliable One himself came ambling across the Meadow. Once he got out of his civilian gear to join the fun, he started with his patented Double Spinning Triple Fake, and we were off to the races. Flow was instantaneous and complete. We Jammed long and hard, with many co-ops and Flights of Fancy. Roger Gitised out, Ivan nailed a Big Chair, and I caught somethin’ or another to finish up. And it was good.
Fun and games aside, there have been a couple of folks noticeably absent from our gatherings this year. I shan’t name names, rather, I would ask that all of our Plastic Peeps direct positive thoughts and prayers out into the Universe for all who are struggling with some type of loss. It truly is our humanity that is most important.
I am always delighted to read your accounts of A* Thursdays and regret that I have been so absent for so long for numerous reasons which I might get into some other time. I was especially moved by your story about long distance jamming which was so common back on Frisbee Hill in the late ’60s with Shadow (the late Carl Baker), Silver Fox (David Perell), Kerry Kollmar, Peter Bloem, Krae, Roger Fox, Joe, Jeff Felberbaum, Freddie Haft, Mountain, and others. For the past several years I have been playing in the Great Lawn, The East Meadow, Van Courtland Park, Prospect Park, Riverside Park, and beaches all over the Earth, Just spreading the Jam with people from all over the world and of all genders, ages and walks of life. Often I start with heaving and slide into some freestyling just to let folks who have never seen it know what’s possible. As I celebrate my 72nd year of life on Earth, I thank my lucky stars that in the first year the plastic disc was commercially available, a friend gave me one and it has never lost its magic for me. As you know, the disc is also the most versatile sand sculpting tool ever made and consequently beach jamming holds a special charm for me, especially at long distances with huge MTA style arcs drifting weightless to my partner’s joyful control. What ecstasy!
As I continue to spread the jam, I also have taught many hundreds of groups of young folks the fun of Tripto and Splitzo and Three Sequential and other more macho multi-disc games that provide hours of laughter and high fives.
I also have found the Aerobie to have its own unique qualities that have caused me to create a sign language for my partners because we are too far to be able to hear each other. The amazing flight of this device is so striking that is causes me to laugh out loud at my own ability to throw it farther that I thought was humanly possible.
So dear Paul, thanks so much for keeping me abreast of what’s happening in the Meadow. I am certainly there is spirit as I will always be, but probably no in chilly, damp weather when my joints will not tolerate it. As a freelance artist, I need to continue to work every day. And as a husband, father and grandfather, I have other obligations that force me to stay in the “adult world” too much of the time. But I will always be with you riding on that disc in the sky.
Thank you for your kind words. This is the 10th Anniversary Season of All*Star Thursdays and friendships that I have been Blessed with have increased exponentially the amount of joy that I derive from a sport I have devoted my life to since 1985. You see, I learned to delay in college in the winter of ’77 but was primarily an Ultimate player. There was One Jammer at SUNY Binghamton (Marty ______?), and while I knew Jeff Felberbaum from Camp Dark Waters (’69-’73 and Pre-Freestyle), I didn’t embrace the discipline until much later.
When the Meadow reopened in ’81, the Jammers and Heavers were separate entities. There was much more plastic in the air in those days, with more folks just throwing Frisbees around. The Jammers were kind of insular, but because I knew Jeff who was already a World Champion and recognized as one of the true innovators of the sport, I became friendly with Richie Regs, Bill Doobs, Eddie Bennett, Robbie Rob, Char and Liz Powell, Angel, Quinn-O, and the rest of the crew. It was The Reliable One himself who convinced me that it was time to put on nails in ’85. And the rest is History.