Weekly Writing Challenge- Object
One over zealous flick of the wrist and a gust of wind at just the right time changed me to the core of my existence.
A single event. Maybe fate. Possibly destiny. Either way, if I would have the caught the disc that was thrown….instead of chasing it to where it ended up I wouldn’t be telling this story.
I was an awkward kid in the late ’70’s. Always last to be picked for any team, socially inadequate….just awkward.
It was around that time that a “toy” became quite popular.
The joy of the frisbee was that it was so new that virtually everyone was awkward when trying to master it.
I was enamored with its simplicity.
A plastic disc.
The trick was to be able to master the correct throwing motion.
A perfect dance of bringing your arm back…just far enough, and then bringing it forward with your wrist cocked back….a flick of the wrist at just the right time with just the right angle and just the right velocity would send the disc airborne.
It was beautiful to watch it glide through the air….when it was thrown right, that is.
It would seem to glide forever.
The Boys and Girls Club was starting up a frisbee football team at the start of the school year which left me 3 months to not only learn to correctly throw the plastic disc but also to effortlessly steal it from it’s glide in mid air and catch it.
Both my parents worked, so I had to go there until they could pick me up. That has no bearing on the story just general information.
To achieve my goal, I enlisted my best and to be honest, only friend, Charles.
He was awkward like me,which was probably why we got along so well…and still do to this day.
Anyway, I bought a frisbee with my allowance and went to tell Charles my plan….
“Dude…you know we are no good at athletics….that’s why we are picked last to play but first to clean up after everyone…” Charles said.
“Yeah…but the beauty of this sport is NO ONE is good at it….so we stand a good a chance as anyone else if we try hard enough!” I replied.
“I guess,” he reluctantly answered, “How do you work this thing? It looks like a plate.”
“I’m really not sure….but that’s what the instructions are for! Let’s look at the basics and then try it out.”
“How about we go the the abandoned lot at the end of the block so no one will see us looking like idiots trying to work this frosbee thing…”
“Good idea..and it’s a FRISBEE not a frosbee, goober.”
As we walked toward the lot we read the instructions-
Stand sideways to the direction that you want the frisbee to go. (Use your shoulder as a pointer.) Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, your knees slightly bent and most of your weight on the back foot.
Hold the Frisbee along the edge that is facing the target. (That edge is called the leading edge.) Place your thumb on the top of the frisbee, your index finger along the edge and your other fingers underneath it. Your hold should be relaxed and the wrist should be loose.
Stand with your elbow close to your body and your wrist bent inward so the side you are grasping is farthest away from you. It should almost touch your belly button and your hand and arm should be wrapped around the disk. The far edge that you are holding should be a couple of inches lower than the nearest edge so that the frisbee is tilted down and away from you. Practice a few times moving the wrist forward and backward keeping the frisbee on the same level. The forearm should move just a bit and the elbow should stay close to your body. With a smooth and speedy movement, flick your wrist forward and release the frisbee continuing to keep the outside edge tilted down.
The job of the flick is to create spin not cause the frisbee to travel far so at this point it will not travel far.
Now that you’ve figured out the spin, you can add some distance. When you flick the wrist, transfer your weight onto the front foot and you can take a small step toward your target. Don’t make a big sweeping motion with your arm. The power is from the legs and the body, not the arm.
“Easy breezy Charlsey! You go stand over there and I will try first.”
I was as awkward as I always was. When I tried to throw it, it wouldn’t go straight, fly straight or even land straight. It looked like I was throwing an uncooked pizza.
After Charles got tired of chasing it to the left of him and to the right of him. He said it was his turn.
To our amazement, he was a natural.
His first throw glided gracefully over my head and into the fence at the back of the lot.
Charles shouted with glee,
“That was groovy! Why don’t you try to catch while I throw for a while!”
That was the beginning of our summer obsession. My throws improved but no where near as good as his. I worked on my catching skills while Charles perfected the throw.
Each morning he would come by my house and ask the same question,
“Feel like chasing the disc today?”
I was always just as excited as he.
We found something that we could do together that could quite possibly make us part of a team in a few months.
Then, unbeknownst to us, that day that the disc changed everything came.
Our day started out the same as always.
Time to chase the disc.
We went to the lot. It was a beautiful day. Sun was shining and a slight breeze was blowing.
We pretended we were on the football field. I started to run the routes that he called out and he would flick his wrist and let the disc fly. The chase was on.
Today was my day. Each route I ran was perfect. The throw was perfect. If was like the frisbee glided in slow motion every time he set it free. I caught each disc I chased.
Our spirits were gliding as effortlessly as the frisbee.
At some point during our game we heard voices calling out.
At first, we ignored them.
Then one time, after his throw and during my chase, Charles yelled out,
I laughed so hard while I ran that I almost missed my catch…
The voices began to get closer,
Each time, one of us would yell in reply,
The people shouting the name got nearer.
Charles looks at me and says,
“There’s a cute girl with that “Marco” group. Go long…let’s try to impress her!”
Charles yells hike and I take off. After a few seconds Charles releases the frisbee.
Man, it was beautiful to watch it in flight.
As the frisbee glided higher and I ran farther I noticed a man from the group stopped to ask Charles a question and showed him a piece of paper.
I heard from the group.
I glanced back up towards the frisbee and started to extend my arm upward the disc and simultaneously yelled with a giggle,
Just then, a short burst of wind caught the underside and started to carry it upward.
I took a leap to try to catch it but my foot caught in a branch and I fell face first into the dirt and tumbled.
I embarrassingly got up and brushed myself off while heading to retrieve the frisbee.
Charles and the man were walking towards me.
I reached the area where I saw the frisbee land.
“Hey, this man is an off duty police officer and wants to ask you something…” Charles shouted at me.
I began sifting threw the branches and leaves wanting to reach in to retrieve my disc.
What I saw was the lifeless body of a child.
I stumbled back, pale and dizzy, and looked at the man and Charles, who were rapidly approaching, pointed toward the bush and questioningly said,
I was never the same after that. Each time I saw a frisbee…I saw Marco. I couldn’t understand….why…..
“Hey, Detective….Snap out if it!…we got work to do…” Said a voice that burst into his office.
I shook myself out of my visit to the past to see my partner, Charles, standing next to our progress board of open cases.
“We have been in the Missing Children’s Division for over a decade, my friend….we always have work to do.”
He smiled and replied,
“Yes sir we have. A new case just got sent over to us. All the pertinent info is as we always like it. Right here.”
He held up a CD and pretended to flick his wrist and said,
“Time is of the essence. Feel Ike chasing the disc?”
Charles did not wait for an answer. He cocked his wrist back and released the disc from his palm and into the air.
It glided effortlessly across the airspace between us.
His throws were still perfect.
My catching of the disc…not so much.
But that’s ok….my life is not about being good at playing with toys anymore.
It’s about making sure that the kids that do, make it home.