St. Thomas Aquinas in his irrefutable proof of God tells us: 1) a clockmaker creates a clock and causes its existence, and yet the material of the clock and the clockmaker did not cause themselves to exist. 2) something else must have caused their existence. 3) all things can attribute their existence to a first cause that began all causes and all things. This is important, because something can not come from nothing. When you find a disc, you may assume a creator and (most likely) a thrower.
Consider, dear reader, Christopher Columbus and crew crossing the Atlantic in the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. After the crew had practiced their putting from every conceivable position above and below decks, they were becoming mutinous. Boredom with playing the same tired holes on their portable baskets, and the cabin boy continually throwing errant shots overboard leading to only the mankiest putters being left was turning the otherwise gentile crew into savages (play only one hole with a free carwash disc for a month and see what happens to you…). When the crew made landfall in the new world they were playing the courses without regard to local customs – as if the baskets they found in the forests did not have course designers or installers. When the crew found discs the natives had lost they rejoiced and thanked God for bestowing these discs upon them. When Columbus and crew headed back home they took the discs and baskets they had found, after all God have given these to them.
It is easy understand the Christopher Columbus and crew attitude of discovery and conquest. If the owner isn’t out there looking, the disc is abandoned property or even litter. By picking up the disc, you are cleaning up the course and making the world a better place.
I find many more discs than I lose. (This is an advantage to not being able to throw very far.) The other day I found two discs: a DX leopard that belongs to my friend Kenny and a DX Valkyrie with no name written on it. If you do not write your name on the disc, I assume that you do not want it back and behave like Columbus and crew. If you write your name on the disc, I assume you wish to have your disc back and will call you.
I used to just put a smiley face on my discs: it identified them for tournament purposes, but meant that every throw had the potential to be freed from my oppressive golf habits. Interestingly, I have found putting my name on discs does not mean they come back any better than the smiley face. I have been called back on only one disc that I have lost. Either I throw disc into another dimension or Christopher Columbus and crew find all my discs.
In 2013, I had an amazing almost “lost disc” event. I had thrown a blind shot on our course at Harrison Road and was walking to where I thought my disc had landed. When I got to where I could see my disc (this is 40 seconds post throw tops), a father and son were picking up my disc. “Please don’t move my disc.” “Oh, we thought we had found treasure.” These people weren’t playing disc golf, I don’t think they were organized disc thieves, but if I had waited to retrieve my disc I may have spent a long time looking for a disc that was already in someone else’s possession. Do not assume that Christopher Columbus and Crew have your disc – the truth can be much weirder.
In 2013, I returned six discs to their owners and phoned three people who did not return their call or have changed numbers. It is amazing how difficult it can be to return a disc. Please try to consider that the finder has done you a favor. Please make returning the disc as easy as possible. I have never had anyone even offer me a beer for returning their disc – you may get a thank you, but it won’t be anything concrete.
So to help make what I am saying clear… 1) Discs do not just magically appear on your local course. 2) Lost discs are abandoned property. The rules on this are simple: “finders keepers”. 3) If you write your name in your disc, the finder may choose to return your disc. 4) If someone attempts to return your disc, help them out by making it easy to do so. 5) Returning discs is a basic thankless task – there will be no reward, other than helping a fellow out. 6) Disc golf is constantly changing, be the face of the sport you wish to play.