CLOUT: The 5th Flight Number


Are we really doing this again?  Are we actually going to subject another one of our perfectly healthy, niche pockets of culture to the sort of pissing-contest fealties reserved for corporate schmucks one-upping each other with stories about when they got to go to the Kentucky Derby?  Or the historically troublesome Masters?

Pinkies in the air, folks.

Are we really going to drag disc golf into that counterculture void where everyone is trying to outsmart everyone else for the sake of saying that they did?

This is beginning to feel like the perpetual high school dominance game of “who heard of what band first?”.

The Sexton Firebirds fly great.  They are worth throwing.  I know because I do it every day.  (No flex; I’m trying to make a point).

But, when it all comes down to it, it’s all just plastic.  The intangible value of the item itself, disregarding its material worth, exceeds the sum of its parts, and this entire secondary economy is driven by the crudest metrics available.

This is the wild west of collectible markets, and that is going to make for one hell of a documentary one day.  It’s like Beanie Babies for craft beer nerds with disposal income.

This is where hype, rarity, and networking all intersect to bring us the infamous 5th flight number:  Clout.

As much as the analysts would hate to hear me say it, sports are inherently emotional.  The numbers can only predict so much, and thank goodness for that.  How awful would it be to know the outcome of the match before it began?

It’s like when Paul Johnson, during his time as the head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, was asked during a press conference how it was that his team was able to beat a rival team who, on paper, was better than they were.  His replay:

“That’s why you play the games”.

There is more to disc golf, (and sport and art and humanity), than simply crunching the numbers.  We are inherently superstitious, even when we say we’re not.  We are absolutely vain whether we’re willing to admit it or not.  There is something about looking good that feels good.

You hear it all the time:  Look good, feel good, play good.  It’s not a secret that being confident in your image can increase your athletic performance.  Let’s just quit pretending, folks; it’ll save us all some energy.

The same holds true for equipment.  You don’t want to have the cheapest mat at the yoga studio.  You don’t want to show up at the golf course with some hand-me-down Wilsons.

And so the perceived value of what’s in your bag matters to your game.  Let’s stop spending time pretending that it doesn’t.

Here, I’ll go first:  I like the way Sexton Firebirds fly.  There, I said it.  I throw them.  Often.  I have one that’s on the job and two in the stable.  I’m not hoarding or flipping.

But, I will also readily admit that I do feel, at times, like it has special powers.  That it’s magic.  That it’s something different from every other champ glow Firebird from that year.  Or in that color.  Or even from that very run.

And this is where it earns its 5th flight number:  Clout.

Speed, Glide, Turn, Fade, Clout.  That’s what we’re suggesting.  Just go ahead and add that 5th one in there to let everyone know how much trouble it took to obtain that disc.

They only made 100.

I was in line at flymart for 4 hours.

Dude on Dollar Disc Golf Auctions had no idea what he was holding.

Let’s just put it out in the open and standardize it.

Again, I’ll start:

Discmania Tilt flight numbers:

  • Speed: 9.0.
  • Glide: 1.0.
  • Turn: 1.0.
  • Fade: 6.0.
  • Clout: 9.5

Don’t @ me, you know I’m right.

2021 Sexton Firebird:

  • Speed: 9.0
  • Glide: 3.0
  • Turn: 0.0
  • Fade: 4.0
  • Clout:  7.5

No offense, Nate, but I can’t rate the 2021 any higher if we’re going to leave room for the ’18 and the ’15.

Kastaplast Berg:

  • Speed: 1.0
  • Glide: 1.0
  • Turn: 0.0
  • Fade: 2.0
  • Clout: 6.o

It’s not hard to buy a Berg, but it’s hard to avoid someone who wants to talk your ear off about the Berg.  That is not how that’s supposed to work.

9x 10x or 11x Innova Anything:

  • Speed: Perfect
  • Glide: Ideal
  • Turn: What Turn?
  • Fade: Whatever you want, baby.
  • Clout:  Eleven-ish.

If this person is paying for their own drinks, they are in the company of uncultured swine.

Here’s the deal:  It’s funny because it’s true.  We shouldn’t pretend like it doesn’t matter, but let’s not forget about who it matters to:  Each of us, in our own way.

Got a new card mate who really likes to give you the entire ancestry of his 2-line AJ Destroyer?  Be happy for them.  Does it matter how many times you’ve heard the story about when Holly Finley handed your friend that Mako3?  Zip it.  She’s happy.  Let it be.

Clout exists.  Let’s stop pretending like it doesn’t.  It’s an exercise in puffery for some, a buffer against imposter syndrome for others.

Clout might be the 5th flight number, but it doesn’t affect the scorecard unless we let it.