For the dozens of attendees who made the pilgrimage to Cincinnati, Ohio for the Annual World Hacky Sack Conference, a somber and tense mood hung over the normally jovial affair.
As the soft pitter patter of suede striking crocheted bean bags reverberated throughout the halls of the airport Marriott Marquis, concerned hacky sack ambassadors nervously twirled their greying ponytails over the free continental breakfast. A storm has been brewing for some time in the world of leisure sports, with the rise of disc golf wholly eviscerating the once-thriving footbag community.
“I remember a time when we were the only ones smoking marijuana in public parks”, said Jermaine Hartsfield, treasurer of the Scranton, Pennsylvania-based group Keystone State Kickers.
“Now, on any given weekday afternoon there are literally tens of disc golfers out there, on our turf. It’s becoming a real hassle to get our rehearsals in”.
Harstfield will be competing this week in synchronized sack dancing with his partner and reluctant teenage daughter Kelly.
For other sultans of sack, the issue was not one of space on the course, but of economic niches.
“The disc golf industry, led by the PDGA, has been steadily encroaching upon the leisure sport market for decades”, Hacky Sack Conference Coordinator Greg Craigerton lamented. “Where we once would see an entire wall-mounted display dedicated to sacks in our local Play It Again Sports, they’ve relegated us to a counter unit in order to accommodate Innova, Prodigy, and others”.
“All sports were created equal”, said Craigerton.
Even more concerning, however, is the rise of Hack-tivists such as Joel Otto, who have turned to anger and vitriol in order to push back against the allegedly invasive athletes.
“These [expletive] frisbee [expletive] need to get the [expletive] outta here!”, Otto exclaimed after seeing two young men in brightly colored dry-fit polo shirts walk into the continental breakfast line. As he pretended to strain against his fellow Hacky Sack elites, Otto simmered and sneered at the men, who seemed wholly confused about his outburst before heading to the Best Buy managers’ meeting down the hallway.
As Otto murmured something about “Dachau for disc golfers”, men like Craigerton attempted to spin the drama to his advantage.
“Some people are still very dedicated to the sport”, said Craigerton before letting out a heavy sigh and continuing to apply Tiger Balm to his bum knee.