My friend Chuck sent me a photo from Doha, Qatar. In this photo is a Shrednow freestyle disc, made for Shrednow.com, the website I’ve run for Frisbee Freestyle since 2003. I’ve traveled internationally with those discs. I know international players have them, but I don’t think I had stopped to think how far and wide they might have traveled until seeing this photo. Only a few hundred were made, but clearly these discs have visited exotic locations far beyond my expectations.
I didn’t intend for a Shrednow disc to travel to Qatar. There was no marketing campaign for Shrednow discs to be flown in as many countries as possible. Chuck just brought it along because his job takes him around the world and he loves freestyle. Turns out he’s taking pictures with the disc in a bunch of other countries too as he travels to 8 countries for nearly 40 meetings and a conference. In the midst of that, he stays playful and sends me photos of the Shrednow disc flying in new and exotic locales.
In college I was a DJ for Princeton’s student-run commercial radio station WPRB. For a few years, I hosted a dance music show on Saturday nights. The station was pretty powerful for a college station, with a reach nearly to New York, but the show itself never seemed like it had a huge audience. One day, a coworker at my library job mentioned that a friend had made a recording of my show and that it was now making the rounds in the Philippines. What?!?!? All of a sudden my mostly local show had an international audience.
I didn’t intend for my radio show to be heard in the Philippines. Sure, I would have enjoyed the experience of an avid following, but I was DJ’ing because I loved music and the experience of playing it for others, even a few people.
Sometimes what we do sticks with others in a way we never intended. Sometimes our actions have unintended effects, ripples across far distances and long stretches of time.