Q&A with 'Frisbee' Dan Barry

Special to the Star

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Spending time at Sewell Park almost guarantees a run-in with one of Texas State’s best-known campus icons. Known as Frisbee Dan, 54-year-old Dan Barry has been throwing a Frisbee around the park since 1990. He is easily spotted nearly every day in the mid-afternoon sun wearing multi-colored shorts and jumping in the air demonstrating complicated Frisbee tricks, often joined by several Texas State students.

CR: How long have you been in San Marcos?
DB: I was in Tangram Rehab (in Ohio) for four years as a client with a head injury. My head injury was so severe that I was in a coma for 10 days. I graduated from rehab and then they hired me as a staff member, and I was on staff for eight years. In ’98 I left the facility and started my own landscaping business in San Marcos.

CR: What got you into Frisbee?
DB: I played Frisbee back east before my injury. I used to play all the time with my brother, and we’d play back together in Ohio. So when I got here, I just got more summer hours to throw, so I was already into it. You may have a hard time realizing this, but I have zero peripheral vision on the right side of my head. But even so, you can see my hand-eye coordination is pretty intense. I have increased hand-eye coordination because I’ve had to learn to compensate for the loss of vision.

CR: How did you get to the level of skill you have now? Did you teach yourself?
DB: I did train myself over and over again. The only way you get good at Frisbee is when you don’t think about the Frisbee so much as about your body position and about your release, like basketball. You shoot a basketball quick, and you aim for the rim—same for throwing a Frisbee. Don’t think about the Frisbee. You aim where you want it to go, and you toss it to that location. For me to throw it the way I did, I looked at where my partner is, have my body in the right position, just rifle as hard as I can and follow where I want it to end up at because the Frisbee isn’t going to listen to me. It’s only going to do what my body gives it direction to do.

CR: Are you aware of how much of an icon you’ve become around the university? Are you comfortable with it?
DB: Well, a lot of people know me. They see me at the grocery store. They know me. They see me. I’m really good with the people that I hire and the customers that I work with, and I’m really good with people in general. I don’t do well with people that are negative.

CR: You mentioned how you like to live your life with as little amount of negativity as possible. Why do you have that philosophy?
DB: I’m real positive with the people around me. I’ll be friendly with the people out here—I just don’t like to get too far into people’s personal lives. I don’t do much crossover. People know me, who I am. They used to say some pretty negative things about me, but people that watched me play Frisbee now that have seen me for quite a few years have backed off on the negativity because they know I’m pretty serious about the way I throw.