early retirement from a sport i never played

I’m not a golfer.  I used to pretend to be one… in high school.  There was a very affordable par-3 course in town — affordable to the tune of $2 for the first nine and $1 for every additional.  Fireball Hardee’s.  It was cheaper to play golf there than to stay at home (my mom charged me for use of the air conditioner).  It was also cooler to play golf (mom liked to smoke meat in the living room, hatch chicken eggs in the bathtubs, and “heat sterilize” dirty dishes in order to save water).  So golf was sort of a refuge for me.  And if I was really hot, it was no problem at this particular par-3, because there were no rules for dress — I just took my shirt off.  They also didn’t require spikes, so I could wear a pair of sandals and work on my awesome “Teva tan” (very popular when I was in high school — probably more so than the “Chaco tan” of today, and it also had a much better ring to it).  I know, I know… those of you who are real golfers are saying, “That’s not golf.  Golf is a gentleman’s sport.  You were participating in some really strange variation of lawnmower racing and cornhole.”

But it was golf… kind of.  Except when I was angry, which was only on holes 2-8.  I could usually play the first hole alright — and take a mulligan if I didn’t.  But by hole 2 I was out of mulligans, and angry that I’d come.  “I should’ve stayed home,” I’d grumble, “and cut firewood for mom’s furnace.  At least I would’ve accomplished something — making sure there was enough fuel for the chilly 65-degree winters in Dothan, Alabama.”  So I’d stay angry, throwing clubs and hitting the ball as hard as I could, until the end of hole 8, at which time I would reason with myself that I should cool off and use my last hole as an opportunity to concentrate and prepare for the next 9.  Plus, all the old men chewing tobacco and talking about the weather were watching everyone’s play on the 9th.  I wouldn’t want them to think I didn’t know what I was doing.

I’d usually finish the day at 54 (an even par)… but only having played 11 holes — because by that time all my clubs were either wrapped around tree trunks or in the middle of a corn field.  I always regretted there were no water hazards at Fireball’s. I think the plunk of an 8-iron landing in the middle of a pond would have been a very satisfying sound, much more so than the rustle of cornstalks followed by a dull thud.

The golf world, as a whole, is probably happy I went into early retirement, especially any individual ever forced to play with me in a scramble, or hit by my one of my projectile drivers.  Truth is, I haven’t had the money to play golf since high school — probably because my mom charges visitors double on the a/c.  Hey, everybody’s gotta’ make a living.  But I’d like to think I’ve moved on to better hobbies now — ones which offer actual exercise and don’t require as much hand-eye coordination or skill.  Like lawnmower racing… and cornhole.

In other news, Lorena Ochoa, someone I’ve never heard of until today, is retiring from the LPGA at age 28.  And she’s doing so for some pretty good reasons.  Ochoa has apparently been ranked at number one for three years straight, and has made a ton of cash playing golf.  [I hear she also has made playing in Tevas popular again.]  She is retiring to — get this — “focus on her family and charity work.”  That’s awesome.  Here’s a link.


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14 Comments

Filed under slightly humorous or amusing?, sports

14 responses to “early retirement from a sport i never played

  1. Man James, you and I must be playing the same game. I used to caddy at a local golf club when i was growing up. it catered to the doctors, lawyers, etc. but they were pretty stingy when it came to the grunts who carried their clubs around. I never picked up a club until I was out of college but had such a baseball swing that I had trouble hitting a straight drive. I played sparingly (couldn’t hardly afford it) and when I had back trouble in ’93 and the doc ruled out basketball, running and softball, I ruled out golf. Can’t say I miss it and my Christianity is intact. 🙂 I admire Lorena for her decision. She has been an outspoken Christian for years and I see this as an extension of her commitment to Christ. Cool! Thanks for the story.

  2. Zee

    your mom sounds like an interesting lady 🙂

    i tried playing golf when i was in England, but i guess i never had the patience for it. i lasted altogether for about 1 hour… then i went back to enjoy normal life 😀

  3. bill, yeah this lorena lady is top-notch. i don’t really know anything about her other than the two articles i read. but it’s rare to see a celebrity about which i’d say, “yeah, i hope my daughter turns out like that.”

    and bill, i didn’t even have a baseball swing. i used to pray i would get hit by a pitch, so i wouldn’t have to go through the embarrassment of striking out… AGAIN.

  4. zee, i made up most of that stuff about my mom, obviously. it’s a little joke my brother and sister and i often make. our mom likes to save money by not running the air conditioner much. so her house is usually a little warm — it’s really not that bad. which, i guess is why we can make fun of it so. funny, though, because i was the biggest complainer about it, and now i live in a hot place year round without an air conditioner.

    and patience is absolutely not a virtue which i possess.

    • Zee

      haha, nice 🙂

      i don’t really like A/C, at least back when i was in the States… growing up in Ukraine, albeit the fact that i grew up in Kyiv, the capital, made my body adjusted to the temperatures, and sudden change in the temp drives me nuts. however, i did enjoy A/C when i was in Indy and it was super hot and humid there in mid-july.

  5. Gilbert Kerrigan

    I remember playing golf with this guy named Brett. On a few occasions I saw him unstrap his bag from the golf cart so he could throw it across the fairway. I also think I remember a few of those little blocks on the driving tee get whacked with a driver.

    Oh… good times. I need to find that guy and play golf with him again.

    • gilbert, i wish i could say temper was the worst of my sins…

      but these days i experience a very small fraction of the anger i used to — and the only difference is i don’t play golf or basketball.

  6. Gilbert Kerrigan

    Oh, and I forgot to say this about your mom. She may have charged for air conditioning, but the price was well worth it when it was being used as a hide-out while avoiding the wrath of parents. I believe I used it for that very reason on a few occasions.

    • you did. on the weekends that little red honda could make it to dothan. that thing didn’t run on gasoline did it? it seems like it ran on aerosmith music or something…

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