Sunday, September 20, 2009

Muddy Encounter

I think of myself as being a golfer. I do love the game, love to watch the pros on TV doing their thing. Occasionally, I do actually get out there and swing a club and let the golfballs fly myself!

The last time I played golf was 2006. There were a lot of months between then and Saturday, when I played again. This is how my whole golf career has gone, play a game here and there with many months or years in between.

I was the principal of a small Catholic School for 7-1/2 years. We opened the school in 1997. The parents' group decided in the second year of operation of that school that hosting a benefit golf tournament would be a good way to raise money for the school. Little Small Town Missouri had a very generous group of benefactors, who supported a variety of good causes, especially those involving children and education. So this golf tournament had been a very good source of support for our school over the years.

In 2006, I was preparing for the golf tournament weekend by going to the driving range to sharpen up my drives. On the night of my birthday that year, Sept. 7, I treated myself to a late night bucket of balls to top off a very nice evening of dinner out with my children. I was reving up and doing well when all of a sudden the fates changed the way the day was going. I'm usually fairly good at hitting balls, but occasionally I hit an errant shot. I launched one, it didn't go forward it went sideward, bounced off the sideboard, flew up to the cover over the driving bay, and the ball came down and clocked me on the forehead. In an instant, blood flowed, searing pain shot through my head and a lump the size of a golf-ball raised up on my forehead! This was a shot that left its marks on my face for weeks, as the bruising around my eyes sank all the way down my cheeks, the lump remained for a long time and the pain didn't go away! One very bad thing was that my daughter was getting married on Sept. 16 that year, and I had to use a lot of make-up to make my face presentable for being photographed as mother of the bride. I was still nursing the bruising and lump when the golf tournament came.

So with that experience in mind, I somehow wiggled out of commitments to play the next two years. The excuses were legitimate, because I had other commitments during the week-end when the golf tournament was held. But that painful experience of getting clocked by a golf ball remained in my mind, making me fearful to try golfing again.

But this year, I was free to play, and it sounded like a good idea, and I thought it would be fun! Memories of the bad experience were fading, and I had a "team", and our "coach" was ready for the challenge.

Coach C had his wife, D, on the team as well as a high school golf team recruit, who would play golf with anyone at a drop of the hat. The guys carried us, for the most part, but D and I didn't shame ourselves too badly. Not while we were swinging the clubs, at least!

This golf course is a 9 hole course, and somewhere out in the hinterlands (very far away from the club house), they built a restroom building. You can escape from most of the middle holes to make a dash in and out of the restroom. This is made all the more critical of a facility, because the beer babe/beer dude is constantly roving the grounds to provide beverages for the players.

So D and I decided to quickly use the facility while we were near, and we took our cart over, around the water hazard (many sacrificial balls of mine are in that pond!) and to the restroom. On our way, we hit a patch of muddy ground. The usually nimble golf cart got bogged down in the mud instead of flying over it. The more we tried to move it, the more mud it slung and dug the wheels in further and further. I tried rocking it forward and backward to no avail. So D got out and said, "I'll push". This sounded like both a good and a bad idea, but in this case, her small pushes seemed like they were going to free us from the goo! All of a sudden, with a mighty push, and a tromp on the accelerator, the cart zoomed ahead, throwing D off balance, and I looked back and she had done a face plant on the ground! I quickly jumped off, she was laughing hysterically, and she jumped up showing she was unhurt, to a standing ovation given by those on all the surrounding holes, who were watching our little clown act! We took a bow, and sheepishly headed off to take care of business!

Later, she reflected on the location of the muddy patch, just downstream from the restroom--was it the leachfield for the septic tank? That could only bring more and more giggles out of me, thinking of potential smart remarks about where we landed in our golf cart drama!

The one good thing about the whole thing is that 2 60+ ladies were not soiled from inside because of lauging too hard, we actually made it to the restroom, but not a moment too soon!

Our cart, golf bags, a couple of body parts were full of mud. The source of the mud will remain a mystery, we can only really hope that it was good clean mud, not a real connection to the nearby restroom! It was enterainment for everyone, and gave us a good story to tell of our 2009 golf tournament!

We were good, we came in at 1 under par. Too bad, if we had been one shot worse, we would have won money (bottom of A flight). But then, there is always next year! Hope we're not too old and feeble to play, because we may need another good laugh in a year's time!

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