Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Golfing With Dead Guys

I'm heading down the delta to the land of crazies. I'm not sure if I'll survive with either my body or my mind intact. This isn't the first one of these sorties I've been on, but this may be the most dangerous.

For the last 8 years I've played in a golf tournament with my 76 year old Father, my 66 year old Uncle and one of my cousins.

The Corner Open (as the tournament is known) consisted of a bunch of old guys who my Pop used to go to high school with in Ohio. So yes, I've got some Ohio crazy in me.

And these old guys literally hung out on the corner of South and High streets every afternoon. Now I've seen the type of ruffians who hang out on street corners. And even though my Pop used to do it before 1950, I can't think it's evolved much. They're not singing doo wop (and I don't think it had even been invented by then) and helping old ladies with their groceries across the street. Even back then they were playing pick up basketball and causing trouble. And I don't think basketball was the only thing they were trying to pick up.

Our team is very carefully selected. My cousin is the ringer, I'm the putter, my Pop is the self-appointed coach whom we all ignore at all times and my Uncle is the great athlete who happens to be the terrible golfer. I used to play softball with my Uncle and he's a bonafide jock. Former Marine, short, quiet, hell of a hitter. Until the ball isn't moving. Then he's flailing and stepping out of the box and trying to hit it into the gap for a triple. And because he's a bit of a hot head, he'll get pissed. This only makes his game worse. And unfortunately, when I'm laughing at him, it doesn't help.

My favorite story about my Unc involves him teeing off. Now because he wasn't yet 65, he had to play from the blue or far back tees. As you get older, they give you a break and let you move up to the white tees. My Uncle hits a really shitty shot that goes about 20 yards straight along the ground. A real worm burner. He starts cursing because we've played about 12 holes by now and it's obviously not going to get any better for him as the day warms up. I believe the exact quote was (and cover your eyes kids if profanity offends you), "This fucking game sucks. I can't wait till next year when I can hit from the fucking white goddamn tees."

To which my cousin immediately pipes up, "Yeah, then your 20 yard shots will be 30 yard shots." Because I'm riding in the cart with my Uncle, I'm trying to stifle my laughter and am not doing a very good job. Again, me not helping.

Now I say the golfing tournament consisisted of a bunch of old guys, I mean just that--past tense. They had to cancel it because so many of the guys croaked that they couldn't get a large enough of a field to keep doing it.

So this year we won't be defending a title, playing for money or catching up with old acquaintances. We'll just be golfing in farm country and I'll get to see my Pop again. And about a million cousins who unfortunately can't golf as well as my designated ringer cousin.

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