Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Golfing Comeback

Yesterday as I joined the winner's circle at my office picnic for hitting a practice ball further than any other female, I remembered that time 45 years ago when I received my one and only sports trophy. The inscription says: Panama Country Club, Jr. Girls Tournament 1962, Winner.

Don't for a minute think that I was another Michelle Wie. I took up golf at age 8 so I could spend time with my father. He and I would go out for a round of 9 holes early Saturday mornings. He concentrated on his own game, paying little attention to me as I hit the ball into the rough or into the many bodies of water on our course. He quietly taught me golf etiquette while ignoring my outbursts when things didn't go right, which often happens with beginning golfers. Occasionally some of my father's friends would join us and make a fuss over me, in a way that he never did.

When I was 12, I played in a tournament that paired everyone up in two-somes on a ladder. Our mothers had to walk the course with us to make sure we were accurately recoding the score. I was never more proud than the night when I received my trophy at a meeting of the board of directors of the PC Country Club.

Golf was really my only sport. Even as a teenager, I would sometimes drive out to the country club and play all by myself. Golf is one of those sports that doesn't require a partner or a team. I can still smell the steamy humidity of that course on a hot summer day. I can hear the water lapping at the shore on the many water holes. I can remember the fear of being caught outside on a distant hole when a thunderstorm came up suddenly. But I mostly remember that process of trying to make small improvements in a game that could be a challenge for a lifetime.

Yesterday was my comeback. My office spent the entire afternoon at Cosca Regional Park in PG Country. It was well deserved by all of us who have continued to work so hard. After gorging on pork Bar-be-cue and potato salad and baked beans, we had more fun than I have had in ages. The first contest was an egg toss, where pairs of people tossed an uncooked egg back and forth, stepping back after each throw. My partner and I were the first to be eliminated because I hadn't yet discovered that you don't stop the egg suddenly, but rather keep it moving after you catch it. You also take off all rings. Only my hands were smeared with raw egg yolk.

I was a spectator for the relay contest where teams had to put on and take off an assortment of clothes before running from one side to the other. Absolutely hilarious to see 6 foot men running with size 12 women's shorts around their knees.

But the golf contest was my time to shine. You got 2 shots on a teed-up practice ball. The secret is to keep your head down, watch the ball, and not try to kill it. Mine went almost as far as the winning male ball. I actually won $10, which was a much better prize that the large container of candy corn someone else won.

As I sit here staring at my fake medal from the golf contest, I am thinking maybe I should take up golf again. What fun!


Blogger steve said...

Fake medal? I don't think so...was that a 'Fake golf shot"? Was that a 'fake" $10? I bet your Dad would be makin' a fuss now alright.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What struck me about the trophy was the girl/woman was wearing a SKIRT! Well, of course it was the 60's but I am pretty sure Babe Deirdrekson(sp.) wore slacks.

Congrats, Steve said nothing "fake" about any of it!


1:03 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- Although I always sensed when my Dad was proud of me, he was a man of very few words. He might have commented on the $10, especially if I decided to put it in the bank.

Kate -- I too noticed the modest attire of the 1962 female golfer. I was trying to remember if I ever wore a skirt to play golf and concluded that I did not. Of course I was a girl and the trophy person is a woman. Maybe that's the difference.

The other funny thing I neglected to mention was that my first set of clubs at age 8 was for a right-handed person, even though I was left-handed. That's all they had in the pro shop and who would have ever thought to special order them? The whole bag of miniature clubs cost a whopping $41!

5:18 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

But, but, it's candy corn season!!

7:21 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

That is neat that you learned to play and I'm sure it would all come back to you quickly. I wish I could play because so many people I know do and it's a great sport for when retirement arrives.
We used to caddy for my dad just to hang out with him.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mom,

I think thats a really cool story. I only knew that you won a golf tournament, not all the other details so I am glad you put it in your blog.



11:30 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

OL -- I'm glad I didn't get the candy corn because I would have just eaten all 2006 pieces of it (it was for a contest to guess how many).

MOI -- I am looking forward now to playing more golf when I retire. It is a sport you can do forever!

Dan -- It is so good to hear from my first-born child! I have memories of the one and only time we took you golfing and you kept hitting balls wildly onto other fairways because you were so strong from all that swimming, but you really did NOT know how to aim well. Maybe with a little practice you could be a phenomenal golfer! Love, Mom

8:43 PM  

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