Grasshopper Soup; You never know what’s coming
Sun News Service
TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212;-Failure. It happens to the best of us. The average, below average, genius, clown, rich and poor, the downtrodden and the successful. We all experience failure. Thatand#8217;s why you should never take your eyes off the action during a professional golf tournament.
Just because youand#8217;re at the Cadillac pro-championship in Doral Beach, Fla., doesnand#8217;t mean itand#8217;s safe to wander way off course, lost in the beautiful scenery. But, you feel safe with the pros. No amateurs to worry about today. Birds and bright sunlight fill your imagination and quench your desire. What a spectacular afternoon. No pro golfer is going to hit a real bad slice way out here. They might hit a sand trap, or the rough next to a tree, or another fairway, but we donand#8217;t have to worry about getting hit by a ball way out here.
Wrong. Survival of the fittest, and every man for himself, is in play on golf courses too. The pros know it well.
I was surfing between American Pickers on the History channel (thank God our likes and dislikes change as we age) and golf, trying to escape from the terrible news of devastation and radiation worries in Japan. I wanted to see one of the pros make a hole-in-one and win a brand new Cadillac in the impending global oil crisis. Gas money, a big tee-time distraction. Being a pro is not easy. Most of us know that, even if we donand#8217;t golf.
A tee shot sliced high to the right, toward an elderly couple walking arm-in-arm along the cart path, backs to the action, intimate and unaware of the power of inertia descending upon their skulls. The ball smacked the asphalt two steps in front of them, then silently flew away. The man didnand#8217;t need to jump, or swat at nothing above his head, because it was too late. But he did. He nearly jumped out of his white pants. The woman turned and ran so fast Iand#8217;m not sure if she was spooked by her husband or the falling sky.
The TV cameraman followed several more radical bounces of the ball that were barely noticed by the crowd. He zoomed in on two course officials lounging in their golf cart, parked in the shade. They chit-chatted until the ball finally stopped bouncing, went into a roll and lost all inertia bouncing off the left rear tire of their official golf cart and stopped.
The official in the driverand#8217;s seat (so to speak) casually looked down in front of the cart, saw nothing, looked behind her and saw something familiar, a golf ball. Where did that come from? She jumped out of the cart as if surprised, politely swinging her arms at the lunging crowd in case anyone of them was bent on treachery.
I laughed so hard I wasnand#8217;t sure why. It was one of the most action-packed golf shots I had ever witnessed, pro or amateur. I wondered, do spectators, accidentally or otherwise, ever move a wayward golf ball to a better, or a worse, lie when they think nobody is looking? Fortunately, the pro who hit the wild tee shot was the only one hurt.
Golf is a game of skill and chance. In golf, as in life, we have to act, even when faced with uncontrollable variables, like earthquakes, tsunamis, horrific tragedy, inherited human imperfection, personal doubts, or a lack of humility and faith. Our greatest attributes and accomplishments will not always get us what we want in this world.
The pros have the same doubts we do. Which club should I use? There are no clubs for this shot. How hard shall I hit it? What should I aim for? I canand#8217;t make this shot if I have to stand like that! Where will my ball really go? Will I have a meltdown? What will the wind and weather bring my way?
What is the chance an imperfect human will always make a perfect swing? Zero. We are subject to natureand#8217;s whims, the faults of the earth, and our own. Only Heaven can free us from them.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 28 years.
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