Tuesday, June 2, 2009

$3 Signing Bonus

**The author of the following tale is a good friend, who amongst other things, is a fellow wordsmith of sorts. He and I have had long chats about the probabilities of re-living The Feeling during Digger Bowl IV, an unforgettable event. What is Digger Bowl IV? I'll be happy to tell you, for sure.

Anyway, because life carries us in many directions, the miracle of communication is an occassion like this -- being able to share everyday moments with friends in distant lands via venues like this blog. Like us, the man we call The Teenager From Mars, Mark Bedell, had a memory-lasting event with dad -- his. Cool drinks and fellowship make moments like this carry you through days and days.

Mr. Bedell was kind enough to pen his memory, the one true way to ensure it can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Cheers, TFM.

What does it mean to be a pro? What makes you a "professional?" Indulge me while I explore a little. My current "profession" sees me commuting three hours a day in each direction from my home in New Jersey to New York City, which I utterly despise -- not the job -- the city. It's a dump. It's not like you seee on TV shows, such as Friends.
I'm an educator. I teach grown people how to do their jobs. At times it's rewarding. And, other than having to be in that city, I enjoy my profession very much. There are friends who may read this that can attest to one thing, too: I'm the best there is at what I do. The gig pays the bills, albeit barely.But, is that all it is to be a professional? I chose not be believe so, otherwise I might just fade away enroute to that awful city... lost in thought.
What is my point, already!?!? Allow me to share.
The first time I got paid to play music, I was 15 years old. Add up the digits in that number and you get more than the dollar figure I took home. I've been paid similar amounts and far more over the years on many occasions. I played. I got paid. I'm a professional musician. Truthfully, I'm better at that than anything else I have ever done in my life. I still rule. ;)
Over the years I have been paid to be in pictures and videos. I have been paid to photograph people. That makes me a professional model, actor, and photographer. I've gotten a cut for booking bands and models. I'm a professional agent and manager.
I've won prize money with my beloved former bowling team, from which I take my UFL franchise name, which came from a song by my favorite band. I'm a professional bowler. Heck, I've even got official sanctioned awards for that. But...There is a recent story that I would like to share. This is how I became a professional golfer…
It was a sunny Saturday morning. I stood waiting for my group to tee off. We were second. The foursomes were randomly selected. Coincidentally, my old man was with group one. He led off. I was nervous for him. When his swing is on, he's got a great tee shot. But, when he's not on his game (usually from a sore shoulder) his tee shots go on about a 45-degree angle to the right. This would have put him dead in the woods here. His shoulder must have felt good, because he put the tee shot on this short Par-3 on the green, about 4 feet from the pin. I was overjoyed for him. I knew he'd have a good round. It was the first shot of the day, and we were already joking that he would win the prize for a Closest To The Pin shot. Incidentally, he drained shot number to for a nice birdie. Tweet Tweet. Way to go old man!
The pressure was on as I led off for my group. My practice shot was gorgeous, as I prepared to beat my own dad for the closest to the pin at this early juncture. I lined up and took a breath. Whoosh. I hit the ball about twenty feet, skimming across the top of the grass. Ouch. Embarrassment in my first tee shot in a tourney. Closest To The Pin would not be mine this day. But, I wasn't done -- yet. I made par.My tee shots were dead on the rest of the round.
On number eight I sank a twelve-foot putt, with a big break in the green. Under pressure, I hit the best putt of my life. On the final hole, I had an equally long putt for birdie, which would have put me at one under par for the round. I pulled back, and made the perfect "pendulum" swing. The ball came to rest no more than two inches to the left of the cup. I tapped it in for a par. I finished even. It was my best round ever.
I waited and watched at the first tee for hours after I finished. It was fun seeing what others did. A woman who was easily in her 60's hit the pin on her tee shot. It was pretty to watch. She won closest to the pin for the women.
The round came to an end after a gorgeous Jersey Shore day of golf and fellowship. We saw the final score two days later, posted in the clubhouse. The old man pulled it off. The first tee shot of the day won him the prize for Closest To The Pin. In the standings, it was like poetry. We tied for third. :)We each took home a whopping THREE DOLLARS for that third place finish. He got an additional $4.00 for achieving closest to the pin.And, my friends, just like that... we're professional golfers. Oh what a feeling.

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