Saturday, January 9, 2016

Looking Down at the Ball is Overrated

"Golf is not just an exercise; it's an adventure, a romance... a Shakespeare play in which disaster and comedy are intertwined." ~ Harold Segall

In the spirit of Charles Dickens...

The game was dead from the first tee, to begin with.

Truthfully, it was supposed to be a time of relaxation and re-creation.  Two hours.  Nine holes -- a good way to cap off the week.  'Twas a breezy, slightly cool afternoon, just enough to warrant a second layer of clothing.  The course was sparse with players, as Friday is typically the day saved for happy hours galore, family outings for dinner, or emergency visits to the local doc-in-a-box.

Esteban, my host, and I rushed from our business obligations to the Lake Arlington Golf Course.  I had never  played with Esteban, though we'd talked about it for a while.  The usual golf pleasantries were exchanged, which for us were affirmations of our less-than-desirable abilities for this beautiful game.  But, that's the best part.  It's supposed to be two hours of fun out in the elements.

As we stretched ye old bones and muscles, as we grabbed that first tool, or club, ball and tee, we made our way to that first launching pad, which in many ways is a symbol of our freedom, manhood, athleticism and any other accolade you wish to add (sorry, this sentence breaks all kinds of rules) -- it was our walk to golf heaven.

Esteban gave me the first shot.  The usual position for your comrades, as you swing, is behind you, at a distance and looking at your ball, lest you cannot figure out where it went after the first majestic swing.  

Esteban was doing just that, except he saw something, which resembled a hawk, raptor, owl, eagle, F-16 -- he couldn't tell!  But, its flight path was right at me and approaching fast and furious!  He started to yell, "Javi, Javi, watch out!"

I was numb to his request.  I was so enthralled in that first swing, I could care less if I was the target of Patriot Missile with coordinates fixed on my spot on earth!

Esteban ran to me.  He was determined to push me out of the way, but it was too late for that.  The only thing he could do was take his driver, and swing at whatever was coming my way!  He figured the evil creature was aiming at my head, and where he should aim his swing!! 

He swung, and in that moment realized that the evil flying creature, which looked menacing seconds before, was really just a dragonfly.  In its flight path, the dragonfly had the advantage and perfect timing of just the right shading from the setting sun making it look like a archaic bird of death.  Ooopsy...

For me, it was really too late.  The driver hit me just above my left eye.  However, I didn't lose concentration.  I was still fixated on the ball.  I did feel a warm liquid running down my face.  I figured it wasn't sweat. 

Esteban went into ER mode.  He took one look at my face, which at that point resembled something from the Rocky franchise, "Yo Adrian!"

"Need to get you to the ER, now!" he said. 

I grabbed one of my golf towels, pressed it over the area, removed it and could clearly see that I was sprinkling a good amount of the liquid of life.

Cool stuff, right?  

The truth is, there was no evil bird launching me.  Esteban was looking at my ball during my swing.  

The ball innocently sat on the plastic tee, waiting for it's launch from my 3-wood.  

I swung, alright.  I hit the ball so precisely, so accurately on that 3-wood aimed for the spot above my left eye.  The laws of physics cannot not explain this one! 

Esteban heard the contact.  Looked around for the ball, but only saw my shades, cap and hands fly around in despair.  

He came around to see my face, and then declared the words above.  To the ER it was.  

A exam and concussion protocol later, I was treated and released.  Damage is minimal, simply my soft tissues lacerated slightly.  I have a little swelling today, maybe a little bruising, but my eye is intact and there is no pain.  I'm fine.

I can't thank Esteban enough for really stepping up and taking care of me.  He even sat with me in the exam room and filled out my papers, while the exam was taking place. 

However, for the balance of my life, I will not be able to live this one down.  This is the story of stories, nyth of myths, laughter of laughers.

If the game of golf decides to name a new rule in my honor, or force manufactures to update their products, I'd like for this to be called, "The Javi Rule".  It shall state that a player, with no warm-up or true stretching shall face away from the ball on the first swing, regardless of the outcome, lest you want to bust your face. 

Play on, golfers.  It's still just a little ball against mankind.