Thursday, August 27, 2009

And that's how my 5-iron ended up in the lake


Head down, he flexed his fingers around the handle of the club in nervous anticipation. He shifted his feet then straightened his arms and lowered the club until it barely scraped the short blades of the bright green grass.

He slowly drew back the head of the club until it stopped to hover inches behind the ball. Biting his lip in concentration, he gently moved the club forward and bumped the ball with the lightest of taps.

It slowly rolled three looooong inches until catching the edge of the cup and tipping in with a plunk.

The crowd of one cheered as if he’d just won the U.S. Open.

“Way to go, Tiger Woods!” I hollered across the green to my four-year-old son.
He turned with a frown and answered in a voice dripping with preschooler scorn, “My nickname is NOT Tiger, Mom.”

He stood up tall and announced, “Just call me...,” he paused for dramatic effect, “the Crocodile.”

Um…OK.

He bent down to retrieve his golf ball from the cup and walked off the green to his waiting bag of clubs. He stowed the putter and drew out his 9-iron.

“OK, Mommy, let’s do this again,” he ordered and walked about 10 yards out, dropped his ball and prepared to chip back onto the green for the 87th time that afternoon.

At least I couldn’t fault his work ethic. It’ll come in handy when he gets older and realizes golf is a game that will suck the life out of you, leaving you to search the rough for lost balls and wondering why the hell you didn’t take up lawn darts instead.

***

“Let’s go play some long golf,” our son suggested to my husband the next afternoon.

“‘Long golf’?” my husband repeated and looked at me. “What exactly is ‘long golf’?”

I shrugged my shoulders and answered, “To me, that’s playing about 12 holes too many.” Because after hole #6 I’m already tired, mad, used all the swear words in my vocabulary and launched my 5-iron into the lake.

Man, golf is so much fun!

“You know, long golf,” my son insisted, holding his hands far apart. My husband and I looked at him like he was one of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees using sign language to communicate with us.

And we still didn’t get it.

“Not sure what you’re talking about, kiddo,” I answered. He sighed at my stupidity and continued, “LONG GOLF!” As if yelling it like a drill sergeant meant we’d understand better. He stomped in frustration and hollered, “Not mini-golf but LONG golf!”

And that’s when the light bulb clicked in our heads. He wanted to play a real game of golf, not the carnival-style mini-golf with windmills and dancing fairies.
“You want to play golf?” I asked.

He rolled his eyes and threw up his hands. “That’s what I’ve been telling you, Mom.” Then added under his breath, “Don’t you understand English?”

“That depends,” I snapped back. “Do you understand what go to your room and kiss your rear goodbye means?”

***

“How did it go?” I asked the conquering warriors as they returned to the house later that day. In my surprise, they’d been gone a while.

Much longer than the 10 minutes I estimated it would take to play one hole of “long golf” before our son – barely old enough to hold his own clubs – would last before getting bored and whining to go home.

My husband chuckled and said, “He’s a trooper. He played seven holes.”

Wow, consider me impressed. “You played seven holes?” I asked our son. He nodded then teared up a bit and said, “But I lost a ball, Mommy. I hit it in the water and Daddy said I couldn’t go get it.”

I shook my head in understanding, “Been there, done that, my friend.”

Putting down the clubs, my husband said, “He would have played all nine but after he launched one into the water, he refused to play any more holes that had water on them.”

Our son nodded with new-found wisdom and said, “I didn’t want to lose any more balls.”

I looked at my husband and said, “You should have let him look for his ball. You could have fished out my 5-iron while you were there.”

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