(This is a solo column by Brad, the teenage writer for the Gab Four. Visit their official Web site and read more about Brad and the other members of the Gab Four at www.MyBriefs.com.)
It was the beginning of the best summer of my life. I had just graduated from high school, making me feel even more untouchable than your average teenager, and my family was about to embark on a vacation to the Canadian Rockies. My idea of the vacation was that I would be doing a lot of relaxing, Putt-Putt golfing and hiking. Little did I know that I would be playing two rounds of the most embarrassing, esteem-lowering sport of my life.
And really it would have been just one round if it wasn’t for the magic of sports.
My dad, Allen (older brother), and Craig (younger brother) are all proficient golfers; which by my standards mean they can hit the ball on their first swing and, for the most part, the ball goes where they aim. I, on the other hand, am not. Thousands and thousands of baseball swings molded my motion into an extremely effective baseball cut, which I soon found out has nothing at all to do with golf.
Needless to say, whenever the boys would go play golf, I would happily decide to stay home and use that time to bolster my ego, as opposed to having it crushed on the hideous golf course. Despite all the odds, I was convinced to accompany them to a round of golf while we were in Canada.
As we drew closer and closer to our tee time, I told myself to just have fun and not expect too much of myself; and then my competiveness kicked in and kicked my butt. It was a muggy, rainy, foggy evening, and that was just a mild description of my attitude by the end of eight holes. I was even worse than I had thought, and I began to think that the only reason everyone else wanted me to come was so that I could provide comic relief; imagine Charles Barkley golfing with Tiger Woods, and that is the scenario.
And so grudgingly I shuffled to the ninth hole. By this time I was wet, exhausted, and my once “cloud-nine” confidence was shattered. The ninth hole was a very straightforward par three.
There was a clear view of the flag with some slopes on the right side of the fairway; the hole was no more than 180 yards long. My tee shot was a thing of beauty . . . well, for me. I hammered my borrowed seven iron 130 yards, without it getting more than 50 feet off the ground, and it ended up about 50 yards from the hole on one of the slopes to the right. As I approached the ball I was thinking, “Ok, hit the ball, get it close, and we can all go back to the condo in one piece. ” And then, it happened. It was probably the worst shot I hit all day, but I had never been happier with the result.
My swing was something that you would laugh at, the ball strike was hideous, but I was the one celebrating when my ball, literally, rolled the whole way to the pin and went in. My family was shocked. I had just birdied the ninth hole! Something my younger brother still has never done, despite being a much, much better golfer than I.
That one shot made my entire day, and to this day, I still golf just to see if I can do it again. That shot has stuck with me since that fateful day, and it got me to thinking, that’s why sports are so addicting.
Sports have the unique ability of making you feel awful about yourself for hours, then in mere seconds it can all disappear with one spectacular, if not lucky, moment. That’s why we watch sports. We wait for our heroes and even those who we despise to do something special. We wait so that we can brag to our family and friends that we saw that one unforgettable play live. We play for that one moment when all of our frustration, excuses, and stress melt away. It is impossible to duplicate those feelings anywhere else, and it is for that reason alone that I will be golfing the rest of my life, in pursuit of birdie number two.