Monday, July 11, 2011

Take The Ring, But Not The Cart

So I'm out on the golf course again on Sunday afternoon, thanking the last of my work crew with a free round, and we get paired up with a husband and wife to make a foursome. (From Staten Island, of all places. Go figure.) The people in front of us can't play, and I quickly discover that my crewman can't either... and neither can the wife. She can hit a little, but it's clear she hasn't been on a course more than a few times, and that the husband is a good player who is trying to teach her. So there's him hitting it good, me hitting it mediocre, and two others who are either so rusty as to be poor, or so new as to be slow and poor. Despite hitting from the yellows.

Five hours later, as we finish in the twilight and I've posted a disappointing middle score to my previous two rounds at the same place... well, I'm done. I've gotten to that usual plateau place of feeling that I don't need to play this game anymore, at least not for a good long time, since it's clear that any progress I've been making is an illusion. But more importantly, I've seen what happens when hobbies are shared, especially when it's hot and bad golf has been committed.

Now, the Shooter Wife and I don't have a ton in common. She doesn't watch sports very often, and I can't say I'm big on the knitting and fabric arts that take up her time. We don't watch the same shows, and she doesn't play poker or fantasy sports. When I'm watching shows like "The Wire" or "Breaking Bad", she's far away; the same goes for me when she's tucking into a cozy mystery with people with British accents. But here's where it works: we don't force things on each other, and we basically share stories with what we've done.

The husband and wife didn't come to tears over the course of the day, and maybe she'll get better over time. When it was all over, they were still on speaking terms and asking for a restaurant recommendation. But man alive, life is too short to argue with your spouse over what club she should be hitting off the tee, or cringing and apologizing to strangers when she can't keep up or observe common golf etiquette. (I don't much care about the latter, but I do notice when it's violated, and try not to do it to others.) And a little distance in some things isn't exactly toxic to a relationship. I'm coming up on 15 years now and OK... and when I shared this little story with the Shooter Mom? She told me all about how her sister had been taught golf by her current husband, and how after an initial burst of enthusiasm for it, she lost all taste when He Got Demanding. I can't imagine this is a very rare story.

I get that the game takes up too much time, and I get that it's nice when you can share things together. But in the devil's bargain that is golf... I'm thinking no. As in Hell No. (And no, they really were nice people, and he really could play. Especially through the cringing.)

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