It’s Only a Game..Only a Game

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It couldn’t have happened at a better time.
My kid brother, Tom, and his wife from New Jersey (ya gotta problem with that?) were coming back to South Dakota for 9 whole days. That would mean lots of time for lots of golf..and I was ready.
My older brother, Denny, is just starting to heal from a back injury, acquired from excessive golfing. He’d been bed-ridden for a week and would not likely be a factor in our annual “brothers battle on the links.”
I had just come off a week in which I had shot 8 birdies in two rounds while playing with my golf buddies at Brandon. It was the best I’d played in ten years.
The writing was on the wall, the planets were all aligned; my game was all together.
Doug was finally going to kick Denny and Tommy’s butts..leaving  them slack-jawed wondering what the heck hit ‘em.
The game of golf has always been a passion for us. It’s just that I was never as good at it as my brothers. They thrive on the competition and I’m usually not a factor in the games; more like ballast for the group; brought along to keep the pace of play at a reasonable rate.
Oh, I could sometimes pop through with a few good shots and they’d both give me these patronizing pats on the back and words of encouragement but when it came down to actually winning a round (and the skin game that could occasionally fetch a tidy sum) I’d collapse like a cheap lawn chair and at the end of the day have to ask if either of them took Visa.
This year, though, was going to be a different story.
It was crystal clear that I had been chosen by God to finally beat these birds..take their money..and become a viable force to be reckoned from now on.
Thank you Lord!
But then, the devil came to pay a call.
With the snap of his long red hot fingers and an evil grin on his hideous horned head he brought plague to my body.
I was suddenly struck down with the worst cold I’ve had in years.
Besides the high fever, my body ached all over from trying to cough-up something that was lodged down in my windpipe just below the belly button.
But, sick or not, I wasn’t about to let my destiny be denied and we all rendezvoused at Elmwood on a dreary..wet and miserable Wednesday morning.
My nephew, Jay, (the Hollywood actor) is home and joined our group.
Good, I thought, he can be the ballast this time.
It turns out, though, Jay has been playing a lot of golf in California and soon was able to join with his dad and uncle in offering pity for my performance.
It was clear from the beginning that the Lord had healed Denny’s back..guided Tom’s shots straight and true and given Jay the strength of a lion as he sent drives soaring into the stratosphere.
All I could do is flub around in the woods looking for errant hook shots and listen for the  familiar knock of golf ball against tree trunks after every swing..screaming under my breath..why Lord..why?
In the end the real competition of the day was between Jay and his dad in which the star of such films as “Crash” and the soon-to-be released, “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” came within a couple strokes of actually beating his father for the first time ever.
Tom, meanwhile, proceeded to shoot a 74..his lowest round of the year.
And me?
Well, my cold is getting better..the phlegm has moved up to chest level.. but Linda is mad at me now because she must have been standing too close when Satan was dispensing his diseases. So, she’s now coughing, sneezing and searching for more clean handkerchiefs.
Oh, yeah…we tee-it-up again this afternoon in Brookings.
Isn’t there a name for people like me who willingly subject themselves to mistreatment and humiliation?
Masochist comes to mind.

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