So many dudes challenging for the money,
Younger and middle career types,
The old heads are all out of the running.

A little different than our run this morning
When the youngsters were all sleeping
And us long in the tooth runners were slogging along.

We made our way over the hills,
Around the trees, and through the humidity
In such a laid back manner. Wonderful.

This PGA is anything but relaxed,
The energy high, the competition tight.
Ah, those youngsters… Wonderful.

Golf was on yesterday,
Not that that is the most important thing out there,
Not that everyone likes watching golf,
Not that I should even write about such a snooty game,
But,
I do like watching golf,
The swings, the courses, the way the pros get out of trouble,
It’s all good,
Except,
Golf isn’t really up with the times,
Things are changing and only a few does not a movement make.
Tee it up, let’s go.

I took a page from my dog today,
Played hard then wasted the rest of my time
By sleeping and WATCHING GOLF!!!
Some would snidely say that the two don’t differ…

Finally, some sports to watch,
Albeit without the fans,
Which is okay because I don’t have to hear
The chuckleheads yell, “In the hole.”

The day was looking like a zero
On the afternoon effort level
When an email came that a big box company
Has a squat rack back in stock.

My middle finger hovered over the buy now button
Until I came to my senses,
Checked in on my Flow State DNA profile
And remembered that I like to build things.

Only right now I don’t feel like spending money
Which included the thought of buying more wood
So I dismantled some shelves in a college quality cabinet
Then reassembled them into a stoic’s bench press.

Six pieces of wood, nine screws, and some rearranging
And now we can bench press,
And eat, and pay for all the other stuff we need
Like internet tv so I can watch some more golf tomorrow.

Sometimes it’s hard to capture a moment, but I hope your office conversations carry the same weight as the one we had the other day. This conversation might prove that five semi-educated dudes can be separated by a common language.

Jeff: Some people can’t even get out of their house for drinks.

Sean: I know, but it was too late and I was really tired. Three days of moving.

Jeff: I could have come over. Where do you live, again?

Sean: The Links.

Jeff: What part? Aren’t there many parts? I mean if you go in off Chandler’s Mill, there’s one section. Then again, you could come down 7 and turn at the golf course. How do you get there from school?

Sean: I turn left out of school, go to the T and make a right. Then I follow it around to the golf course, make another right, kind of follow the circle around, and my house is almost at the bottom of the hill.

Chris: Why don’t you go Hillendale?

Sean: I didn’t know I could.

Tom: Yeah, right on Hillendale, left on Sharp, left on Bucktoe, and a quick right up to your neighborhood.

Sean: Oh, that’s where that road goes. I’ll have to try it. I’m still learning the back ways.

Jeff: Wait, though. Doesn’t Kathy live over there? No, she’s in that other neighborhood. So if you went the clubhouse way, you can’t really go straight there or else you are in a parking lot, right?

Sean: Yeah, the road kind of veers to the left.

Jeff: No, it’s left from Delaware, but right from Pennsylvania. You get to the tee box and then you have to follow along the fairway for awhile before you can turn.

Sean: Okay, whatever you say.

Jeff: Is it a par-4 or a par-3? You know what I’m talking about. The hole ends and there is a T there. You have to go left to get around the next hole, don’t you? Have you ever played there?

Sean: No, so I don’t know if it’s a 3 or a 4. Let me help you. You go into the clubhouse and buy a Polo. When you leave the parking lot, which way do you turn?

Jeff: It depends on which way I want to go. Left to Rt. 7, right along that hole, I think it’s a par 4, but the last time I was there the tees were up and it played like a long three. Tom, you remember.

Tom: I wasn’t there, but this map on my phone says there are like four sections to your neighborhood. That’s a lot of houses.

Sean: Yeah.

Chris: What does the Polo shirt have to do with this whole thing?

Sean: I don’t know. I was trying to help him visualize the layout of the course.

Jeff: Visualize, you should have seen the ball I hit that day. I nearly eagled it. The ball flew over the trap. You know the one just short of the green.

Sean: I’VE NEVER PLAYED THERE.

Tom: I think Chandler’s Mill might be your best bet. Fewer turns.

Chris: That’s the way I go. My kid’s friend lives at the top of the hill. Close to the tennis courts.

Sean: No, that’s the other section.

Chris: I know, but it’s in the area.

Sean: True.

Jeff: So when are we all coming over.

Joe: Yeah, and when we come are we allowed to wear our soft spikes.

Sean: Sure, if you have chocolate and marshmallows.

Tom: And brisket…

Jeff: Are you sure you go left at 7?

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Here’s another in the recapturing youth saga…

For the last twenty or so years,
The only power rush I’ve felt in sports
Is going to the driving range,
Taking out the big stick, and
Letting loose with every bit of power
Without regard for GPS or
Innocent bystanders down range.

That feeling of nothing
When the club hits the ball square
Is about as close to, well, that
A middle-aged man can get
Without actually getting there.
As the ball lifts into the stratosphere
There’s just an excitement punctuated by supreme calm.

Hitting a baseball is a lot like that,
Or so I remember
As it has been more than half my life
Since I got to wave the big stick
At a pitcher.
Today, however, I got the chance
To get in the box and take some batting practice.

The first swing was right out of the eye doctor’s chair,
All Lasik, cataract surgery, and what’s going on in left field.
At fifty, it was more than a little embarrassing, but
Undeterred, I laughed, dug in a little, and
Readied for the next pitch,
A hard ground ball
Easily fielded by the third baseman.

Something happened after that,
Muscle memory?
Pride?
Blind man’s luck?
For as the head coach would say,
“You started hitting piss rockets.”
I love baseball vernacular.

What he meant
Was that the ball was jumping off the bat.
Certainly, he was grooving pitches, but
Instead of dribblers and pop-ups,
I hit line drives off the screen
Going back up the middle
With that driving range rush.

Let the record show that I am aware
Of the relative nature of my modest accomplishment today.
Also, let the court stenographer read that
A couple of the liners were legit
Even in the batting practice environment
Of a high school optional outing
When the pitches were like Dave Crowder’s phat buttered ducks.

Pitching and hitting,
These last couple of weeks sure has been fun.
I probably don’t have any eligibility left and
Very few years where I’d want to get out there and play.
I guess now it’s time
To get back on the range because
I sure like smacking that ball around.

 

Photo Credit: Flickr.com via Google Images

So it started in a dingy gym
With the rim bent
And no schedule for the start
Of tournament games.
We played well,
Too many turnovers in the first,
But a nice rebound in the second
For a win.

I cruised back from the ailing gymnasium
To sample the ales in my hometown
That had been paired with cheeses
Under the sweet sounds of authors
Reading about the mysteries of life
To an ambivalent audience at best.

Unfortunately, one of the readers called out.
Previously my son implored me to be aggressive
And when I got there I cozied up to the owner
Who directed me to the organizers
Of the event.
They needed a body and as has been the case lately
I filled in without meeting any of the varsity authors.

Reading poetry from a phone is hard
Since the spacing goes a little crazy,
But the lines found a home and
People laughed just enough
To let me feel like I belonged on author’s circuit…
Well, at least in the KBC,
With its fine beer and tasty food.

Finally, at home,
Jim Nance and Nick Faldo offering commentary
As Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia offered entertainment
On the senior circuit at The Masters.
The shots flew, cutting through the excitement
Like a hot knife and butter, cream cheese, or nerves
To provide the end to a masterful day.

***Thanks KBC for the opportunity to read today…

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Just a couple of days removed
From showering in the tepid water
Which may or may not be warm enough,
I got into a groove of nothingness today
That has me thankful
There’s no work this week.

This morning began watching the evil doings
Of all the characters in Billions.
They are all cock strong and that includes the women.
Sometimes I feel guilty liking those awful people,
But they still don’t measure up to my old favs
From West Baltimore…no real code up in NY…

The afternoon left me on the couch
Napping through most of Amen Corner,
But still glued to the action
Taking place down in Augusta.
My brother must be there,
I could hear him chirping with the other cardinals.

Now I’m sitting, dehydrating
With a Curmudgeon
And listening to my dog snore
As the group texts ping and
The Phillies pound out twelve in the first.
Ah, Saturday…

 

Photo Credit: Google Images

I’m pulling the pin tonight
Blowing up the vegetarian lunches
That have been the staple
For the last six weeks.
I’m housing sausage
Dipped in spicy A1 sauce
And washing it down with oatmeal stout
All the way from New Holland.
The Poet will be the brand.
There will be M&Ms by the handful,
A candle to steer the foul smells clear, and
Two or three trips to the slider
To see if any snow is falling yet.
After Feherty, I might just go another round
Teeing up a cold one,
Grounding my club in the loose pile of candy, and
Working my way to clarity in the blizzard outside.

Years ago, I looked over a scum covered pond
At a green nearly two hundred yards away.
It seemed to me that a five iron
Might be enough to get the ball there.

I drew back slowly
Firing hard into the ball.
My follow through was right
And the ball held a perfect line.

The swing left me with little more than three feet
To get a birdie on this beautiful hole.
I steadied my nerves,
But still pushed the ball right of the cup. Par.

A gallery was standing on the balcony
Of the old dinner theater.
They smoked cigarettes and
Jeered me all the way to the next tee.

I thought the old place was a hotel or apartments.
My instincts were kind of right.
The place for acting and gluttony
Had become a temple for honesty and detox.

Twenty-five years ago the old building was tired.
In many rounds of golf, I wondered what went on there.
There were plenty of people shuffling about with despair
And there was a ropes course that was falling into disrepair.

The parking lot was open, although cracked and weedy,
But through the years there were always people.
Sometimes they yelled at me, sometimes they complimented me,
Always they had a look of desperation.

Two nights ago I drove by the old place.
It had been a couple of years.
The weeds were gone, the tired old building covered in youthful siding
The ropes course replaced by a new dormitory.

Still, though, there were people
Lined up at the guard gate.
They stood with clear plastic bags
Holding all of their possessions.

I thought it looked like camp
Or move in day for college
Except for the inspection of items
And the haste with which people checked in.

One family worked to empty their SUV.
Their faces sent me back a quarter of a century
When I saw their look of desperation
Like those on the day I missed my putt…

Each time I go past
The old dinner theater,
I hope all is going well for those there,
No one deserves those demons.