Fore! That Guy is about to tee off

I guess it was bound to happen. I became “That Guy.”

Oh, you remember That Guy. He’s the one that was always picked last for kickball because, four times out of five, when he would line up for his kick, his orthopedic shoe flew a much greater distance than the ball ever did. It was That Guy who would end a game of basketball at lunch when his layup attempt would inevitably carom off the underside of the rim and pound him in the nose, and That Guy was the one who would somehow get hurt in a heated game of Tic Tac Toe.

And now, he is me.

I picked up a golf club on Monday for the first time since I had a ligament replaced in my knee more than a year ago, and the result was a few wounded trees, some ponds being filled prematurely with golf balls and a spastic twitch in my left eye as the realization hit me square in the face — I’ve become That Guy.

It’s been a rough four years for me on the golf course, actually. A series of five knee surgeries over that time has restricted the time I could play hooky from work and beat golf balls around a course, and has resulted in pretty sporadic play when I’ve had the opportunity to swing around a little bit. That being said, I was still able to somewhat move the ball down the fairway and get up-and-down more times than not to post a halfway decent number.

Yeah, not so much this time.

The event was the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual golf outing at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club. The tournament was a scramble format, meaning that my three teammates and myself would each hit a shot from the tee, then we’d take the best hit of the four and we’d all hit from that spot for our next shot. That format continues until you hole the ball.

As you might be able to guess, my team didn’t use a whole lot of my efforts. I felt bad for my teammates, Harry Steele, Bud Palmatari and Susan Lyons, who had to shoulder a lot of the load, while I was left fighting with squirrels and other assorted wildlife in the woods while I was searching for yet another errant shot.

But at least I provided some comic relief with my performance. There was the shot I hit that nearly struck a dog hanging out in the safety of its own yard, the one where I banged my club into the ground six inches behind the ball and sent a wave of vibrations through my arm and shoulder that had me shaking like I got hit with a Taser while standing in a pool of water, and the infamous shot where I hit the wrong ball. Understandable, right? I mean, sometimes we just hit the wrong ball on accident, right?

Wrong. This particular ball was in my pocket at the time.

Luckily, I was in an understanding group. Though I realized there were a few times where Harry and Bud wanted to hit me with a six-iron, they kept their composure throughout, and even gave me half-hearted compliments if I managed to strike a shot that didn’t endanger anyone. Susan, on the other hand, seemed to be in sheer delight, watching me twist and flail like Lindsey Lohan being dragged into rehab.

Ladies and gentlemen, it got ugly out there.

As we neared the end of our round, I was realizing that I was a little relieved. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time out there. It was nice to spend some time with Susan when we weren’t completely stressing out about personal or work things, Bud is about as nice and honest a man you’re ever going to come across and Harry ... well, Harry is Harry. When you know you’re about to spend the better part of the day with Harry Steele, you know you’re going to laugh quite a bit, groan at some corny jokes and get a little insight into how a very disturbed mind works.

But I was still ready to end the agony I had imposed upon myself and my playing partners — and I was a little excited again to hit the driving range and get my game back in order. See, the day was frustrating, but I did learn two pretty important lessons — the knee which I have probably been a little over-cautious about since my big surgery seems to hold up pretty well to weird twisting and turning, and I absolutely love playing golf.

I didn’t realize it all this time I had gone without playing. I just kind of substituted other things into my days, and never really got to the point that it was driving me crazy not playing golf. But, after about three holes on Monday, I was certain that I wanted to get back into playing the game.

But maybe I’ll order a helmet and some padding first. It got a little dangerous out there the other day.

---Yup, time again for me to use this space solely to address some family members. I want to congratulate Adam and Beth Orndorff for the birth of their daughter, Olivia Rose, on Friday evening. This is their second daughter, and I can’t think of a more positive and healthy environment for Olivia to be raised than with Adam and Beth.

Again ... congratulations on a beautiful little girl.