Monday, September 25, 2006

'Tis Just A Game, Mate!

Golf: One of the last bastions of professional sports where decency, honor and integrity still prevail. The pros, of course, play an entirely different game than does this hacker. I only call what I do 'golf' because all the other four letter words have been taken!

Okay, you may be asking, when did ol' Dougie become a sports writer? Answer: Now, and for this time only. I want to share an experience I had two years ago during the 2004 Ryder Cup. I shall then retire as a sports writer forthwith (did I just hear cheers from the gallery?).

September 2004, my brother and sister-in-law, my wife and myself were 'on holiday' as they say over there, and happened to be on a catamaran ferry from Belfast, Ireland back to Scotland on the last night of our trip. It was the final day of the 2004 Ryder Cup. We were sitting in the lounge watching as Belfast harbor slowly faded into the misty night. The area in front of the big-screen TV was filled with locals who, rightfully so, were whooping it up as the Europeans were beating the American team like a drum.

For some unknown reason I decided to watch the debacle close up. I picked up my 'wee dram', walked over and sat down right in the midst of this wildy cheering group of Brits, announcing as I settled in, "Guys, I am not here to start trouble, I only want to watch the golf". The chap (British for 'guy') sitting at my immediate right reached over, slapped me on the leg, grinned, and said, "'Tis just a game, mate".

Well, it seems we got our butts thoroughly thumped again this year, but before we get all worked up about the Europeans beating us at our 'own game', we need to remember that golf is not our 'own game'. Golf was being played in Great Britain three hundred years before our great Nation was even a gleam in our fore fathers' collective eyes. The Old Course at Saint Andrews is five hundred years old, and believe me, you can definitely feel the history and tradition in the air. It is Mecca for the golf world.

Win or lose, one thing is for sure. The sun will come up in the morning. Of course, it will come up six hours earlier for the winners. And I, for one, congratulate them for a great tournament. And I applaud both teams for their great sportsmanship and camaraderie. We could all learn from this. After all...
...'tis just a game, mate!

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