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The Comic Relief of Retirement: Feeling Above Average with Mr. ND Nice | News, Sports, Jobs

The Comic Relief of Retirement: Feeling Above Average with Mr. ND Nice |  News, Sports, Jobs


We set off at 10 a.m. sharp on Tuesday despite the 40 km/h wind which had discouraged a large part of the usual crowd. It was clear to navigate through eight holes. My tank mate's son, Steve, joined us on the 9th tee, saying he had to work before coming out.

I had played with Steve in a Scramble tournament several years earlier. What a pleasure to watch and be part of a team with someone of such talent – ​​a handicap close to zero. Additionally, Steve was always generous with compliments on my relatively pathetic efforts and never mentioned the disparity between our abilities. My game has long been described as “glimmers of brilliance in an ocean of mediocrity.” Embarrassing myself with a chipped chip or a missed putt with my usual four-some is tolerable. Revealing my incompetence against a player with Steve's skills could be humiliating.

Such insecurities are not limited to the golf course. Playing violin with the Symphony, I was sometimes afraid of crushing a triple forte rather than the pianissimo volume the music calls for. Worse still might be arriving two beats early, within earshot of the orchestra's concertmaster, Dr. Jon Rumney, after 12 bars of rest. Fortunately for me, Steve and Dr. Rumney are both consummate gentlemen, offering persistent encouragement and compliments to those who are less talented.

My tee shot from the par-4 ninth tee was enough to get past the sharp bend in the fairway and provide a chance to reach the green in two. With a strong breeze blowing from left to right, it seemed best to send the next shot as close as possible to the largest conifer at the dog-leg turn, hoping the wind might carry it right, toward the green. With a firm grip on the five iron, my glutes firing like Tiger Woods, I miraculously sent the sphere on a path that missed the tree by inches, passed it, then drifted toward the target .

Standing nearby and watching, Steve spoke to my ball. “Stay here,” he ordered, stopping the sphere from rolling too far. He stood still, leaving an easy four-foot putt. The opportunity for a rare birdie witnessed by people like Steve would be special.

It was no surprise when Steve's second shot floated gently over the green and stopped halfway between my ball and the hole. “At least I got into Dennis” » he announced to the others, feigning the need to brag. I smiled inside. The chances of shooting better than me are comparable to the chances of piloting the Exxon Valdez better than Captain Hazelwood. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to tie Steve at one under par on a pretty tough hole.

When my turn to putt came, I sent the ball on a perfect line to the cup. But as it neared its intended destination, the wind slowed the orb, forcing it to stop three inches short. A bad par, I thought. To send us onto the back nine, Steve stood over his ball for a certain birdie, giving the two-footer a measured shot into the breeze. I was surprised at the pace Steve chose for his putt. His line was identical to mine and he must have noticed how straight my ball was rolling. I've seen him putt enough to know that he rarely misses at such close range. With a single flick, his ball rolled straight but stopped timidly, just passing the edge of the cup. My eyebrows raised to the sky. We are finally tied. Had he missed it on purpose?

Once the game was over, we went into the clubhouse to get a sandwich. Soon, someone from Steve's regular golf group sat and listened as he recounted an embellished version of my close birdie on the ninth hole. It's difficult to describe the feeling when someone with such exceptional talent is forced to recount the rare feat of a player like me. This is as special and welcome as when Dr. Rumney said: “Good game,” behind the scenes after Beethoven's 5th.

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