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Monday, June 16, 2008

Many decades ago when I was in college, freshmen were still burdened with the requirement to take three physical education classes. I havenít checked lately, but Iím pretty sure that prerequisite has been rescinded, probably due to a class action suit. I mean, you canít actually force someone to do something, can you?

At that age, even more than now, I wasnít into anything that involved heavy contact, nor was I suited for anything that required the least bit of athletic ability. The most taxing thing I did was take thirteen weeks of soccer. That turned out to be a genius choice, because the instructor would just let us choose sides and run around on our own for forty minutes, followed by a quick (optional) shower, and then back to reality. If there was shade, we tended to gravitate toward that spot and nudge the ball back and forth until class was over. That was not where I developed my love for the sport, but at least I never needed the optional shower.

I also took swimming, mostly because I was a weak swimmer and thought it would be good to get stronger. And it worked, as well as it was likely to, given how much effort I put into it. We swam laps every day, and I learned some strokes, and then it was over.

And then there was golf, and Iím not sure why I took it, except that I had played a little with my parents, and when I was 17 my dad took me to the U.S. Open playoff between Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. I knew I wasnít a golfer and didnít really want to be one, but I also knew that the class would be a walk in the park, which is pretty much exactly what it was. You donít get graded on how many shots you take, just whether or not you show up. Iím excellent at showing up. Itís one of my best talents.

14 June 2008


I donít watch golf on television much, but I did today. I had the playoff on while I was working, and it turned out to be a dramatic and compelling match, even for a casual fan. It was the best golfer in history, playing with a painful injury, against the aging qualifier who was lucky to be there and knew it. And Rocco Mediate gave Tiger Woods everything he could ask for, coming back from three strokes down halfway through the round to take the lead by one going to the last hole. Or what would have been the last hole if Tiger hadnít picked up the stroke and then beaten Rocco on the one and only sudden death hole.

The best part, though, was how gracious and humble both men were in their interviews after the match. Iím thinking if these two played eighteen holes every Monday, it would make it a lot easier for me to get started on my work week. I even zipped through thirty minutes on the treadmill during the early part of the match, without even realizing the time was passing. Even Australian football doesnít make workout time go by that fast.

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