Is it that long ago since we first met, on the long corridor of the glass asylum, waiting for Saturday to come around when we could escape from the wards and the madness within, and lose ourselves for a while in dressing room laughter and the sheer joy of just playing football and been part of something. Who would have seen our friendship grow, and last all these years, despite the absences and distances that now and then we pull it together and meet up and within minutes we are back in that dressing room laughing and smiling and catching up on one another’s lives….
Hard to believe that a life time has passed. Now as we line up a tee shot from the first hole, coming together again after all these years, the football boots consigned to cobwebs and Leinster junior league history, us four battered old friends…
The bike for once left hanging in the shed….
Golf, a hobby you take up at day’s end, when you can no longer run, cycle, swim, walk, talk or piss straight. Here I stand in the company of Jim, Fergus and Jack. All have been seduced by the thrill of the long walk, the challenge of beating your self and the course with all its hazards. And me a once a year golfer, reluctant to give into the thrill of its challenge…
They tell you its great crack..but your not allowed talk, they tell you its sociable but you spend the day apart, searching for your wayward shot in the long grass, they tell you its good for your mental health, well how come I feel so stressed at days end, a hundred skewed shots a million lost balls..
Ah yes, I can take it or leave it, I can see the attraction in it, the open space, the fresh air, the challenge of the fairway, the obstruction of the rough and bunkers with the odd water hazard thrown in….and the sweet, sweet satisfaction of the clean hit, the flight of the ball through the air, the gentle thud onto the green and the flawless roll on the manicured green, into the hole…But it doesn’t happen often enough for me to want to come back, to give it another four and half hours out of my life..not yet anyway….
Today is different though, Golf is enjoyable in the best of company, we slip back to where we once were, catch up, easy with one another, easy in our lives, the golf today really is just a side show, a reason to get together…a reason to laugh.
At days end, full of pints and small talk and reminiscence, we drift home, glad of one another’s friendship, reflecting on the days golf and the fact that I actually won the 14th hole….but Mark Twain was right….Golf….A good walk spoiled…for the time being at least.