Monday, October 1, 2012

Ryder Cup

So the Ryder Cup is over and sadly the U.S. lost after blowing a tremendous lead through Saturday. But I have to say it didn't keep me from being happy for the Europeans who never gave up even though they were written off by the majority of the commentators and dealing with a crowd that never let them forget they were most certainly not the home team.

Welcome to Chicago.

It took place a mere three miles from my house which definitely amped up the traffic, though there was more action in the sky than on the ground on Saturday with helicopters, blimps (Go Snoopy 2) and the mischieveous skywriting planes puffing out their messages of hope (one of which is shown above).

They also wrote "We Believe" - "Paddy Power" and "Where's the Love" while we watched from below on a perfect fall day.

My husband went and watched one of the practice rounds, but honestly it was more fun to be near, but not there for the actual rounds.

I love golf and not just because it was a pre-requisite for being my Gramps' granddaughter, but that probably helped. Almost as soon as we could walk he was teaching us to golf at a little park district course in Barrington near his home. It was only five holes and there was a locked box at the first one where you'd put your $2 fee per round (over time it went up to $5). I don't think the honor system was working too well because they eventually got a paid staff person to sit there and collect the fee.

We were so young our bags were one leg of an old pair of jeans cut off and sewn at the bottom with a stick attached so you could carry it. My gramps would put a six iron and a putter in it and send us on our way. His instruction mostly consisted of telling us to hit all the cigarette butts, leaves and broken tees on the course for practice and the constant mantra "Keep your eye on the ball!"

He golfed that course over 300 days a year up until the day he died at 89. In his latter years he stopped bothering with a bag and just brought the trusty six iron. He'd turn it backwards to putt. The staffers called him "One-Club Charlie." He also used to sneak on the second hole so he wouldn't have to pay the fee. That's the depression era mentality for you.

I love that my beginnings in golf were humble and that I didn't become acquainted with the sport through the ranks of a Medinah Club membership (though the course is gorgeous). I love that my kids love to go to a driving range and smack the balls over a lake while celebrating height and splash effect as much as distance.

I've never watched much golf on T.V. and I probably won't start now, but it was fun for a few days to have such a prominent event down the street. And I'm grateful for the lesson my son took away: you can be down without being out.

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