Friday, June 22, 2012

The Thrill of Victory...and the Agony of Defeat

Remember ABC's "Wide World of Sports"?  Back before cable, before the Internet, before ESPN, the only visual guide to sports was this awesome Saturday afternoon show. It started with footage of triumph and tragedy while Jim McKay breathlessly gave us the tag line.."Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport..the thrill of victory..and the agony of defeat." I bring this up because this week I have experienced a little bit of both.

The thrill of victory occurred Wednesday night when I walked outside to my "garden" and picked two beautiful, yellow, ripe squash. Pam proceeded to slice them up, throw them in a frying pan with some butter, salt and pepper and a few onions. She fried them until they were starting to turn brown, all caramelized with the butter, just the way I like them. They tasted like summer and brought back great memories from my childhood. There's nothing like the feeling of growing your own food. For a brief moment and in the most insignificant way imaginable, you actually feel independent from the rest of the world, off the grid in some small way. It's like no matter how insane the world gets, nobody can stop you from growing a squash plant in the back yard. And if I want to turn a healthy dish like fresh squash into something artery-clogging by frying it up with a half-stick of butter, well then, that's MY business. Long live liberty!

The agony of defeat took place the next morning. I had a tee-time at Richmond Country Club with some friends at 8:15. The forecast called for 98 degrees and dreadful humidity. I left the house without eating breakfast. The front nine was terrific fun and I was playing well and thoroughly enjoying the competition. Then, after hitting a poor shot on the 9th hole I chose to walk the 120 yards or so up the hill to the green instead of riding in the cart. By this time it was probably 93 or so and suddenly, I started to feel dizzy. After finishing the hole we went into the clubhouse to get some Gatorade. The air condition made the small room feel like walking into a meat locker on the coldest day of the year. After maybe two minutes of this it was back outside into the Amazon rain forest and I was done. I somehow played two more holes with very blurry vision and then realized that I really was done. I left. I quit in the middle of a round of golf because I couldn't just shake it off like I've always been able to do before. Unbeleivably demoralizing. Of course, a case could be made that not eating a hearty breakfast made this an unforced error on my part. True. But I've probably played at least twenty rounds of golf in hotter conditions than yesterday, without breakfast, and drinking beer in stead of Gatorade and somehow never had to walk off a course. Those days are apparently over.