Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Hole in One!

The human mind is a complicated maze of emotions and no two are the same. The very thing that makes one sibling happy might make their sister or brother sad, irrespective of the fact that they share the same gene pool. I wonder if this is why I love sport, but have no time for golf. Far-fetched, I know, but I have creative licence.

I mean golf, what is it all about? I have observed with incredulity, as the so-called gentleman's sport has crept successfully into all the crevices created by the 'great and good' classes in Nigeria and beyond. A well-to-do uncle of mine in one of his classic lines about the sport said;

 "It's a great game for relaxing, exercise and you don't find belligerents anyway around you!"

 Don’t get me wrong golf heads, in fact, more power to you! There is just something about that game that gives you a sneaking suspicion that the Scotsman, who started it all, had the ‘Greta Garbo’ complex. You can just see him wanting to be left alone with his balls and holes.

Okay, I suppose I am being harsh, but how do you justify a game that needs so much space to be played, when 100,000 people can fill the Nou camp and enjoy the beautiful game?

I can comprehend the attractions of golf. I am not totally adverse to appreciating aspects of things I am not a fan of, and having lived in Sussex for over a decade, I have had the pleasure of visiting some truly beautiful golf courses, but you always end up wishing they donated some of the land to homeless projects. It is just so hard for me take the sport and those who play it seriously.

My pet peeve, and the one thing that stretches my patience, is the nouveau riche; who having just been accepted to their local golf club, morph into Fuzzy Zoeller overnight. Also, I am at a loss as why there is so much made of the fact that one partakes in the game. I have friends who have developed the habit over the years and I always try to stiffle my laughter when they justify their habit by stressing most business decisions are made on golf courses.

A lot of big decisions are also made in whorehouses and strip bars, but you never see anyone claiming to have memberships of those establishments. Okay, I went too far there, but I once again take refuge under the creative licence roof.

A friend even went as far as to educate me as to why golf was more than a game. He appeared to be a spiritual rapture when he declared;

"It's about fairness, integrity and a code for life. It could even revolutionise the inner cities!"

Wow! There was I thinking it was just people hitting balls with metal sticks! Never occurred to me it was the panacea to the world's problems.

Saying that, issues still persist. Unlike most sports, I have always viewed golf as a divisive tool. That is why I still believe that Tiger Woods missed a trick when he shied away from taking a tougher stance, when he subject to derogatory racial comments - somehow, I think he forgets that his father who literally 'made' him, began the quest for a golf prodigy because he was racially insulted on a golf course years ago!

Those of you who have followed the game for two decades or more (Nouveau Riche need not comment) will remember that segregated courses were all the rage a few years ago. I still remember with comical relish, the story of the affluent blacks in Atlanta, who having suffered from the subtle ‘whites only’ rule, decided to build their own course complete with a massive sign saying; ‘the only thing white here are the balls!’ Of course they had to eventually take it down.

Taking off my negative hat though, I have to say any game enjoyed by the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Michael Jordan and Bill Clinton, must have some special aspects to it. Although, I would wish Nigerian leaders would concentrate on the country's real problems rather than try to play copycat.

We have serious issues and besides, it’s just the land thing that gets me. We don't have enough for housing and agriculture, so we don't damn well have enough for a bloody game! Let’s face it; no matter how complicated the golf addicts try to make the game, with their weather reports, types of iron and wood, it all began with a man basically trying to get his balls in a hole.

I thought that was a natural instinct!

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