Jim Zumbo - Everything Outdoors

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How I Feel About Golf

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Recently I drove by a golf course and saw many folks enjoying the sport. It was a beautiful day, sunny and 70, and I was going fishing. I wondered about the people on the fairways and greens and driving around in their little golf carts. To me, golf is a foreign activity that I know nothing about. I don't know the difference between a putter or 2-iron or wood whatchamacallit, or a birdie from a bogey. Nor do I want to know.


Now then, I'm not condemning golf. I think it's a fine sport -- just not for me. There are too many fish out there to catch in the summer. Too many turkeys and bears to hunt in the spring and everything else to hunt in the fall. Many of my good pals are golfers, most of them avid hunters and anglers.

My personality is such that if I undertake something, I want to do it well. Not that I have to be a champ, but at least make a decent showing. I played golf exactly twice in my life, and that was only because my ex enjoyed the sport with her girlfriends and figured we should play together. The first time on the fairway I managed to hit the ball sometimes, and actually kinda sorta enjoyed it. Of course, my score was rather terrible. She suggested I take lessons from the golf pro. I did, and he made me hold the club and swing it in such a way that it was uncomfortable. I didn't like it. So, on the course with my new knowledge I could barely hit the ball at all. I was frustrated, but I gave it a good try. Finally I said to hell with it, threw the golf club in the woods (that I picked up later) and told my golf playing friends that I was going to the 19th hole and to meet me there. It took a couple libations to calm me down. That was it for me and golf.

Skiing is pretty much the same. I tried twice, once at Lake Placid in New York when I was going to forestry college in the Adirondacks, and once at Alta when I attended school at Utah State University. Both times I hurt myself, nothing serious-- a sprained ankle each time. I didn't take lessons, and never learned how to slow down properly. But it didn't matter. Again, skiing would have taken too much time away from the outdoors. For me, a major interest in the winter was to put on a couple snowshoes and hike around in four feet of snow in the timbered mountains, carrying a scope-sighted .22 and stalking snowshoe hares. THAT was living large.

When I look back at my early years, I see a kid who was never interested in athletics, though I played stickball in the street and basketball where the net and backboard hung from an elm tree. Little league baseball and football never appealed. I never excelled at anything in athletics because I never developed an interest, with one exception -- speed skating. Again, I was so into hunting and fishing and trapping that sports got in the way. But speed skating taught me to skate fast -- so fast that I could beat my buddies to a tip- up with flag waving
when we were icefishing. The first one to the tip-up got the fish.

Although I've never been a participant in athletics, I'm a great spectator. My Dad and I would watch Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Mickeyyankee Mantle, and root fanatically for our beloved Yankees. I was a kid raised in New York. The Yankees were akin to the Holy Grail. My Dad took me to the old Ebbets Field to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers. I don't know how many Yankee games we watched at Yankee Stadium. When I
went to college I attended most football and basketball games.

Nowadays, my biggest interest is NFL. I'll watch every game on TV, regardless of who's playing, but only night or evening games, unless I'm traveling and out of town. Daytime games interfere with hunting and fishing. Anyone surprised? I have zero interest in watching basketball and soccer and watch some hockey and baseball during the World Series. And believe it or not, I actually will watch, and
enjoy, any of the big golf tournaments. Why does that happen? Hmmmm.

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