By Dom Cioffi
This past weekend I had the pleasure of playing guilt-free golf. (Let me explain if you’ve never heard of this.)
My golfing career has basically coincided with my marriage, meaning, I picked up golf right around the time I got married. In that time, I have had to balance my love for the game with my husbandly and fatherly duties. Life is full of commitments and sometimes those commitments are at odds with a four- to five-hour round of golf.
Most of my golfing buddies are in the same situation. Therefore, whenever we show up on the first tee box, we all inquire about our individual status.
“I’m guilt-free today, boys!” is always a welcomed greeting. While the opposite might be, “I’m playing guilt-golf today, fellas. Expect the worst.”
Playing guilt-free golf is wonderful. There’s nothing extraneous on your mind, which allows you to fully invest in the event at hand. And when the round is over, you can relax with that well earned beverage and good post-golf conversation.
On the other hand, playing guilt-golf is hard. Mentally you’re already in the hole because, just prior to leaving the house your wife reminded you that there were 20 other things you could be doing to help her or the children. And if your game survives the guilt and you play well, you still have to run home afterwards, foregoing the camaraderie that helps make golf so enjoyable.
So, when my wife and son took off to the beach for a few days last weekend, I had a stellar opportunity to play guilt-free golf. Unfortunately, no one was around to join me, so I simply grabbed my clubs and wandered onto the course alone.
After I ripped my ball off the first tee, I strolled down the fairway fully aware of my good fortune.
The first nine holes went surprisingly well, which meant I struck the ball solidly and scored respectably. At the turn, I thought about rewarding my good play with a cold beer, but decided against it given that the sun was still quite strong and I have a notorious history of getting too dehydrated on hot days.
So, I journeyed on. After a few more holes I started to regret not getting that beer. I rarely drink during a round, but the thought of a cold beverage under those perfect conditions seemed justified.
I approached the 15th hole and hit a nice drive. I then laid up to the front of the pond, leaving me an approach shot of about 130 yards. As I neared my ball, I caught site of some commotion off the fairway in someone’s back yard. My quick assessment was that a homeowner was having a cookout. After a few practice swings, I stood over my ball, checked my alignment one last time, and put a swing on it.
The ball sailed into the sky. I quickly determined that the ball flight was right on line with the pin. A moment later the ball landed on the green and rolled near the pin, stopping about five feet short.
Suddenly there was a roar of applause as the cookout erupted. They then started motioning to a sign they had hastily painted that read: “Land your ball within six feet of the pin and win a free beer!”
I started to laugh and sheepishly responded, “Seriously?”
The small crowd encouraged me with great jubilation so I wandered over to the sign and pulled out an ice cold Budweiser from the cooler sitting below it. I then cracked it open, held it up high and yelled, “I was having a good day, but now I’m having a really good day!”
And I can attest, never has a beer tasted so good.
The main characters of this week’s feature, “Dunkirk,” also enjoyed a celebratory beer at the end of a long day, but their tribulations went far beyond anything I have ever faced.
Set during WWII on the beaches of France, “Dunkirk” presents three interwoven stories of heroism (one from the land, one from the sea, one from the sky) as the Allied commanders tried desperately to evacuate 300,00 troops from approaching 4.7 Nazis forces.
This is a brutally intense film that highlights an important moment in WWII. Director Christopher Nolan handles the story with beautiful poignancy and an eye for enveloping action. This is a must-see picture, if only to honor those that put their lives on the line for freedom. The added bonus is that it’s an all-out great film.
A triumphant “A-” for “Dunkirk.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.