Fall of the Season

Dunbar was lying motionless on his back again with his eyes staring up at the ceiling like a doll's.  He was working hard at increasing his life span. He did it by cultivating boredom.  -- Catch 22

When I was in college (in the mountains of Virginia) we lived in this armpit of an apartment that had negative insulation and consistently felt colder inside than it was outside.  We had this sliding glass door that let so much air in (ahem, when it was closed...) that the curtain would blow in more than a foot.  A beautiful thing.  So we call the manager and complain and they send somebody out to fix it.  I'm not sure what I expected, but what I didn't expect was the guy to ask, "You boys don't use this much, do you?" and then proceed to TAPE IT CLOSED with some clear packing tape.  Thanks a heap.    

So that's wintertime for me, packing tape on a glass door, the occasional snow, the lack of a decent winter coat because you don't need one in Atlanta.  I happen to have two other memories of that glass door and both of those are of what's on the other side of it, namely a very small deck.  I used to sit on it and play my guitar, look at the mountains, and think of the amazing beauty...  well, that's not entirely true.  I'd actually sit out there and play and worry about whether or not Shree (being my roomie) could hear me, I have a tremendous insecurity about my guitar-ing (most of which is well founded).  The other is from when we were throwing a bunch of stuff away (I don't remember why, exactly, but I've gotta assume that it's because we'd stacked boxes floor to ceiling to try and keep some of the cold out) I threw some off the deck to streamline the carrying process.  Among the things flung from that deck were a couple large, flat sheets of cardboard which were waaay overstable.   This was before I'd started playing frisbee golf, but well do I remember going with the huge anhyzer release to get the best flight path.  

So now I'm way down south, the winters are warmer, my insulation's better (although not a whole lot), and I'm sitting inside and fearing the cold through the sliding glass door.  As soon as I finish this I'm going to the library to renew Crime and Punishment, which is about two weeks overdue and I'm only a third of the way through it (but I like it) (speaking of books, I'm looking for a copy of The Hustler by Walter Tevis, but nobody has it and the only copy I can find to buy is in "Library Binding" and costs $26, I want to find a paperback, if you have one and want to setup a trade, let me know), and I want to stop by the rugby field to throw some drives.  Except it's gonna be cold.  Cold.  Cold.  Sure, maybe not cold to you Michigan folks, but I ain't a Michigan guy.  I used to like winter but now all it means is I don't get to play as much.  Which sucks. So endeth the season.

Know what else just ended?  My career as an amateur, which is pretty cool.  I went to Charleston with Robert (who(m) you don't know) and played pro and ended up cashing (very unexpectedly).  It's hard for me to understand the difference between playing with the ams and with the pros, I mean, last year I went and finished 2nd in advanced by shooting E, +3, +3.  This year I went and shot -5, -3, -6.  That's 20 shots difference.  TWENTY SHOTS.  Am I really 6 2/3 shots per round better right now than I was last year?  What would I have shot if I'd played advanced?  (For comparison purposes, Mel Shuman won advanced by (I think) 7 shots, I'm pretty sure I beat Mel by 8.)  The last tournament I played (healthy, at least) was Augusta, which he also won and where he beat me by at least 8 shots, probably more.  Does playing with better players make that much of a difference?  To be honest, I think it does.  

There're lots of reasons, but the main one is I watched the rest of the guys in my group walk up to the tee and know they were going to birdie a hole, know they were going to get 3 or 4 or 5 in a row, know they were going to hit those 30 footers, they expected to do well.  When I played advanced, people hoped to do well, but I think that's all.  Which isn't to say there aren't some advanced players who do what the pros do, there are (Mel, Super Dave, and "Railroad Tie" Feldberg come to mind), but for the most part they don't.  If I got 3 or 4 birdies in a row I used to get nervous because I was playing well.  Nervous!  What's with that?   Shouldn't I get more confident with success instead of more unsure of myself?  Probably, but I didn't.  Two weeks ago in Charleston, though, I did.

Doug's thoughts on nothing in particular