I learned about something new yesterday, it’s a phenomenon that was unbeknownst to me. It’s called Sober Golf.
Please allow me to enlighten you.
A few months ago, I was invited by some members of my AA home group to play in the annual “Friends of Bill W. Golf Tournament.” It was held yesterday at Sparrows Point Country Club, and in attempts to do more sober-centric things, I agreed, thus completing the foursome with 3 guys from my group.
For the sake of anonymity, I will refer to the 3 gentlemen as Chuckles, Knees, and Mr. Dangles.
There were about 170 recovering alcoholics in this tournament, and I figured what the hell, this had to be interesting at the very least.
It was beyond strange leaving my house without a fully stocked cooler, albeit 6:30 am. My ice maker was left full, and gave me a very sad and confused look upon my departure.
Registration began at 8am, and the Country Club was about an hour drive, so we all met at 7am in the AA church parking lot. They loaded their clubs into my Responsible Mom Honda Odyssey Mini Van, and the alcoholic shuttle was on its way.
We had all been looking forward to the outing for a few months now, up until Sunday night when we saw the forecast. It was supposed to pour ALL day Monday.
A soaking wet 6 hour round of sober golf, how delightful. Hooray!
Regardless, I do not have the opportunity to play very much at all anymore, and we had paid our 100 bucks, so I was geared up and ready for anything.
Upon our arrival, we followed the tell-tale smoke cloud to the registration area and got our group checked in. Then grabbing the customary nourishment of anyone in recovery, coffee and a doughnut, we proceeded over to our carts and waited in the drizzle with everyone else for the 9:00 start.
As our bags were loaded onto the cart, I was to drive with Mr. Dangles. I know Chuckles and Knees pretty well because I see them at least 4 times a week at meetings, but I have only met Mr. Dangles a handful of times.
All I know about him is that he works at another local golf course, is also in recovery, and is friends with Knees and Chuckles. That’s it.
It’s a best ball format, and we listen to the starter give us all of our instructions and then head out in the light rain to hole 17 where we were to begin our adventure.
Mr. Dangles is not very chatty.
He is not having the greatest day and is slicing all of his shots off into the trees. He has lost at least half a dozen balls by the 4th hole. He mostly sits quietly smoking his Swisher Sweets. It is raining and he is kind enough to wipe my seat off before I sit back down after each shot. He offered me a piece of his macadamia nut Cliff bar, which I politely declined.
Somewhere around the 5th or 6th hole, he pipes up and asks, out of the blue, “have you ever been nude bowling?”
I reacted as if I had just gotten hit by a BB gun. It was windy and raining and we were cruising along in the cart so I must have misheard him.
“Excuse me, what was that?” I said. He said, “You know, nude bowling, have you ever bowled naked?”
He asked this with the same nonchalance as if he were asking if I had ever tried tomato soup.
“Are you kidding? What? Why would I go naked bowling? What are you talking about?”
I felt as if I’d just walked into the middle of a conversation and missed the whole beginning, never quite able to catch up.
“It’s a lot of fun, you should try it sometime.” He replied dryly.
“Why in the hell would I try it? I would never want to see that whole mess, what the hell are you talking about? “
Then I took the bait, “Have you?”
“Yeah, a bunch of times.”
Did I mention this guy is almost old enough to be my Father?
“Where do you go nude bowling?” I inquired, as if I were Katie Couric.
“A place downtown, they rent out the top floor.”
“So what, are you like, a nudist or something?”
With that we pull up to the tee box of the next hole. I jump out of the cart and announce to Chuckles and Knees that Mr. Dangles is a nudist! Did they know he was a nudist? It was like I just discovered that Santa wasn’t real and couldn’t wait to spoil it for everyone else too.
Oh yeah, they’ve known for a long time. Like this is a conclusion I should have come to on my own or something.
“You guys are fucking with me, good one assholes.”
“No, seriously, that’s Mr. Dangles right there!” They assure me.
Thanks for sticking me in the cart with a strange nudist, affectionately nicknamed Mr. Dangles, appreciate it guys.
Knees went on to inform me that he was nicknamed Mr. Dangles because of the size, and or length of his balls. Thanks Captain State The Obvious.
But I am fascinated. Recovery just got a little more interesting.
Now I am kind of freaked out, but I’ve opened the can, and there are worms everywhere.
I ask him how he got into it, and he told me that he and is wife went on vacation and tried out the nude beach, and really liked it. He told me it was very liberating.
Trying not to be closed-minded, I told him how I could see that it would be liberating, but to me the idea of it was about as enticing as a roll in the hay with my beloved Willard Scott.
We continue the day, taking our shots in the rain and he continues to enlighten me on the many facets of being a nudist.
For example, there are nudist groups that do just about everything. Bowling, Volleyball…he even told me he’d been to nude AA meetings.
Seriously? Nudist AA, I could never go to that without drinking.
He told me about the nudist bull-roast coming up!
How exciting. Not.
Just picturing a bunch of people, all shapes, sizes and ages strolling around naked eating pit beef sandwiches made me throw up in my mouth a little.
I also learned a new term, “textiles.” Used in a sentence: There is the nudist side of the beach, and the textiles side of the beach. Who fucking knew!
This banter continued, and he quickly realized that he’d let the wrong girl in on his little secret. I have a hard time letting go of things, and really enjoy beating a dead horse.
This gave a whole new dimension to the term busting balls. And we were playing golf, so there were endless opportunities for nice little zingers, such as, “your balls keep going to the right” or “you sure did shank that one” or “get it in the hole.” Knees and Chuckles even joined in the fun.
Every time he hit a shot into the trees, I asked him if his balls were getting in the way. I was relentless, but I was cracking myself up, and that’s what really matters.
We were finishing up our round, and he said to me, “so now when you look at me and picture me naked, you’ll know what it’s like when I look at you.”
That is excellent, I think to myself. Check please.
We finish the day shooting even par, and I even pulled of winning the women’s longest drive award.
The irony is that I should have won another longest drive award, for the 5 hour one I took in the cart with Chief Long Balls.
AA, One Day At A Time.