Monday, June 18, 2012

LOL Momz (on golf)

My mom spent Thursday and Saturday working at the U.S. Open. Through a scheduling fluke, the powers that be put my mother, who knows next to nothing about golf, at the 18th green. She was the last cop stationed before the players hiked up the stairs to go to the clubhouse from 10 a.m. 'til 8 p.m. on those two days.

This led to many many hysterical interactions and my mother pushing the limits of my golf knowledge. But mostly it involved her saying absurd mom things. I couldn't resist sharing some of my mom's observations from her time there.

Before the tournament even started she looked up the golfers. To figure out who was hot. (Something about apples and trees here.) She tells me, "There's the one golfer that's cute but I can't pronounce his name." I ask who it is and she says it starts with an E. When we finally get near a computer we look it up. It's Graeme McDowell, which does not start with an E. "You can't pronounce Graeme? It's "Graham", just the British version." "I don't know! Why is there an extra e there?! That's just stupid!" After her first day of working she informs me that while he is good looking, he's short, which is a non-starter.

After the first day she decided that golfers are "aloof". "They don't even acknowledge the crowd! They just walk off the course in a huff. They're done. I don't know why they're so upset. They could waive. I don't think I like them." I say something about focus and concentration that she isn't buying because it's just golf.

She also decided the caddies were jerks. I have no idea what standard practice is, but the caddy smocks (is that what they're even called?) were being collected as soon as the golfer was done on 18. Apparently the caddies were none too pleased with this and gave quite a bit of lip to the poor volunteer whose job it was to collect these. "I'm not putting the bag down," they'd say and then make a production of emptying the pockets or make the poor volunteer chase them up the three flights of stairs to the clubhouse to retrieve them when they refused to take them off.

She asked an infinite number of questions, wanting to learn more before she went back on Saturday: "There are guys on the leader board in red and in black, black is over par and red is under. I get that. But what's that mean?" I then explain that each hole has a par value, the course total is 70. If you finish the round under 70, you are one or two or whatever under par and if you are at 71 or 74 for the day you are then plus that many strokes par. An E means even, which would be 70. +3 is 73. -3 would be 67.

"A couple holes away we could hear them cheering. I guess a lot of people were getting birdies...I don't know what that means but it was very exciting." "Birdie is one under par for a hole. 2 under is eagle. Over is a bogey." "Ohhh. Okay." Friendly reminder: I hate golf and this is about the extent of my knowledge. Not that this stopped her from asking more questions:

"How do they decide who plays with who?" I have no idea on the first two days, someone just makes a schedule. After the cuts on Friday afternoon, you're paired by how well you're doing, with the two best players getting the last tee time.

"How often do they change balls? I mean, they have to lose their elasticity or something, right, after you hit them so hard?" "Uhhh. I have no clue. I just know they're only allowed a certain number of balls in their bag and if they run out, they can't get any more." I may have picked this up from watching Tin Cup and it may not even be a real rule. But it sounds good so I tell it to my mom who won't know any better. I've, by the way, never picked up a golf club in my life unless you're talking miniature golf. She would also ask these questions randomly and I wasn't exactly consulting google to get her an answer. She tells me Sunday that she asked some guy (I have no idea who, just a random guy? A marshall maybe?) and he told her that they aren't allowed to change balls unless the other player agrees to let them, like if they have a bad feeling they have to ask. She then proceeds to say that they can change after every hole. So according to my mother's bassakwards story telling: you can't change balls mid-hole unless you get approval but after each hole is fine. I know you'll all sleep better tonight knowing that.

I asked her what they fed her for lunch since she was out there all day. "Oh! They were serving us these burgers but they were on hot dog buns. I wasn't eating that!" "Mom, those are the famous burger dogs of the Olympic Club. People climb all over themselves for them." "I don't care. I'm not eating something that doesn't look like what it is. A hot dog should be on a hot dog bun, a burger should be on a hamburger bun. I don't like food that doesn't look like what it's supposed to be." She then marched herself over to the employee kitchen and got herself some food. Her partner asked her how she knew where she was going. She told her not to worry about it. Truth was, that, as I've mentioned, since we went there for dinners, my mom many more than me, she knew her way around. Wonder where that entitled thing I get comes from? Yeah. When they were leaving the course one day the other police officer at her hole asked how they were gonna get out of there, she pointed up the stairs that the golfers used and said, "That way." The guy looked at her and said, "Can we do that?" I laughed when she said this. He's in uniform. Carrying a gun. Who the hell is gonna stop them? Which was my mother's reaction as well. They used the same stairs the players used. A snotty lady did try to kick her out of the main room of the clubhouse when she went to look for a friend who is a waitress at the club. "Is there a police problem?" My mom politely told her no, said she was just gonna run to the kitchen for a minute and look for someone, did, and thanked the lady on the way out. There was no one in there at the time, btw. Mom then overheard her talking to another lady who said, "Well you did the right thing, they're not supposed to be in here!" My mom's reaction in relating this story was to roll her eyes and give a double bird to those women and then hope that she pulls them over someday. You really just don't ever want to piss off cops. It's just an all around bad idea. It's not like she was trying to get down to the locker room...which apparently the gossip around the course was that the little old men members were pissed off about having to empty their lockers for the pros to use. Which strikes me as just about THE most country club thing ever. The Olympic Club also says that the USGA is running rough shod over their course and ruining it, which though they appreciate the honor of being chosen as a site, they don't like their course being damaged. We're just gonna go ahead and file all this under rich white people shit and move on.

Tiger Woods was with a Latin girl, since you're interested. And my mom knew he hurt his hand before even the media did. I was going to dismiss her saying he was injured but it's actually there on the internet was right.

Graeme, it turns out, had "a really pretty brunette girlfriend. I saw this girl in like yoga pants and figured she had to be a player's wife or girlfriend. Then she ran her fingers through her hair and I knew she was just a girlfriend (No ring = girlfriend. We're highly observant/deductive.) then she went up the stairs with him." *The More You Know*

"So many people were falling down! The ambulance guys said more than 10 people broke their ankles on Saturday. All those stupid girls in their stupid shoes for an event that's held on a mostly uphill golf course. Why would you wear inappropriate shoes to an event like that?" Note that we judge girls that wear inappropriate shoes to sporting events generally.

I received a text from her Saturday while she was on the course. "When did NY state win a football title?" I was utterly perplexed by the phrasing of the question. I also have absolutely no context for this question and can't call her because really she's not supposed to be using her phone on the course. But when a sports question comes across my phone I always just assume someone is challenging my knowledge and get a little competitive. I responded, without looking it up, "If you mean NFL, they won this year, Giants beat the Pats." I rack my brain for colleges from NY with any pedigree and follow up with, as a text comes in from her that says, "College" saying, "If you mean college, I'm gonna guess the last time any school in NY won was way back when Army did." (A quick perusal of wiki seems to indicate that's correct Syracuse is actually the right answer. Still, that's awhile ago.) When she gets home I ask her why she wants to know. "There was this guy standing on the other side of the walkway and he was blinding me with all his diamonds on his big ring. So when there was a break I went over and asked him what was with the bling. He got a little embarrassed and then said, 'Thanks for noticing' and then mumbled something about it being for football in college. He worked for NBC." "So what college did he go to?" "I don't know. The ring had an A on it." "A? Well...Auburn..." "Yeah, isn't Auburn in New York?" Oh geezus h christ. You'd think I'd have taught her SOMETHING about college football by now. But no. She thinks Auburn is in New York. "No! It's in Alabama," I inform her. "Well, he was about 30, I guess," she says, like this is a helpful detail. I then ask her if the ring had a script A, thinking Alabama, or a regular A which would likely be Auburn, but knowing full well she'll have no idea. "I dunno! It was an A. In diamonds." So, guy at the Olympic Club wearing some sort of big ass championship ring who talked to my mom, congrats on your accomplishment, whatever it was.

I had told my mom about David Toms, LSU alumn. I had no idea of the existence of John Peterson and his LSU ties until he started playing well. In fact, I only have the vaguest awareness of us having a golf team. Not exactly like they were getting into the Baton Rouge clubs and getting noticed. (Same could be said for tennis and swimming and diving. Did anyone hang out with those kids? They obviously existed, right?) Kudos to my mom for half paying attention to my directions to say something to Toms, the LSU guy. "That LSU guy hit a hole in one! He was wearing a purple shirt with gold stripes so when he came of 18 I yelled 'Go Tigers!' (She doesn't know it's Geaux.) and then he looked around like 'Who said that?'" She was very proud of herself. I guess I have taught her something about LSU ties.

On Sunday she said, still curious about this sport, "So are they playing golf on Monday or is that wishful thinking?"
"They'll only play on Monday if there is a tie for the lead at the end of Sunday."
"Why can't they just end in a tie?"
"Because you don't end in a tie. Then there's no winner."
"Well, why can't they just split the winnings?"
"It's not the lottery. It's sports. Someone has to win and someone has to lose."
"Well. Hockey ends in a tie."
"No, it doesn't."
"Something ends in a tie. They should do that."
I flip through the file of my brain on what major sport ends in a tie and say, "Soccer ends in a tie. That's it. No other sport ends in a tie. They'll play Monday if today ends with people tied."

"I was watching the news. I don't think Tiger was very nice when he was talking about that teenager (Beau Hossler)." Apparently in my mom's world, not being very nice is quite the indictment. I then informed her that Tiger isn't very nice, he's kind of a reprehensible human being (I have strong opinions on this). "Well, he should be nice. Has he even won anything big since his wife chased him down and he got in that car accident?" (THAT she knows. The woman gets most of her news from Entertainment Tonight so she has that story down.) I explain that he actually won last week, which started all the predictable "Tiger's Back!" stories, but no, I have no idea when the last time he won a major was.

Because of her ties to the course and her sudden burgeoning interest in the rules of golf, she followed along until the results tonight. "Webb Simpson? I don't even remember hearing about him. Oh, and Tiger fell well back. Good."

When the guy did the peacock call, interrupting the trophy ceremony, my mom's partner immediately texted her and said, "This guy just interrupted the trophy presentation and then got hauled off. That coulda been you doing it!" I played the video for her and she laughed and laughed.

Finally, my stepdad offered up this brilliant improvisation: Since it was really hot the days she worked she said, "I didn't bring my baton. It's extra crap to carry and I just figured I wouldn't be clubbing that many people at the Olympic Club." "Yeah," says my stepdad, "Besides, if you need to club anyone, you can just grab a golf club and use it instead!"

There's an important life lesson in there, huh? "When all else fails, grab a golf club."

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