Tuesdays are for slicing about life. Join us at Two Writing Teachers!
"You're all set," the golf pro said as he handed me the two tickets to play nine holes. "Just check in with Rich at the starting gate outside and he'll let you know which course to play."
Garth was on the phone talking to one of our daughters, and Rich and I rolled our eyes at him.
"That's why I leave my phone in the car," Rich said as Garth tried to get my attention, strap his clubs on a pull cart, and carry on his conversation.
When I allowed that my phone was at home, Rich must have felt bonded with me because his next conversation starter was about the United States Women's Soccer team and the captain's unbelievable disregard for the National Anthem.
"After they won an unbelievable game, that's your takeaway?" I said. "Really?"
(I should not have even engaged in a word of conversation with him, but I couldn't resist the antagonism.)
"People like her," he went on. "It's why the country is going to hell in a handbag."
"You and I are definitely not going to agree because I have absolutely no problem with people like her and peaceful protests," I said. "I have a much bigger problem with the disproportionate numbers of Black people harmed by police brutality."
"And what about our state?" Rich continued. "Do you think we'd be in the mess we're in if we didn't have liberal democrats running it?"
I glared at Garth who was still talking on the phone, oblivious to my heightened blood pressure. How was golf going so badly on a beautiful afternoon when we hadn't even hit the first ball yet?
"How can you relate the state's affairs to the captain of the soccer team?" I couldn't resist saying. "That's quite a stretch."
"People have no respect," he started. I can't remember what else he said, but he kept going.
"Garth," I said. "Get off the phone. Now."
I turned back to Rich. "The last I checked, I was here for golf," I said. "Not political conversations with someone I don't know who works here."
By about my third shot, I'd cooled off enough, and I played fine despite a year off and an out-of-line starter. I also knew I'd have my slice thought through by the end of the round.
But I've stayed sad about the interaction. No, I don't think this country is in trouble because of athletes who choose to kneel or not sing. We have larger issues, and maybe I should have handled the incident differently, although I'm not sure how.