By LINDON DODD
You always know a bad golfer’s name. He is always cursing at himself”
Muhammad Ali had one after he was stripped of his heavyweight title. Michael Jordan had one after retiring. Even Tiger Woods had one of a sort after his famous auto crash and subsequent Romeo revelation. Now it’s time for Lindon Dodd to have one.
I am officially announcing my comeback as a golfer. OK, other than anyone who read this column almost two years ago, nobody else ever knew I had officially retired as a golfer. If you missed the column that one week you are just finding out at this moment. A comeback without a retirement announcement cannot officially happen.
As of this moment neither ESPN nor Sports Illustrated has called to confirm the sporting news. Although I personally think that the Swimsuit edition would be the perfect place to chronicle my golfing comeback. I am willing to sacrifice and fly off to some isolated location swimsuit shoot in Barbados and will even fill in as a towel boy after the interview just to prove I am no athletic prima dona.
For those who never knew about my retirement from golf it happened after the infamous sciatic nerve attack just over two years ago on the second green at Valley View Golf course. I was putting, yes putting, when I collapsed in agony. As I said back then since the injury occurred while putting I even had to retire from miniature golf.
Every monumental comeback has a story of bravery attached to it. Mine was lying on the floor after being carted to the clubhouse writhing [yeah, I know that sounds dramatic, but I was writhing]. I remember when the pro Tom Maled came upon a couple of occasions to check on me. He offered any aid but I could only be comforted by laying in the most awkward of positions like I have often found my cat sleeping half flung off the side of a chair in my living room with his legs in the air.
I know some might ask why I spent more than three hours in pain in the corner of the clubhouse instead of being rushed by ambulance to a hospital emergency room. This is where the story of a brave and loyal golfing partner comes into play. Since my buddies had only been on the second hole I didn’t want to ruin their day so I told them to keep playing and then they could take me home after the round was finished.
Only a golfer would understand. My wife is not a golfer. She is more of a person with common sense. She didn’t really understand. She was even less understanding when my buddies dropped me off at the house writhing [I love that word. It is so descriptive and paints such a mental image of suffering] in pain.
What followed were several months of painful recovery and more than two years of being retired from golf. That is until this past weekend when a lonely man spent more than three hours bravely facing his golfing fears to see if he could fulfill his dreams of returning to the golf course. I hope during this paragraph someone is reading this account with headphones and a bit of Lifetime television-themed music.
There was no fanfare, no cheering crowds, and in fact, I was probably the only person at that moment that understood just how exciting the conquest really was.
Oh, and to diminish any image of a once broken athlete returning to a round of par golf, I probably sucked just as much as always as far as any scoring. In the comeback business we refer to last Sunday as a moral victory. But, I enjoyed sucking at 30 holes of golf as much as anything else that I have done for personal entertainment over the last two golf-less years.
The problem with my golf swing stems from my playing baseball and softball for more than 40 years. The only way I could possibly improve would be if someone threw a golf ball at me overhand from 60 feet away and I tried to hit it with the grip end.
Yes, I am back for those of you on the golf links that never knew, or particularly cared, that I was gone.
Thanks goes out to my buddy Joe who included me on his upcoming scramble tournament team at the Elks Club upcoming in September. I am now in training which will require me to suffer through a couple of more rounds of bad golf to insure my remaining upright and apelike until Sept. 16.
My plan is to play again this weekend and this time with witnesses [in golfing terminology we often refer to this as a foursome]. In the end, I will be just another mediocre golfer spending way too much time and money pursuing perfection in a sport where mediocre to bad is the norm.
In case my friends bring me home with a reinjured back on Sunday I am pretty sure I will have them drop me off at my mom’s house writhing in pain to recover over the next couple of months. My wife Kim probably won’t be as nurturing and understanding this time. As I said, she is not a golfer.
Get Well Soon Carol Sue
A good friend of the column is going through a pretty rough time right now and I want to wish her a very speedy recovery. Remember, Carol Sue, we need to spend some time between games again at the regional in Seymour to hear more embellished stories and enjoy another U of L game in the afternoon between Jeff Red Devil victories. I look forward to seeing you later on this year.
— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org