Yes, I played a bit of football in my time. I am reminded every morning when I roll out of bed. My joints, ligaments and tendons serenade the early light with “Snap, crackle and pop.” I did enjoy the game of football, but I had no idea that my body would pay for the pleasure for the rest of my life. I should have taken up golf. Then the worst thing that could have happened to me was hitting my ball out of bounds. Golf is a game where a “late hit” means a slice, not a separated shoulder. The game is played at a walk, and no one ever sweats. A “bad lie” is a ball buried in the sand, not a pile up at the goal line against Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears. A “career-ending play” is scoring a 6 on a par 3. The most terrifying thing a golfer ever sees is a twenty-foot downhill putt. You never hear words like blitz, cover two, or spearing. The word “rough” refers to tall grass, not J.J. Watt. You don’t have to stand in a pocket, nor do you need a cut man on the sideline. Canes and wheelchairs are off limits on the golf course, because most likely you will never need a knee operation. You don’t have to block anybody while playing a round, and you get to keep your teeth. Missing the “cut” in golf refers to their score when it is not in the low 60’s, not stitches.
You never see a golfer with a mark on him. His nose isn’t bleeding, his eyes are clear, and you can understand him when he speaks. Golfers don’t need crutches, and no one has ever seen Tiger Woods carried off the golf course on a stretcher. I could have traded a torn meniscus and sprained ankles for playing golf until I’m 60. The playing surface in golf is soft and beautiful, and the holes are guarded by trees that you can hit over or sand traps that you can go around; the holes are not guarded by guys named Mike Singleterry or Lawrence Taylor. The toughest part of a round of golf may be taking off one of your shoes to play your ball out of a water hazard. These guys make millions of dollars without bruising a rib or sustaining a concussion, and it’s hard to fracture your thumb on a six iron. Heck, there’s no heavy breathing, no heavy lifting; and a guy carries their clubs for them. They can make 1.2 million on a weekend, and they don’t have to knock down linebacker Ray Lewis. I’ve never seen a disabled list in professional golf.
Playing golf is like finding money. Jordan Spieth is never going to be able to tell if it’s going to rain by the feeling he gets in his knees, yet Tony Romo gets headaches for a living. These guys go through life with a sun tan, wearing the best fashioned clothes, laid out for them by style coordinators. When they finish a tournament, they don’t have to soak in a tub of ice or inflate a collapsed lung or get their blood to clot. Yet, people are in awe of them because they once shot a 66 at The Masters.
Golfers are the luckiest guys in sports. I should have taken up golf.