Recently, I played a round of golf with my longtime golfing buddy Kevin. Kevin hates it when I refer to him by his actual name in my posts, so that’s how I will refer to him – because I just like to piss Kevin off. We were scheduled to play a round, but I called him an hour before our tee time to report that it was raining cats and dogs at my house. “Really? Well, it’s sunny and clear here,” he said. So against my better judgment – which judgment is shaky at the best of times – I decided to go ahead and play.
We were met at the course by the rest of our foursome, Ron and John. And just like Kevin had predicted, it was clear and dry – conditions that were going to change dramatically about fifteen minutes after we teed off.
Kevin and I have been playing golf together for 17 years. It has evolved into something of a rivalry. It often comes down to the final hole before Kevin knows for sure whether he beat me by double digits or just single. You see, Kevin is a really good golfer and, with rare exceptions, I allow him to beat me – mostly to placate his fragile male ego, which shatters like broken glass if he loses to me in anything. And also because he is the far superior golfer.
Ron, John, Kevin and I teed off at the first tee. Kevin hit a gorgeous drive 270 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. Then it was my turn. I smiled as my ball landed eerily close to Kevin’s – by which I mean 100 yards closer to the tee box and banana-sliced 40 yards into the right-side woods. Oh yeah. The game was officially on.
As we reached the second hole, I noticed a few gentle droplets of rain. Kevin shook it off. He was sure it would pass. His smart phone’s weather app said it was going to be mostly sunny by afternoon. But at 8:15am, the sky was looking foreboding, like the skies over Mordor. As Kevin headed up the second fairway and I headed due east into the right-side forest, I noticed the raindrops were coming down harder. Wisely, I had decided to bring a jacket. Unwisely, I’d soon discover it repelled water about as effectively as toilet paper. And I forgot my golf cap.
Lately, all the media attention about the NFL has centered on the issue of domestic abuse. But long before that issue grabbed the headlines, another controversy had been building for months, even years: The often emotional debate over the name of the NFL team located in our nation’s capital: The Washington Redskins.
A tiny fringe group of a few million annoyingly sensitive Americans, including 35 Native American tribes and more than 50 organizations that represent various groups of Native Americans, seem to think the term “redskin” is an offensive stereotype that stirs images of primitive, angry, bloodthirsty savages screaming menacingly and wishing to annihilate their enemy – in other words, acting like a typical Washington Redskins fan. And they are demanding that billionaire team owner Daniel Marc Snyder change the team name to something less offensive – say, the Washington Camel Jockeys.
The list of suggested alternative names grows by the day. Some names that have been proposed include:
The Washington Gryffindors, the Washington Slytherins, the Washington Hufflepuffs,… well, pretty much anything you can think of from Harry Potter. Also, the Washington Redhawks (which personally I would find highly offensive if I were a Blackhawks fan), the Washington Skins (not sure how our nation’s nudists would feel about this one) or the Washington Pigskins (which I would find highly objectionable, personally, if I were a pot-bellied pig).
None of these names has generated much support, so naturally I came up with several much better ones. Tell me what you think: The Washington Lobbyists, or how about the Washington Cabinets? Or maybe the Washington Gridlocks? I thought about the Washington Senators – but then I realized I was too late. The Senators had already been bought.
A successful marriage is all about compromise. In the interest of marital harmony, I learned early on that I needed to let my wife win a few negotiations now and then.
In just a few weeks we will be moving to our dream house, by which I mean her dream house. Don’t get me wrong. I am sure I will love it, because that’s what she tells me. Of course, no guy’s dream house would be complete without a MAN CAVE.
I had visions of the perfect man cave. I wanted to go beyond the ordinary items that every man includes in his private oasis – your know, basic things like a regulation-sized beer pong table, a dart board that curses in Spanish whenever a dart hits it, or a TV larger than the wall it is attached to. Those essentials are givens, of course.
No, I was looking for something a little more exotic. Something that made a manly statement about me, Tim Jones, as a man! So I came up with my list of Tim’s Top 10 Must-Haves for His Man Cave:
- A jumbo-sized wall chart showing the proper operation of power tools – as demonstrated by hot girls in bikinis.
- A combination billiard / air hockey / foosball table that with the press of a button recedes into the floor.
- A Batman-style utility belt equipped with a potato chip dispenser, cheese-wiz canisters in six artificial flavors, and a holster for my burrito-firing bazooka.
- A beer tap in the shape of an elephant trunk – pull on left tusk for guacamole; right tusk for salsa.
- A bear rug – with grizzly in full roar – wearing a Seattle Seahawks helmet (for a touch of class).
- A life-size wooden mermaid, salvaged from the prow of a pirate ship, just like the one that Blackbeard used to pry the cork from his rum by wedging the neck of the bottle in between her cleavage and twisting his wrist in a starboard direction.
- An oversized phone shaped like a football that makes a deafening crowd roar for thirty seconds whenever it rings.
- A giant aquarium – on the ceiling – that you can stare up at during commercial breaks in the game to watch manta rays swimming overhead.
- A wall-mounted animal head – anything with antlers. I’m thinking moose but am open to suggestions.
- A lava lamp. (I’ve always wanted one ever since 7th grade.)
I love playing sports. My friends love to play me in sports, too. For years I thought it was because they enjoyed my company. They later told me that I tend to get on their nerves. So why do they keep playing me? Answer: Because they love the thrill of victory, which they are assured of experiencing any time they play me – in any sport.
Ya’ know that old expression “He’s a jack of all trades but a king of none”? Well, I’m more like the three of clubs. You see, as much as I love sports, I’ve never really been that good at them.
Case in point: I’ve played the same guy in tennis for 12 years. Let’s call him “Steve”, because, well, his name is Steve. In that 12 years, I can tell you the exact number of sets I have won against Steve. Exactly zero.
I’ve been golfing with another friend for 15 years. I’ll just refer to him as “Kevin from Ballard” because I don’t feel it’s appropriate to reveal his last name here – but since I know you’re curious, it’s “Breecher.” I have never beaten Kevin Breecher in golf – ever. Every year he increases my handicap advantage. He now gives me 29 strokes. He still always wins. Last month, he offered to hit all his tee shots blindfolded. He won by five strokes.
One thing my friends Steve and Kevin have in common – besides being annoying winners – is that they always feel better about themselves after trouncing me. It never gets old for them.
Great news, everybody. ESPN just announced it’s now broadcasting coverage of cricket. No, I’m not talking about televising small insects chewing through leaves – although granted, for many people, that might represent a more appealing TV-viewing option. I’m talking about the sport of cricket. If you’re someone who finds bowling on TV too exciting, or if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to enter into a self-induced coma, cricket could be just your ticket.
I’m not exactly sure why ESPN decided to start covering cricket. Perhaps ESPN’s International-Sports-Nobody-Gives-a-Rat’s-Ass-About Channel wasn’t able to get the programming rights for Equestrian Dressage. Or perhaps it came down to making a difficult choice between televising cricket versus broadcasting five hours of dead air.
Cricket is a sport that has been around for centuries. According to legend, it was first played during the early Pleistocene Era, in a match pitting the Leicester Clubbers against the always feisty Sussex Wooly Mammoths. The point is, it’s a very old game. Cricket is a lot like baseball – just slower-paced and without gloves or bases or David Ortiz Bobble Head Night or any coherent explanation for what is going on out there. Like baseball, it has a pitcher (which they call a bowler) and a batter (called a batsman). And like baseball, the main objective for most fans watching the game is to get as drunk as possible in order to keep their mind off the fact that the game in front of them is mind-numbingly dull.
Dear U.S. Olympic Ski Team:
Congratulations on an outstanding Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And hey, that 18 year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was impressive on the giant slalom. Well done. I just have one minor complaint to register: Why did you leave me off the team? I contacted you last summer, telling you I wanted to try out for the men’s freestyle aerials or half pipe or any alpine event you guys thought might attract babes. But nobody ever replied to my text message – which by the way I typed in ALL CAPS to get your attention.
I have to say, as qualified as the team members you selected may have been, your decision to leave me off the roster is confounding. I demand an explanation. When I attempted to get on the team plane for Sochi, one of your staffers refused to let me board. I must say he was very discourteous, even after I flashed him 100 rubles to let me get past.
I demand to know why you refused to let me compete with the rest of the skiers. Was it because I’m 59 years old, and the next oldest competitor was 37? News flash: I checked, and age discrimination is totally against the law. Besides, I may be almost 60, but sometimes I use Grecian Formula (dark brown), making me look closer to 52.
Was it because you learned I was married to a Canadian and you questioned my loyalties? Or were you worried my wife would get into a cat fight with the American women’s hockey players? Or maybe you learned about my humor blog and worried I might write a sophomoric column which would spark an international incident. I doubt I’d do that (although I confess I’ve never met a Russian figure skating judge I trusted).
I love my wife. Don’t get me wrong. She’s a great life partner, but she’s a lousy sports partner. The problem is she is utterly clueless about sports. Like any patriotic American, I’m a huge sports fan: baseball, football, Australian rules lawn bowling, you name it. But my wife is, how can I put this delicately – an artist.
My wife could no more tell you the number of points in a touchdown than the location of home plate in baseball. Oh sure, she’ll tell you she likes sports. But to her, sports consists of backpacking through the woods or climbing a rock face. Those aren’t sports. As any red-blooded sports fanatic knows, sports require two essential elements: a high def flat panel 56” TV and a large cheese-stuffed, meat-lover’s pizza.
I first suspected my wife wasn’t into sports early in our marriage. One evening, I had to work late so I missed the Monday Night Football game. I called home to ask her the score. After five minutes trying to convince her that pro football indeed could be played on a day other than Sunday, she checked the TV and reported: I have no idea. But I think they’re in extra innings. Seriously, I’d have better luck finding the score in the credits of Breaking Bad than by asking my wife.
Sunday, February 7th is the biggest single day of the year in sports: No, I’m not talking about the Fresno Kennel Club Annual Dog Show taking place this coming Sunday – although granted, that is a very big sporting event. No, I’m talking about the Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Bronocos. I believe it’s Super Bowl MCLXXXXVIIIVX, but I could be off by a couple of V’s.
This week I am donning my wife’s BBQ apron to share my secrets to throwing a winning Super Bowl party. A Super Bowl party is a great opportunity for men to bond with their buddies over the world’s greatest spectator sport (after female mud wrestling) and for the ladies to bond with other wives in the kitchen while checking on the status of our Meat Lovers’ pizza and replenishing our salsa dip – I noticed it’s getting a bit low, honey.
Fellows, when hosting a Super Bowl party, there are three parts to consider: preparations BEFOREHAND, what to do DURING the party, and finally, clean-up activities AFTER the party. Of course, most of you guys can skip Parts I and III, as those parts can easily be handled by your wife. Just put her in charge of the food and stay out of her way. She loves being in charge of something.
LONDON ENGLAND – 27 July, 2012 – Reuters Newswire
The 2012 London Summer Games have officially begun. The breathtakingly beautiful new venue known as London Olympic Stadium (scheduled to be completed just in time for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio) was the site of an exhilarating opening ceremonies. Fans wondered how the London Games could ever live up to the grand spectacle of the 2008 Beijing Games’ opening ceremony, which featured more than 15,000 performers at an estimated expense of more than $100 million.
Not to be outdone, the London Games’ opening ceremonies were a festival of famous British celebrities. Sir Elton John, waiving the Olympic torch, proudly entered Olympic Stadium. He proceeded to carry his torch for, make that, to British soccer legend David Beckham, who headed to the stairs to light the giant cauldron.
When I’m feeling a little too good about myself – a little too self-assured – nothing brings me back down to earth, to my normal state of self-loathing and despair, like five hours of nonstop futility and embarrassment. No, I’m not talking about the time I spent writing last week’s blog article (although I can see why you might have jumped to that conclusion). I’m talking about golf.
Nothing reminds me of how inadequate I am like spending half a day in nature, searching in vain for tee shots gone terribly awry, in pursuit of lost golf balls hidden like buried treasure deep in the woods. Which leads me to this poignant ethical question:
If you lose your tee shot in the woods and in the process of looking for your lost ball find another ball, which your golfing partner does not notice, how many yards closer to the fairway can you move your new ball to improve your lie?