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Golfing with a Hero

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Got beaten today like a redheaded stepchild in a pickup game at a local golf course, and was happy to do it for the company. Didn't try to this guy beat me fair and square, he won by thinking his way through the course, and minimizing mistakes. 

Played against John, don't know his last name and it doesn't matter, he is a hero.  He was from out of town and here on business for a couple of months.  I had my bag, he had a bag of rental sticks.  I had him at the turn, but this guy doesn't understand the concept of give up;  at the end of 18 he had me by 3 strokes.  The things that some people will do for a free beer.

John is chasing 40 and I'm closing on 60, but I'm in a lot better structural shape than he is, John has not taken very good care of his body.  He told me about some of his injuries over the last 12 years, they were almost all caused by his job.  Numerous puncture wounds, a lot of broken bones and joint injuries,  quite a few bacterial diseases mostly water based.  (sounds like a skier)

By about the 12th hole he started hobbling a bit as his back started to stiffen up, he broke that 2 years ago at work and will have disc problems for the remainder of his life. 

By the 16th his swing started breaking down not much turn or follow-thru, the length was going out.  His hips aren't so good anymore either;  John bit down and got 'er done. 

The 18th is a 608 yard beast of a par 5, a though hole in western Washington on a cool damp day.  John bogeyed with a 20 yard pitch from a flowerbed and a 15 foot 1 putt.  This guy is tough!

This guy is an Army Ranger.  4 tours in Iraq, and 4 in Afghanistan.  Ranger tours are much shorter than many, their tours are much more mission based, and they need some time to heal.  We didn't talk politics, they don't really matter in that profession, and he might have hurt me for mine.  He did share some professional perspectives though...

Iraq fighters watch out for the knife from behind, not so much as warriors.  Afghans will stand up and fight you, they are warriors and some of the finest light infantry on the planet. Our new commander in Afghanistan is the real deal, we are in very good hands there.  His thoughts not mine. 

What does a warn out warrior do till he has his 20 years in for retirement?  He is no longer physically capable of going on combat missions.  He teaches ROTC for 1 more year.  That is a great use of government resources.  (The Romans took there older veterans to teach the new recruits too.)  If you are on a campus look twice at those guys teaching in the ROTC department, they may be more than you think. 

John, thank you and all those like you for what you have given.  You are a hero!  Would always be proud  to play golf, or ski with you.  Oh ya, I am happy to buy the beer too.
post #2 of 4
nice story
post #3 of 4
That was a nice story.

My hero is a 96 year old woman golfer in Bozeman who plays with four clubs. She started playing in her seventies when she had to give up tennis. She doesn't hit far, but she always goes straight, and seldom gets higher than a bogey. 
post #4 of 4
Nice story Stranger. I'm a little older than you, was able to stay out of combat in the 60's and generally don't see that we've benefited much from the armed conflicts of the second half of the last century. That said, every year that goes by I gain more respect for John and his kind. Like the young man in the wheel chair greeting Tiger as he moved from green to tee Sunday. These folks are real heroes and we're all better off because of their sacrifices and I don't just mean for the battles they've faught it's also the example they set for all of us.
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