Golf in 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again: time for our annual IHTNFL Golf Tournament (that’s “I Hate the NFL”) on Sunday February 6. It’s our annual round played on Super Bowl Sunday. Which is ideal since the courses aren’t crowded.

Of course, I haven’t picked up my clubs in well over six months. And I’ve never been much of a golfer to begin with.

So, I pulled out my tried and true “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons of Golf” book and gave it a read through. I then stopped by the Elkins Ranch (Fillmore, CA) course on the way home last night to hit a bucket of balls on the range. I’d forgotten just how bad I really am.

And I became reacquainted with several muscles that I’d forgotten I had {groan}…

Hopefully I will at least be able to make it through the entire round without collapsing. I don’t even want to imagine what my game and score might look like. But it has given me renewed interest in the sport and impetus toward practicing and playing again. I may not do anything tonight, but I will certainly try to get in another couple evenings’ practice in before the weekend.

But then again, it’s not exactly like cramming for a test at school!

This week’s musings

The biggest problem with keeping up a regular blog—or journal, for that matter—is that I don’t think my everyday life is particularly interesting at the moment. But here goes anyway…

So when I got up and went for my walk the other morning, I’d had this blister on my right heel and got another on my left heel. I’d bandaged and padded them up, but at about 1.5 miles out, I was in a lot of pain. I took off my socks to find that the bandages had slipped and torn off the loose skin—I had to walk back a mile and a half barefoot. I didn’t walk again until this morning, and did my 4+ miles in my flip-flops.

Speaking of walking, my usual route is just over 4 miles (about 4.2, actually) and I’ve been doing that every day. I’ve even done it twice in a day. The walking seems to be doing wonders in my weight loss program along with my moderation in diet and eating. FYI, I’m doing my eating based loosely on The Abs Diet, which is an interesting book. I just haven’t been able to get enthused about going to the gym (even though it’s only downstairs…sheesh) so I’m concentrating on simply being active and doing something that will turn up my fat-burning metabolism. A week from today, the Adult swim coaching class starts, and that’s what I plan to do going forward—swim. This morning I weighed 179.6 and my plan is to drop down to 150 by year’s end.

Victoria seems pretty lively, and she even played with me and some string today. She’s still way too skinny and doesn’t seem to be eating enough. I’m not sure what to do next…

Last night, due to a last-minute schedule change, I ended up hosting game night at my place. We played a few games of DBA with a variety of asian armies (the Mongols SUCK in DBA…) and generally socialized.

Finally, I happened across a link somewhere to a website specifically designed for journal writing. I’ve decided to start gathering up all my old journals and source materials that I can still find and transcribing them online to eventually be published in book form. The service is pretty cool and reasonably priced ($30.00/year + any book printing costs)—you should check it out: http://pyxlinjournal.familylearn.com/home/

So that’s it for my boring week. stay tuned with baited breath in case something even MORE interesting happens…

2008 AT&T Champions Classic Golf Tournament

Last spring my friend Mike E. managed to get us some deluxe tickets to watch the AT&T Champions Classic golf tournament, complete with luxury lunch buffet in the clubhouse. It’s part of the Seniors PGA Tour and was the first time I had ever been to see a golf tourney in real life.

Well, when I spoke with some of the volunteers then, I became excited to also volunteer. I’d been thinking about it, but never got around to actually doing anything about it until this past Monday when I realized it was going to be this week! I went up to the Valencia Country Club, located the proper people and signed up.

I ended up working four days and spectating for one, having a great time. I spent most of my shifts working on the fairway of the 10th—which was really exciting during the Pro-Am tournament when the wind kicked up. It was very lucky that we had a tree to hide behind!

On Saturday, Mike and I walked around following the action. No deluxe buffet for us this time, but we still saw great golf. When we arrived around 10:30, it was an absolutely perfect day for golf: gorgeous sunny weather, only a very light breeze. But by the time we walked back to my place around 2:30, it was actually raining on us! Kinda put a crimp in the festivities…

On Sunday, I worked the green on the 14th (which is where the photos are from). As you can see, Valencia CC is an absolutely beautiful course. The exciting bit is that—since I was a hard-working volunteer—I will actually get to play the course in August. That’s pretty cool since there’s no way I could ever afford to join. But it’s also pretty scary considering I watched the pros play and know just how tough a course it is! Denis Watson ended up winning the tournament after 3 playoff rounds.

In the evening, I went from marshaling to transportation. I drove Curtis Strange and his wife down to their hotel near LAX—such nice people. My second and final trip was fun too: I drove Brad Bryant to LAX for a late night flight. It was funny because he had one special request before we left: he wanted to go eat dinner at In & Out Burger! So he treated me to dinner, which was really nice. He says that In & Out is always a must-visit site for the PGA tour folks, since they’re only in California. I said it was the same for me when I visit the South and have to go to the Waffle House since the nearest one is in Phoenix, Arizona. He also gave me an autographed visor which was really cool.

I had so much fun that I hope to do it again next year if I’m still around.

初めての矢 – First Arrow

Last night’s Kyudo practice turned out to be a momentous one. It started off regularly enough, then one of our fellow students allowed “The Three Musketeers” (Paolo-san, Wilton-san and myself—the new recruits) to use an actual Yumi (bow) and arrow to go through the movements.

At tea break, our sensei talked about the seminars and ranking tests being held next summer at UC-Irvine and asked if any of us were thinking about doing the test and we all sort of thought about it. I like having a goal to work towards (like the JLPT), so I think I’m game. But then, Rick-sensei said if we were planning on doing it then our teaching would need to be accelerated and we would need to shoot our first arrow tonight.

That, of course, brought on the doki doki (i.e. racing heartbeat, i.e. nervous).

In the end, I did indeed shoot my first arrow, under the tutelage of my now lifelong sensei Rick Beal after the break. I was excited to actually hit the makiwara (target) with my first shot, though my form was off a bit and the string hit me on the edge of my forehead. But all’s well that ends well. It was pretty exciting, and now I really feel like I’m on the road to learning and participating fully in Kyudo.

After practice, I asked “Doctor-san” to help instruct me in the future and he told me to start by doing incline push ups every day with a 10-count pause. That and some other things to start getting myself physically ready for the sport—like losing a pound a week (good advice regardless). You’ve gotta do the “wax on, wax off” in any martial art.

I’ll have to plan my vacation for the week after Fourth of July, I suppose…