Sweet Valentine cards had been exchanged over morning coffee and muffins. “I love you” was declared anew. Then happy couples drove their decorated carts to the practice range to warm up for the annual husband-wife Valentine’s Day golf tournament.
Athletic events often spur signature sartorial selections. Fans wear Nike tennis outfits to New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium to cheer on Nadal and Federer. They slip on Brady and Gronk shirts when attending Patriot games in Foxboro, Massachusetts. At a recent all-star game in Tampa’s Amalie Arena , 98% of the audience sported hockey shirts touting their favorite player’s number.
Valentine’s Day at our Florida club evoked the same motif. Nearly everyone dug deep into their closets to create a stylish sea of red, white and pink, right down to their shoes and socks.
The sun was shining and spirits soared as the carts gathered in the staging area for the 1 PM shotgun. The tournament format (a step-aside scramble) triggered “Phews!” from the ladies and “No pressure!” from the guys. The club even provided Bloody Marys and beer at the turn. Oh happy day!
Overheard on the first tee: “Now remember, dear, I haven’t played a lot because of my back (insert: hip … knee … neck … wrist … arthritis … hammer toe … hang-nail …. ).”
“Don’t worry, dear,” her husband replied. “This is all for fun. We’re going to laugh our way around the course. Relax!”
Overheard on the second tee: “Remember now,” a husband said, “take the club back smooth and easy. Don’t force it. NO NO NO, not like that. Smooth and easy, I said.”
“Please don’t say ANYTHING when I’m bringing the club back,” she said.
Putting to the pink hole sparked more husbandly advice. “Hit the ball two inches to the left of the hole. Remember, it’s a downhill putt. Stroke it soft, not too hard. You can do it. NO, the other left.”
Sometimes guys can’t help themselves. Competition and the desire to win erupt from their veins like a Texas gusher. “Why did you hit it there?” “Whatever you do, don’t hit it right.” “It’s just a simple little pitch over the bunker, I know you can do it.” “Keep it away from the water!”
As the afternoon sun cast a pink glow over the palm trees, all was forgiven and forgotten, especially at the Pavillion where Chardonay and rum punches soothed fractured nerves and feelings.
Who won the tournament? I haven’t a clue. We didn't, but I do know that Mr. Wonderful and I were still Valentines at the end of the day, as were these happy couples.
Love indeed conquered all.