Did You See My Ball?

A Short Story (Part 1)

Monterey Herald

22 Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch and heal him. 23 Taking the blind man’s hand, Jesus led him out of the village. After spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on the man, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”

24 The man looked up and said, “I see people. They look like trees, only they are walking around.”

25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again. He looked with his eyes wide open, his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25, Common English Bible).

Jason, Zach, and I stood in the pro shop. When we checked in the young lady behind the counter, her nametag identified her as Michele, asked if we would mind a fourth to go with our group. I could tell Jason and Zach were less than thrilled but being the one that would spend the day by myself in the golf cart, I jumped in before they had a chance and said, “sure, he can ride with me.”

Michele walked away telling me, “Let me go and get him. He is having a cup of coffee. I’ll be right back.”

Within just a minute or two, Michele came in with a 40 something year-old-man in tow. He had his clubs over his shoulder, wore sun glasses and souvenir golf cap from Lighthouse for the Blind’s many nighttime glow ball scramble tournaments. He extended his hand to me and said, “Hi, I am Tyler. Thanks for letting me tag along. Playing with an unknown fourth can be hard on a group. I appreciate it.”

Jason and Zach looked at each other with a bit of a snide expression. Zach just said, “Shall we?” turned and headed for the door with Jason right behind.

“Your with me, Tyler. I’m Ray. I’m glad we can play together today. I always like to meet new people out here. You also might want to wait on the thanks. I am not a very good golfer, but I like to have a day outdoors, playing with friends. It is far more about that than about golf for me.”

“You probably aren’t that bad. But friends with those two guys?”

“Just wait, you will see. As far as those guys, we have been friends since we were kids. Most of the time they aren’t bad guys. Sorry for the questionable start.”

“There’s no need for you to apologize. You aren’t the one acting like a… well, never mind.”

Tyler and I loaded our clubs on my cart. As we made our way to the first hole I asked him about his hat. “Have you played in the tournament?” I asked pointing to his hat.

“Yes, in fact I have played every year of the Washington, D.C. tournament,” he said.

We got to the tee box and Jason said, “Hey Tyler, why don’t you take the first shot.”

Tyler walked up onto the tee box, pushes is tee into the ground and places his ball on the tee. He stood and took a couple of practice swings and then approached his ball. He brought his club back slowly and then quickly and firmly swung his driver at the ball. On contact the club connected with the ball producing the sound all golfers love, titanium hitting the hard surface of a golf ball. Tyler’s drive went straight down the fairway, landing, perfectly in the center of the fairway 260 yards away.

“Did any of you see where my ball went?” Tyler asked.

“Are you kidding?” asked Zach. “You hit a perfect shot. The only thing that could have made it better would he if you hit the ball another 40 yards. How could you not have seen it?”

As I walked up to the tee box I said Tyler, “Good shot man. Finding the ball won’t be hard.” I hit my shot and as usual, my worm burner was headed to the rough on the right side of the fairway.

Zach and Jason followed with good shots, but not as good as Tyler’s. When I pulled up to Tyler’s ball, after a shot that got me on the fairway, barely beyond Tyler’s tee shot.

Tyler took his second shot and put it on the green, leaving himself about a ten-foot putt for birdie. When the hole ended, Tyler had a birdie 3, Zach made par, and Jason had a bogie. As for me, I had a four over, eight. On the second hole.

Before we got to the second tee-box I saw Michele sitting in a cart waiting. When we stopped she got out with a small ice chest. “Tyler, I saw you accidently left your ice chest in the pro shop. I knew you would need it so I ran it out here.” She laughed and said, “It was a good excuse to get out of the pro shop and out on the course for a few minutes.”

I looked up in time to see Zach and Jason snickering to themselves and shaking their heads. I walked up to them and said, “What is your problem guys?”

“You shouldn’t have agreed to a fourth. It is slowing us down,” said Jason. “Neither of us want someone we don’t know playing with us.”

“He is slowing you down? He outscored both of you on that hole,” I said.

“You too. In fact, I think if you look at the score card, all of us outscored you,” Zach sneered at me.

“You are quite right. I stink at golf. I only play because for some reason I want to spend some time with my friends,” I snapped back.

In the meantime, Tyler was on the tee box of the par-three second hole. Michele stood there for watching Tyler swing. He smoothly swung his club and hit another perfect shot with just the right spin. His ball landed and stuck a foot from the hole. Though he said nothing, I saw him look at Michele, she walked up to him, said something, returned to her cart and drove away. Zach and Jason both split the green, one on each side. My tee-shot went onto the green, going about 15 feet past the pin.

As we drove away from the tee-box to the green, I asked Tyler, “What was that with Michele?”

He replied, “I am a Type 1 diabetic. I have to keep food and drinks in my little ice chest. There is some insulin in there too.”

“No, no.” I said. “I saw you look at her right after your shot. Then she came up to you. Just wanting to make sure everything is OK.”

“I have a hard time seeing the ball sometimes. I am good friends with the club pro and when I don’t have anyone I can play with, he will let Michelle come play at least 9 holes with me. She got used to standing on the tee-box and watching me hit the ball and telling me where it landed. Since she was there I didn’t want to hear Zach and Jason again. I knew you didn’t know to watch and I knew Michele would be watching. She looks for ways to help people around the club.”

“Well,” I told Tyler, “I will stand on the back of the tee-box and watch your ball and let you know where it lands. When we finish this hole, why don’t we let Zach and Jason go on ahead. I have played plenty with them. I think we will have a better day.”

I looked over at Tyler as he pulled his putter from his golf bag, started to head for the hole. Suddenly he stopped and turned around and said…

To be continued…

Be blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Barbara Franco helps her husband U.S. Navy veteran, Carlos Franco with his service dog Miguel on the practice range at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Club in Seaside on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Franco who is blind is learning golf through the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program at the Seaside golf course. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)

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