1 – After the Packer game today I was almost despondent. For a month people have been singing their praises and talking up their talent. They were one of the NFC’s best and a good shot to make it to the Super Bowl. No lie, I ate it up. I bought right in.
But after a troubling performance against the Bears and a devastating loss at home to the Bengals, the Packers have been exposed as frauds.
Personally, I was numb. It was like I’d just witnessed a car crash and didn’t know how to act. This happens when you live and die with your favorite teams.
That lasted about an hour, because I soon after went through something much worse:
Don’t bother to look it up in the Urban Dictionary; none of the definitions work or do it justice. I’ll help you out.
Shanks (nown): A soulless, unforgiving motherfuck that toys with your emotions, kills your spirit and demolishes your will. It will show up unexpectedly, stay as long as it wishes and is nearly impossible to defeat. If you have The Shanks, you know almost instantly, and it’s like your guts have been ripped out from your insides.
Let me paint the picture, set the scene if you will…
Before the Packer game was over I’d chalked it up to a loss. Even as they recovered the on-side kick I didn’t bother watching the final minute. I was already putting on the golf shoes. Ben decided he’d go with. We got to Princeton Valley and got a large bucket of balls to hit before our rounds.
At first, everything was fine. I pulled out the lob wedge and launched a few pretty balls at the green 75 yards away. Then I hit some with the pitching wedge and again, everything was alright. I grabbed the nine-iron, and all of the sudden everything went to shit.
I hit it and my worst nightmare started. The ball (that little dimpled son of a bitch) instead of going straight sliced a hard right. Picture a perfect golf shot as going at a 90 degree angle. This ball went to about 15 degrees. It was so bad that someone hitting up the range from me had to glance my way with a “What the fuck” kind of look.
OK. One shot like that isn’t the end of the world. It’s the second that lets you know whether you’re fine or if you’re in for one of the worst stretches of golf in your life.
Unfortunately for me it was the latter.
There were about forty balls left in that bucket. I would estimate that 80% were shanks that all did the exact same thing. The other 20% were a mix of dubs and chunks. My swing that had done me so well for the last three months was boned.
The Shanks are a funny thing. No one really knows where they come from. You can be going along fine and out of no-where they show up. Nothing you do can get rid of them. Golf is a tough sport, and the golf swing is a complex thing. There are so many moving parts and things to factor in to get that ball to do what you want it to. Swing tempo, foot placement, grip, how far you bring the club back, where your elbows are, follow through…every swing is different but the end goal is the same. Hit that little fucker up the fairway and keep it out of the hazards.
So when you factor all the things that go into the swing and how tough it is to do anything consistently, it really is remarkable to watch shot after shot do the exact same thing. It didn’t matter which club I used, how hard I swung, where I kept my feet or hands or arms…every shot took a hard right at that same 15 degree angle.
My brother was next to me analyzing my swing.
“You’re not staying down on the ball”
“You’re coming up to soon”
“You’re babying the ball”
“Look where your feet are”
Unfortunately for someone who’s never had the shanks, he didn’t know that the real problem isn’t physical, it’s mental. I’ve had them once before and it makes for a miserable stretch of golf. You can try anything and everything, but if your head isn’t right you’re never getting your swing back. If he knew the shanks, he would have stopped with the golf instruction and bought me a shot instead. I’m not positive, but a theory of mine is there are only a few sure ways to get rid of the shanks
1) hard drugs
2) copious amounts of hard liquor
3) frequent carnal knowledge
4) death of a loved one
Those are the only four cures as far as I can tell.
I got to work on #2 before we even teed off on hole number one and was legally drunk by hole number two.
Fortunately for myself, the driver is immune to the shanks. If you’re driving the ball wrong, it’s a physical malady. Today my driver was the only reason I didn’t put up a complete monster. Hell, I actually drove the ball as well as I have for most of the summer. 300+, typically right down the middle. On most holes I had a 60 yard pitch with the sand-wedge to the green and there’s little chance to shank that shot.
On holes I had to bring out any other iron? Again, I’ll set the table…
On #2 I crushed my drive, dead center down the middle of the fairway. I probably out-drove Ben, another big hitter, by 40 yards. All I had to get to the dance was about 110, a soft pitching wedge. Ben was texting someone while I swung. I took my shot, Ben looked up from his phone and asked, “Where’d you go?”. I pointed directly to his right at someone’s yard. Ben just put his head down and walked ahead. That’s the other thing with the shanks; if you have it the other golfers in your party act like you have the H1N1 virus or the Bubonic plague. They don’t want to catch it.
So that’s how my round went.
Driver and lob wedge were great.
4-PW = embarrassment.
Only two questions linger.
1) How long will the shanks stick around?
2) What brought them on in the first place?
It’s always something mental with the shanks. Guilt, sorrow, anger…take your pick. Might even be karma or some kind of god telling me that I fucked up in some way recently.
Oh well. Tomorrow is new day and a new 18 holes.
2) Ben and I got some stuff for the grill after the round. I picked up a bottle of Bloody Mary mix. The grill went on as soon as I got home and the vodka came out of the freezer.
“You’re making a drink already?”, Ben said.
“It’s not a drink, it’s a Bloody Mary. It’s Sunday” I said.
Ben, laughing, “I love how you rationalize that”.
3) Speaking of drinks, my new favorite is the John Daly. My homey Brian of Wausau learned me a couple months ago.
Pour a generous portion of vodka into a tall glass. My preference of late is Sobieski.
Add 1 1/2 tbs of ice tea mix.
Top with lemonade and stir/shake.
4) I can honestly say that one positive from today’s tough loss is I’ll be more productive at work than I have been in months.
Typically I’ll scour the net for any and everything related to the Packers and the NFL. After a loss as bad as today’s I’m gonna avoid sports news like the plague. What’s tough on me should be great for my company.
5)Let August of 2009 be known as the Cautionary Tale of the Green Bay Packers.
It shall forever serve as a reminder that the pre-season means total and complete dick. The Packers were unstoppable in three meaningless games. Two games into the regular season and they look like dogshit.
Moral of the story: don’t tune in to the NFL until September.
6) Twitter has claimed its first Packer victim. After today’s humiliating loss, linebacker Nick Barnett popped off to fans, telling them to, “KISS MY ASS”. He also questioned the coaching staff and their rotations. An hour later he come back on with an apology.
You can bet that the Packers will begin imposing Twitter restrictions on their players, and it’s about time.
Not much of anything to be honest. This weekend was good and all but it was more like hanging out with a pal and nothing else. Eh, whatever.
8) Almost four years ago I made my last trip to Stout to party. Because I’d crashed the night before I woke up needing new clothes. I drove to a Maurices and bought what I would later consider to be the ugliest shorts I’d ever worn. I don’t know what I was thinking.
I didn’t wear them again after that night, until three weeks ago.
I was at home and looking through my old closet to see if there were any old clothes worth salvaging before they were set to go to St. Vinnies. I saw the old shorts and thought one thing: golfing.
Golfing is the one occasion you have to wear the ugliest checkered patterns and colors and not only look acceptable, but awesome.
So now those old and ugly shorts are a staple. If I’m golfing and they’re clean (and I usually wash them after every time on the course) I’m wearing ’em.
9) On a blog I like the subject of tipping came up. This is one of those things that fascinate me, how people can have such passionate and polar opposite views. Some people are steadfast in 15% being the absolute maximum and only if the service is extraordinary. Some don’t tip at all and will rationalize it in any way possible. Many people can’t bring themselves to give an extra buck if it means the difference between looking cheap and looking generous.
Here’s my take…
Over-tip. Always. 20% or more, for that matter. It’s $15, give them $4. $20, give them $6. If you only have one or two at a bar after work give a 50% tip. If you’re at a bar you regular, go 50%. Expect free drinks down the line. If you’re with a group of people or a date and you’ve racked up a big bar bill, go nuts and give a 25-40% tip.
Big tips will never screw you over. In the end it’s just a matter of a few bucks but the service you get the next time and the way you look to the people around you more than make up for the cash you fork over.