Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Most Dangerous Sport

I have a fear of miniature golf.
An intense fear.

People tell me that's silly. They say it sounds like I have a phobia. I tell them that they're silly, and that they sound like a phobia.

I think it's other people who have silly fears. When people tell me about things that scare them, I tend to point out to them that those fears are unrealistic and unsubstantiated. I know people close to me for instance who are afraid of elevators, the dark, airplanes, heights, and other ridiculous circumstances or supernatural forces. Miniature golf on the other hand. Now that, that's a real man's fear. It is a powerful fear. An unconquerable fear. A fear not to be overcome.

It is playing miniature where I almost lost an eye.

To the best of my memory, I was probably around 11 years old. The summer before 5th grade perhaps. I was in summer camp in northern New Jersey. It was a pretty sweet camp, as camps go, and this one had a miniature golf course. It was a pretty crappy miniature golf course, as miniature golf courses go. They did get one improvement for those dedicated to this spine-chilling sport: they got metal golf clubs. Now, I usually wouldn't recommend giving metal golf clubs to kids in general, but - and people seem to continually forget this - miniature golf is a very dangerous sport. A move like this was just asking for trouble. I wasn't the one asking for it, but I'm the one that got an answer.

Standing a few feet behind a friend, the kid yells "four" and unceremoniously swings the golf club back behind his head in anticipation to swing forward. This was his practice swing. That club hit me in the face, right next to my eye. I began yelling. I get carried to the nurses office. I get picked up by my mom. I end the day with stitches. That scar still remains. It's about one millimeter from my right eye.

I would later be a counselor there at Spring Lake Day Camp and I always stayed away from the miniature golf course. Perhaps my lesson is that I shouldn't trust little kids. But I don't trust miniature golf. It's a dangerous sport.

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