I have been really busy the last two weeks, first with four days at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Los Angeles conference (which was great!), then five days in Tulsa, OK with my husband for the 89th PGA Tournament.
Let me tell you about the golf tourney first since that is fresher in my mind. It was really fun spending four days watching a golf tournament. The golfers experience good days, bad days, good holes, bad holes, etc. My assessment is that good golfers can rally. It doesn’t matter how often you hit the fairway on your drive, or how often you hit the green on your approach shot. As much as Woody Austen wants you to believe that he “outplayed” Tiger, the score is all that matters in the end, and Tiger won. Woods can rally from every lie, every color of grass on the course and get within a birdie putt almost every time. He knows when he has to push and when he hasn’t had a perfect round how to make up for that. The course is Tiger’s canvas and he recognizes that the final portrait is more important than each individual stroke. Runners up need not argue otherwise.
It is fun to see the golfers express themselves through their clothing, their sponsors, their mannerisms, and the few words they might say. Nonetheless, golf is a horrible spectator sport. First of all there are 18 opportunities to score and you can only see one hole at a time. We did find a spot near the fifth green where we could see the second green, the sixth green, and hear the drives from the third tee box. And we had shade! A definite benefit when the heat index is 104-110 degrees. But beyond the leader board, you really don’t have a good idea how everyone else is playing concurrent to the golfers you can see. Roars come from galleries watching John Daly’s drives, or Tiger making birdie, or a good ol’ boy making eagle. But those are our best guesses of what was happening. The course lacks a Jumbo-Tron showing what’s happening elsewhere on the course, replaying a great putt, or letting us guess the day’s attendance. Spectators could have a lot more fun if they could talk, cheer, or do the wave.
Alas, it is a quiet sport—more quiet than gymnastics–which does not make sense to me. Money aside, young men and women on 4” wide balance beams, four feet off the ground have a lot more to lose from a jarring cheer than a simple stroke made in the middle of a grassy knoll. My daughter’s gymnastics coach used to say that if a gymnast was distracted by a yell or cheer from another spot in the gym, then she was not properly trained. There’s something to think about.
The most often asked questions I have received about my trip involved the weather. Yes, it was hot. Yes it was humid. Yes it was like a sauna. Was it so bad I had to stay in the hospitality tent all day? No. Was it so hot that I could not even attend on Sunday? No. The biggest proponents of staying indoors, ironically, were the locals. It was funny. But they live in air-conditioned comfort round the clock. They let their cars run for a few minutes before they get in so the a/c cools it down. In Southern California, I do not have air conditioning in my house. On a hot day, my house is sometimes as hot as the outside. A few fans help circulate that hot air and fool us into thinking it is cooling the house. I vacuum in that air, I give the dog a bath in that air. I do the laundry, mop the floor, and scrub the tub, all in that air. I get hot, sticky and gross. To sit and watch golf is a pleasure—even if it is in that weather.
I have always heard that dry heat is better then humidity. I am not so sure. Yes, I was sticky and gross, but I didn’t feel like I was baking 100% of the time. I use Las Vegas as a prime example of dry heat. When you walk out of a casino in Vegas in July, you feel as if your breath is sucked out of you. Your skin tightens, and you sweat. The droplets of perspiration dry almost immediately and leave you with a dry crust of salt around your hairline and under your arms. In the Tulsa Humidity, I felt like I was in a steam room—something I pay big money at health spas to experience. Only in this steam room you could actually enjoy it for longer than ten minutes. The sweat drips off you without drying. This steaming effect is much nicer than being flame-broiled. It is even therapeutic. I will admit, that in a sunbathing experience I prefer the dry heat. Lying in a puddle next to a pool is not comfortable. Sweat mixed with sunscreen streaming to your navel and creating a pool of natural waste is simply disgusting. At least in a health spa you have a towel handy and a shower around the corner.
Anyway, there are worse things you can do than sit still and watch golf in a sauna. Blow dry your hair in that environment or try Bikram’s Yoga. That is actually done on purpose.