Sidelines: My first-ever hole-in-one – more or less

It was a long time coming, but it finally happened. I got a hole-in-one.

Granted, it was only miniature golf, and it was on a hole I had already played, but it still counts.

It happened on hole No. 2 at the Sycamore Family Sports Center, the one with the pirate overlooking the green.

It was a Saturday, and after getting off work, I decided to go to the sports center rather than go home and mow the yard. If you haven’t been there before, there are a number of games to choose from. Since I’m a little too big for the go-karts, and much too awkward for the batting cage, I chose miniature golf, something I’ve only done a couple of times before.

“Just take your time,” the lady behind the counter told me.

Which I did.

Since there was a father and his 12-year-old son one hole ahead of me, I kind of cheated. Whenever I finished my hole before they did, rather than making them feel rushed by standing around watching them, I played my hole again. It was my second go-round at No. 2 when I got my hole-in-one.

For a moment, I wanted to shout for joy. Realizing the circumstances, I kept it to myself – until now.

I’m not a big golf guy myself, but I understand the appeal of the game, the satisfaction of making par, as well as the frustration, even aggravation, of missing a putt you know you should have sunk. I can also see how someone could get hooked playing different courses, which all have their own unique layouts and challenges. My cousin, for instance, specifically plans his vacations around different courses across the country.

Personally, whenever I’ve tried big-boy golf courses, I have to agree with Mark Twain: “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

Maybe if real golf courses had banks or ridges on each green where you could bounce your shots, I might enjoy it more. It would also be more challenging if you had to putt around a shark in the water hole, like on hole No. 15, or even if they just had unique landmarks like the lighthouse on hole No. 10 to keep your mind off of your woes.

Even still, I don’t know if big-boy golf would be as much fun as its mini counterpart. Where else can you choose which color ball you want by inserting a token into a bubble gum-like machine? And since you only use a putter, you don’t need to worry about lugging a bag of clubs around.

In retrospect, I think if I had chosen the yellow ball I initially wanted, rather than the green one which looked more masculine, I might have done better. Despite my hole-in-one, I stopped keeping score around the hole with the alligator. Perhaps the different color would have kept the two 13-year-old girls who started way behind me from catching up with me.

They never would have believed I had gotten a hole-in-one.

In any event, when I was finished I did what 11-year-old Lucy Li did when she failed to make the cut for the U.S. Woman’s Open earlier this summer: I treated myself to ice cream.

In victory or defeat, everything tastes better with ice cream.

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