I took up golfing right after realizing that I couldn’t play soccer anymore, couldn’t run, so I took walking as a sport, besides as a Muslim I wanted to be assimilated.
Growing up in Egypt I had never had a chance to play this illusive game or even come close to being on a golf course. Golf is still an individualistic and very much a disciplined game for someone who played and lived for a long time with the game of proximity and improvisation: the game of soccer. Golf needs a conservative mindset that uses linear thinking. Soccer is more liberal that requires a nonlinear mindset. GOLF is basically a men’s game – as men golfers say – stands for Guys Only Ladies Forbidden, Ha ha ha, don’t drop your beer.
Golf has introduced me to America, a different kind of America; abundance, massive landscapes, remoteness and excessiveness. In my golfing here I have met lots of good people, made lots of unlikely friends. I started playing golf the same way I used to play soccer. I just drive to a golf course nearby and play with anyone available. I come and tag alone with friends and families who need a foursome, just to fill in and keep the golfing line up going. I became the companion for those who need a companion, and a friend of those who needed a friend. I played with that disgruntled family member or spouse who was looking for someone to vent to, for some reason they all open up to me. I’m the neutral guy, their bartender on the golf course, that you can safely dump it all on him, knowing that you may never see him again. Golf transcends race, color and ethnicity; the only thing we see is the color of the green. We are just men in a man’s world, no cultural sensitivity or diversity training required. I’m just another golfer – a bad golfer maybe, but never a bad Muslim.
We met at the golf course last year, he was a big, friendly and bigger than life kind of guy. We limited our conversation to golfer one liner talk, when you miss a shot “It is in the garden”, when you get frustrated “any shot will make somebody happy” he would say. He sometimes gives me a few golfing tips which in golf culture is kind of taboo; friends don’t just give other friends tips on the golf course. Golfing is not a competitive sport where you are competing against each other, you are competing against yourself. We played a few times, we meet every week and just play. In the beginning we tried to avoid politics as much as we could, and my religion or nationality never came to play and never was an issue. Just men enjoying themselves away from work, families and prejudices. We kept the conversation in a good spirit of sports, women, drinks and of course weather. However lately, with the dark political climate and the Trump political daily show spewed everywhere, I have noticed that our conversation slipped into politics. And, yes he thinks Trump would make America great again.
He became possessed with his own prejudices, and didn’t shy away from sharing them with me. He was as his golf swing, a straight shooter, and his unpolitical correctness oozed out on the golf course.