The Monday Update: 7/25/2022
The Senior LPGA Championship, The Tank 7, and a Puck Going Under a Game
I do not take photos in the moment all that often, primarily because
a) My phone’s camera is of relatively poor quality (which is to be expected as I purposely purchased a phone of relatively poor quality).
b) I don’t like undergoing the act of taking photos with my phone and don’t get that much personally from having the photos of the events myself, I’ve found.
c) I don’t take my real camera to many places, especially places like the one depicted in the photo above as I’ll explain later.
However, I will acknowledge that this leaves me with relatively few photos that would work for this specific post, each of which is of poor quality as the one above is. I took that picture to send to my mom to show her I was at the first hole of the Senior LPGA Championship in Salina, Kansas this weekend. That is Annika Sorenstam in the white hat visible in about the left-center of the photograph (Who I will admit was not intentionally the subject of the photo).
I attended this event as a volunteer, I was given a hat and a polo and a few jobs - First as a walking scorer (wherein I followed groups of golfers and used a walkie-talkie to call in their scores on each hole for the benefit of the active leaderboard) and then as a walking marshal (I was given a sign that said “QUIET PLEASE” that I held up whenever a golfer was about to hit the ball). It was a great time! What I wrote down on Saturday as my main takeaways were these:
The golfers struck me as gracious and diligent, as one is I think intended to be in their profession. I admire the good spirits that my group kept up even during difficult rounds. I have very limited experience personally with golf, I think I’ve played a combined 54 holes of golf in my life total so I can’t really empathize with what it’s like to fall behind my expectations on a golf course because I’m hardly ever on one, but I have to imagine it’s tough to stay so diligent and motivated to improve when you struggle to starting out a round.
My work as a walking scorer was not necessarily difficult (I kept track on a clipboard of how many strokes each golfer took on each hole and radioed them in to the scoring booth) but I did get better at it over two days. On Friday, I struggled to keep track of where to stand, I wasn’t tracking where shots were landing, and I found myself rushing to get the radio calls in between holes. By the end of the day Friday, I had managed to get the hang of it, and by Saturday I had a decent routine down. This was not a particularly strenuous job, but there was something nice to feeling myself improving at it over the course of about ten hours of doing so. Sort of a Csikszentmihalyian flow state I reached there where I was sufficiently challenged just due to my unfamiliarity with the whole situation but became relatively adept at it.
There are so many flying beetles on the Salina Country Club golf course in late July. Very benign insect at least to humans, they don’t bite or anything, but there’s a lot of them and I could tell that they’re annoying to golfers.
This was my first golf tournament I’ve ever attended. I can’t specifically remember when the last time I attended a genre of sporting event for the first time was. Was it a softball game in 2015? You all can’t know that for me, but that sounds right, and it strikes me that that was a long time ago. I guess there are levels of specificity there. For instance, I attended a WNBA game and a NISA soccer match and an Alliance of American Football match in 2019, and a USL Championship soccer match in 2020, and a Canadian Championship soccer match in 2021, and I suppose I attended the Banana Ball World Tour in 2022, but I’ve attended basketball, soccer, football, and baseball games before. It’s been a while since I saw a sport live for the first time. I still haven’t seen a number of them, most notably probably ice hockey, tennis, any sort of combat sport, indoor soccer, any sort of motorsport to my memory save for motocross which I have seen, and, of course, badminton. It strikes me that this has been a long-standing New Year resolution of mine, to attend in-person a sporting event I’ve never seen before, but I guess by that definition this was the first time I’ve done that since 2015.
Regarding that, I can understand why people like golf tournaments. There’s a good rhythm and flow to each round, the spectator can be more active at a golf tournament following the golfers than in most other spectating contexts (I walked something like sixteen miles this weekend, even though I was a volunteer worker I saw many people following groups on foot much in the same way that I was), and the drama of the final round is infectious. There’s an interesting spirit to the golf tournament. The support from the spectators struck me as more communal than anything else, there were not a lot of adversarial tendencies among the golf fans there. They’d cheer for good shots and putts from anyone. On a par-three, I saw one of the golfers in my group asking the spectators who they’d seen get closest to the pin that day, for example. It really was a nice atmosphere, different from any other event I’ve ever been to.
I can definitely understand why people enjoy golf tournaments, and I’d like to attend one as a spectator at some point in the near future. I was mostly struck by the opportunity to attend something like this in Salina, where my mother grew up and my grandfather still lives, on a course that my mother played as a high school golfer. I have fondness for Salina despite never having lived there full-time, and the city seems to be doing well for itself.
Game of the Week - Connect 4 Hoops
Bay Tek Games has basically solved large-scale arcade amusements with Connect 4 Hoops. I don’t think you can do better than this. The Alley in Salina has a machine of this, available for one dollar per play, which is a great deal. Playing against my friend Mike, I took what I assumed would be an insurmountable 3-1 lead in a seven game series, though I absolutely let the pressure get to me and I couldn’t finish the job - He won the last three games to take the series. There was no prize agreed upon, only the pride of having won the series - immediately following this, we were privvy to an incident wherein a kid threw an air hockey puck under a crane game and I had to go ask the guy working at the desk to get a broom, not for our or my sake, I had no interest in the air hockey, but I wanted to save them a headache in the future for the next person who wants to play air hockey and doesn’t have an air hockey puck.
What Got Cut -
On Chuck, Rex, Football - This is mostly about avoiding cynicism and outwardly loving things that I worry might get me ridiculed for loving.
On Realignment Mania - How USC and UCLA leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten with no fanfare on a Thursday afternoon in early July has affected my brain chemistry
From the Site -
Introducing the Tank 7 Athletic Conference - The theoretical regional college athletics conference aiming to bring regional sensibility back to college sports in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.
I do genuinely think something this would be a positive thing for non-revenue sports. I honestly would like to see the revenue sports split off from the NCAA, it’d give the football powers what they think they want, TV money and playoff chances, and it’d probably increase interest in the non-revenue sports if they played regional rivals. I think it’ll take years for it to happen but I could see it going that way (specifically football at the top level splitting from the NCAA), unburdened from the capitalistic exigence of a national existence I imagine we’ll see non-revenue sports turn back to regionality. This is, of course, a comedy article and it won’t happen this way, but I could see a return to regionality for non-revenue sports coming in somewhere.
I only have half of an idea planned for the site for this week, but I was given the idea for that Tank 7 piece on Tuesday, so if something crops up, I’ll let it grow.
Have a great week!