As the Game Grows

Pelley on grass

I am posting this up before our Coast article comes out on Thursday because I feel that after that time things may get busier on the links and the shine might wear off this game (read: drunkards are going to hit the streets with golf clubs and start ruining shit through being stupid). So I am just writing about what I think about this little pass-time.

It has only been a couple of months since I started hitnround my neighbourhood, even less than that since BB joined me and thereafter the number of people playing (and crews established) has grown like a bad weed (good weed of course taking much longer due to careful trimming, curing and such…or so I have been told).  Oddly we are starting to get press.  Both radio and print; now there is the potential for television.  Someone wants us to do a short promotional film.  This is nice but once again odd and wholly unnecessary.  In someways it is even regretful.

When the game started it was just me, a couple of tennis balls, old clubs and empty streets.  The love of cities is something I have always had and I have long been an urban explorer.  That first night alone, in my neighbourhood, the weather was bitter, I was bummed out and just needed fresh air and head space.  The snow, due to the dry but very cold weather, compressed with the resistance of cardboard underfoot and a muffled scissor-cutting-paper sounding crunch that is aural mother’s milk in its affect on evoking comforting times of youthful snow play.

It has taken off.  So before anything goes to press about it I would like to just put forward a few things:

– Urban golf is not a glory project. Until we started getting press I had a fake name on the site but I am not into fibbing to reporters so I have brought my surname into the mix.  I don’t care if you don’t know who I am; I really don’t care if I ever meet you (though I am sure you are a good person and contributing citizen).  I just have something to share that has made my life more fun and my city more relevant to me (and more importantly to others). Go play.  I suggest you follow our rules but that is all I can do: ask for your respect and community mindedness.

– Urban golf was not inspired by anything in particular; it grew out of the need to escape. I had heard of types of urban golfing in lots of places, I don’t think it is too hard a concept to envision, nor the implements a rarity of urban living: golf clubs, tennis balls, some booze and some friends.  The Coast reporter (though pleasant and professional and I will write more about the interview later) I felt tried to railroad me into saying that I was inspired by a GOOD article which would be wholly erroneous.  I had mentioned I played before in high school, and the night I started hitting round it was to escape a lonely city and head space.  I just needed something to do while I thought.  The modern world can be lonely at times; and there is many types of meditation (OHM contains all possibilities) and this is my meditation.

Under these lights, under these quiet snows I became the character in Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” who left the crowded Lecture hall and:

…unaccountable, I became and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

I still golf by myself often. I suggest you try.  Self-discovery, and discovery by one’s self are hands that holding each other ensuring harmony of place and even serenity of mind.

I don't know what you've heard but Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric" was really just a cry for help.

– Urban golf doesn’t belong to anybody, you don’t need us.  Just go play. My saddest experience dealing with urban golf is having to find many different ways of trying to teach basics of golf without a hole: take a club and hit a tennis ball at a target.  Bring friends. You don’t need us.  I appreciate the all offers I’ve gotten to come play but I am pretty busy in life and love the sound of splendid silence especially when I am busy with “real life”. Again, use it for a chance to explore your city and get closer to and make new friends.  If you need to borrow clubs by all means hit us up.
BB however will play with you anytime you want.  He’s a nicer guy than me anyway.

– The philosophical undertones and cultural significance that I write about here are musings and not meant to hold up to any sort of rigor.  I write what I feel like on this blog; I am not looking to square the circle.  I do feel that the rules of the game ARE good rules for living but I am not writing the Upanishads here, I am talking about urban play that is grounded in my community and environmental principles – sustainability principles.  So if you want to critique an opinion based discipline that thinks it has universality and permanence then  go pick on economics and become a grass bag.  I feel that my critiques are credible and virtuous within their context.  But the world is full of people who think the airy drool that comes out of their mouths and minds is more insightful than everyone else’s…our generation is the knows everything but can support nothing with any sort of genuine.  If you want to read my technical writing I do have lots out there published.  I rarely even reread what I write here for grammar or spelking.

To make a short story shorter: the tenants of urban golf, like the tenants of other urban belief systems such as hip hop or politics, began as an art that was practiced (something practical) and the ethereal (theory of what it is) just kind of grew out of it like a blossom from a road apple.

I have more to say but this is enough for today.  I have to consult at a meeting about “using the built environment to build community”… I think they want to put up a mall in a farmer’s field.  There are times when nothing but escape matters for maintaining integrity of self amid a world that oft tosses and turns like troubled mother.

This game if it were ours to give we would give to you.  However it was never ours in the first place.  None the less it is yours to use, just please be gentle and have respect.

Respect: P

(Photo: The Risk)


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