July 6, 2006

…when the thoughts of all the inmates held without bail in that earthly confine known as Goodboys Nation turn to golf. That’s right, children, Santa Claus is almost here, and if you’re really, really, REALLY good, you might actually get a couple of strokes added to your Goodboys handicap! Every July for the past 15 years, gentlemen from northern New Hampshire to Massachusetts’ South Shore have been congregating for golf, fun, and a couple-two-three cocktails in search of that Holy Grail known as the Spielberg Memorial Trophy. And this year, as the Goodboys Invitational Golf Tournament turns sweet 16, that annual rite of passage begins anew.

Typically, the buzz begins somewhere around St. Patricks’ Day and the sight of the first robin redbreast seeking worms beneath the recently-thawed New England tundra. E-mails start flooding inboxes faster than Jason Johnson can give up first-inning runs, and speculation as to who’s in this year and who’s not runs rampant. By April 1, the ‘boys are starting to get antsy: “Where are we gonna play?”, “How are we choosing partners? “What’s my handicap gonna be?” The winners of the previous year’s tournament (who have long-since forgotten that they are responsible for putting this year’s event together – in Goodboys circles known as Exec-Comm) suddenly awaken from their winter hiberantion and frantically start dialing numbers, getting commitments, and making arrangements. In the meanwhile, one or two participants from the previous year will drop out and a frothing, wild-eyed search for their replacement(s) begins.

The weather now begins to warm. Slowly. Clubs are extracted from basements, closets, and car trunks, rusty swings are dusted off, and nonsensical chit-chat starts to accumulate in inboxes. Not unlike Santa’s elves, those assigned the roles of gaming commissioner, scoreboard artist, propaganda minister, and humilation bet designer all get to work with one goal in mind – not to drop the ball and receive the barbs, hoots, and hollers of their fellow Goodboys. If replacements for the previous year’s participants are needed, the Goodboys spend mid-April through mid-June crawling through baseboards and crevasses like some famished mosquito, seeking new blood. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t.

At any rate, come the first week of July, everything has fallen into place, and now’s the time when the anticipation and excitement really begins to build. For The Great White Shank, this is a time for working the checklist down to make sure he’s prepared for yet another Weekend At Goodboys. Given that he’s one of two never to have missed a Goodboys Invitational (the other being “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis), he knows the drill by heart. Still, given the occasional incapacity brought about by his advancing age, it doesn’t hurt to run it down one again:

1) Make travel arrangements. Check. Boy, airline tickets have really gone up since last year – in fact, they’ve almost doubled. No matter, I’d as soon spend the rest of my earthly existence listening to Celine Dion singing the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ greatest hits than miss a Goodboys Invitational weekend.

2) Pick up new Hawaiian shirts – the louder the better. Check. This year I’ve picked up some beauties from Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Las Vegas. (By the way, I don’t mean to brag, but The Great White Shank was THE FIRST to cast aside those typical, boring 50/50 blend, polo shirts in favor of loose-fitting Hawaiian shirts on the golf course. Heck, I was wearing ’em there when the only other place you could find ’em was on the backs of whale-white tourists on vacation, Don Ho, and retired Jewish mobsters in Miami. Now you see them everywhere on golf courses, especially young people. Good for them.)

3) Get to the driving range and start taking some swings, make adjustments as needed. Check. Although I don’t know why I bother. Like John Daly says, practice only leads to bad habits. Besides, I’ve been shooting the same score for years, why should this one be any different? Why? Because this year, on the advice of fellow Goodboy “Killer” Kowalski, I’m working on a craw – something between a cut and a draw.

4) Get a couple of practice rounds in. Check. (See above.)

5) Go to Wal-Mart, pick up plenty of balls. Check. This year I’m going with these guaranteed longer-distance, nuclear-powered Wilson Ultras. Got a good deal, too – $8.99 for a 12-pack. I hope the distance they travel is longer than Kim Jong II‘s Taepodong-2. (Quirky name for a missile, eh?)

It’s time of year – Goodboys Invitational time. And, as the restaurant employee said to the customer after dropping a tray of food on him, I! can’t! wait!

UPDATE 7/7/06: My friend Dona rightly asks about the Spielberg Memorial Trophy. Sure, it may not seem impressive or a thing of beauty, but there are more than a couple-two-three Goodboys out there willing to trade their first male-born for an opportunity to take this baby home and display it on their mantlepiece (OK, maybe the latter might be pushing it a bit far) one more time.

The trophy itself dates back to Goodboys antiquity following the crowning of its first champions (“Rocket” Richard and “Snake” Andrusaitis – our earliest nicknames). Once there was a champion, it seemed only reasonable that there had to be a championship trophy. An initial suggestion was to get a hunk of railroad tie and stab a nail in it; from this humble concept sprung the Spielberg Memorial Trophy, named after “Crusher” Spielberg, a participant at Goodboys II who, in a fit of rage after snap-hooking a drive out of bounds left, snapped the offending 5-wood across his knee as if it were a toothpick. His partner that year, former Goodboy “Gaylord” Perry, thoughtfully retrieved the wreckage, tossed it in his bag, then forgot about it. The next spring, while fishing for some stolen range balls in his bag (as was typical for him), Gaylord found the snapped off head, and a block of 2×4 was given its first ornamentation. From that point on, the winners of every successive year have adorned the trophy with momentos of that particular weekend – good and bad – and the now three-tiered trophy features various sundry items such as a beer can, a tequila shot bottle, a blender blade, golf tees, an Israeli flag, and handsome cord surrounding its Lido Deck.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 14:50 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. What is the “Spielberg Memorial Trophy?”

    Comment by Dona — July 7, 2006 @ 3:23 am

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