By Logan Brandon • Sports Editor • 

Finding my way: Wildcat Open fosters fun, friendships

I’m not very good, I confessed to Sports Information Director Kelly Bird after he asked me to play in Linfield University’s Wildcat Open golf tournament.

I wasn’t being humble. I’m a decidedly average golfer on my best day, which means I have the unfortunate capacity to be awful on my worst day.

Kelly was undeterred; it’s a scramble format, he promised me. Okay, that is enticing. For all you non-golfers out there, a scramble usually includes four players teaming up to play the best ball on every hole. This gives the group excellent opportunities to challenge for pars and birdies.

The format, and the location – The Reserve in Aloha – cemented my decision.

Yesterday, I joined an impressive cast of current and former Linfield students. As one of the few non-Linfield alums in attendance, I observed the rekindling of friendships young and old.

The event catered to former student-athletes reconnecting with teammates and coaches. A pre-tee-off lunch included several groups of Wildcats gleefully recounting college glory days.

With the 1 p.m. tee-off looming, I settled into my cart and awaited my teammates. Soon, I was joined by Beth, Keri and Emma. Beth and Keri work as directors at the university, while Emma is president of the student union.

They asked how good I was. I gave the universal “eh” motion with my hand. The dismay was palpable on their faces. All three were new golfers, hoping I could carry the team with my crack shot-making.

Just to remind you; I’m not very good.

Fortunately, the team’s dynamic was extremely entertaining and we developed a nice rapport. We found a common bond avoiding the course marshals’ ire, playing at a speedy pace and sending up shouts of joy when we hit good shots.

My three teammates were especially helpful on the green, where Emma, Beth and Keri all sank at least one par or bogie putt. Emma, after draining a 20-footer, confidently declared she would take up the sport in the future.

As the day and heat pressed on and three holes remained, my three faithful companions voted to return to the clubhouse. Before parting, I honestly told them how much they improved. They thanked me for my coaching.

After four-putting on my third-to-last hole – again, I’m not very good – the group in front of me excitedly asked me to join them in finishing the tournament. “You get to hit each shot four times!” they enthusiastically reminded me. The blisters on my hand told me to play simply as Logan, rather than a team of four.

In the brief time with my new group, encouragement and camaraderie again became common themes. The entire tournament proved not only a competition, but an event of fun.

I’d happily do it again.


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