i ate a hot dog there once.

i have an ongoing love affair with google maps. i thought i had it under control, but then “street view” put me over the edge (i didn’t think anything could be more exciting then mario kart, but i’ve found it). i just spent an hour on google hovering a couple hundred virtual feet over the golf course at Bellerive Country Club, which is where this weekend’s BMW championship is being played. if street view would’ve allowed it, i would’ve virtually walked myself down every fairway on the course, but instead i had to hover high above. i’m not obsessed, i just have a history with that course. see, 16 years ago i would’ve been found actually walking it in person pretty regularly.

it’s nothing worth bragging about (believe me), because lugged over my scrawny, 13 yr old shoulder would’ve been the golf clubs of some ridiculously rich old guy who only cared that i could tell the difference between a pitching wedge and a putter when he asked for one of them. my willingness to do that was my ticket onto the course. every saturday had a 5 am wake up call, 3 hours of waiting to pick up a loop, 4 hours of lugging clubs through st. louis heat… and at the end of the day what i had to show for it was 12 whole dollars.

tomorrow, the course that i once traversed will be the scene of a big ol’ golfers tourney. it’ll be home to thousands of fans, major network TV crews, sports anchors, and even a big blimp in the sky. so tonight, as i zoomed in over those holes that i walked so frequently as an uncoordinated seventh grader, i realized something about that summer.

i had no idea what a big deal i was a part of. i was a clueless and awkward kid doing all i could just to keep from spilling a bag of golf clubs. and yet there i was, behind the gates of one of the nation’s most prestigious, beautiful golf clubs (BCC has also hosted the PGA championship and a couple US Opens). once during a maintenance day, i was allowed to play the course. for some absurd reason i played the entire scenic second hole with a putter—(sigh)—what i would give to stand on that tee again with a driver in my hands. i had no idea that the closest i’d get to that course again would be a satellite image on a computer screen. aside from the magnitude of the course, i was spending hours at a time walking alongside a very selective crew of highly successful (and ridiculously wealthy) individuals. and yet, what was usually on my mind was whether or not that millionaire was going to buy me a hot dog at the turn.

hot dogs.that’s what was going through my head. processed meat.

not “i should watch this guy and learn a thing or two about how to hit a golf ball,” or, “take in the sight of this incredible golf course, cuz one day the world’s best players will be here playing for millions of dollars on national TV,” or, “i wonder if this guy could share something with me about how to take big steps in life?” (or even “do i realize how many chances i get to quote Ty Webb here?”). those saturdays really are just vague memories, which is why i jumped on google maps—i wanted to see how much of that amazing course (and my time on it) i could actually remember. the answer, very little. but i do remember eating a hot dog there.

the point? whether it’s that golf course, or some other big thing i found myself in the midst of during my life, those memories make me wonder, what am i a part of NOW that i don’t realize is as BIG as it is? what am i in the midst of that will prove to be more than ordinary? what are the opportunities that i will regret not taking advantage of? what are the “hot dogs” that are stealing my attention/ my thoughts/ my dreams?

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~ by bradherndon on September 6, 2008.

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