I unintentionally took a blog-break and Alistair and I took our own break but I’m back in the blogosphere.
With fabulous house-sitters (Whitney & her husband, Lau visiting from Kauai), we decided to disappear for a few days. We cruised up north to the homeland and hung out in the ski town of Fernie, BC for 2 nights.
Fernie is surrounded by majestic mountains but the town itself pretty much shuts down when the ski hill closes.
Restaurants were short on staff but we still had some wonderful Indian food at Tandoori Grill. And our Park Place Lodge was a bit dated and the view from the teensy balcony was overlooking a somewhat tough-looking neighborhood where a beer & BBQ bash thankfully wrapped up before bedtime but they had something we have rarely seen in hotel or resort rooms…
Its fun going back to Canada but we have definitely become a bit Americanized. Watching people in Canadian Tire or on the streets or golf course the song, Far Too Canadian by Spirit of the West rang through my head. I can’t put my finger on it but we have definitely changed in some ways.
While the golf course was fun and beautiful there were some super disrespectful golfers out there. Is this a Canadian thing?
I’m all for having a drink or two on the golf cart but being loud and rude and dropping F-bombs on almost every shot and playing music behind us while we’re on the tee box just isn’t cool.
Nor is slow play, which the groups ahead of us didn’t seem to care about.
Its common practice to let faster players go by but the group of nine people who were all together ahead of us spread out over three groups didn’t bother. And they visited and they took practice swings and they drank (“There’s no bar car today, boys, but I’ve got a mickey!”) and they smoked and they laughed and they talked with each other some more while noisy rude-man and his girlfriend and their music kept riding up our asses.
And yet, it was fun. Its golf. Its Alistair and I enjoying new terrain in our old homeland on a sunny day.
We also got to witness two separate incidents of young children having complete meltdowns in Fernie. Usually a parent gets the kid out of the public place when this goes on but not these cases. These were quite the tantrums- I have never seen anything like them- with the final one culminating in a little girl screaming through her tears to everyone at Canadian Tire, “I HATE MY LIFE.”
Maybe she is far too Canadian.
We also got to enjoy a night in Whitefish, Montana at the The Lodge at Whitefish. They had a wonderful spring rate for early season golfers and a beautiful room in the Viking Lodge.
Fancy schmancy supper at a golf course and our 18 holes with a cart the next day after Eggs Benedict by the lake made for a perfect experience.
Whitefish is also a ski town but they have much more to offer their permanent residents and the town maintains its activity during the off seasons. Hiking around downtown we were amazed by all of the restaurants and shops and variety.
The town’s population of only 6500 seems much larger when you consider the size of the downtown core as well as the fact they are one of the only towns in Montana to maintain a year-round ice rink!
Successful competitive skaters train year-round, which is why I moved to Vancouver and lived with other families for the spring and summer sessions beginning at the age of 12. So I was excited to see an active Montana club in the making.
The golf course we played at was in terrific shape and had some beautiful scenery as well.
We caught up to a funny guy whose golf game was well-suited to ours and we played the back 9 together.
And we played not badly!
Which is unusual for me.
As we have learned this game I have always become overly self-conscious if others are watching. Good friends are one thing (sometimes) but having to drive in front of a stranger usually is the kiss of death for my ball flight not to mention my confidence.
I’ve often wondered how pro golfers do it.
How they can handle the crowds and the volunteers and the markers and the other players and the caddies and then the incredible silence of all of these people when a volunteer puts their arms in the air so they can tee up their little white ball and try to make a decent swing.
Especially when they might be under unreasonable pressure!
Like this guy, Jordan Spieth.
So young, so talented, so well-spoken and so honest about his game. He was player of the year on the PGA tour last year and won a boat load of titles, including the Masters.
As this year’s Masters began he was one of the guys expected to run off with the title and after the first three days he was leading! The hype, the predictions, the background stories, the interviews, the short clips… everything was all about Jordan but then he didn’t win.
In fact, he lost in colossal fashion on one fateful hole towards the end of the round on Sunday.
You could see him beginning to falter after the turn and then things went sliding downhill fast. I can’t imagine what went through his mind but I’ll bet anyone he wanted to take a few of those shots again.
At least the back nine. Where, maybe he held back a little because he had a substantial lead and didn’t think he had to attack the course. Who knows why the best trained athletes in the world falter at crucial moments? For Pete’s sake, I used to fall apart just because someone on the next hole might be looking in my general direction.
When the pressure and expectations are so high the fall back down to earth seems even more horrible than if someone who isn’t well known fires a ball into a water feature. Twice.
Just like at this year’s World Championships in Boston, Gracie Gold, our American ladies champion led the young Russians and her American colleague after a brilliant short program. She was radiant! She put on a jumping clinic the way she confidently nailed everything and she dazzled us all.
So what went through her mind when she faltered in the long program? It wasn’t a bad skate, really, but it wasn’t good enough given the amazing performances by the Russians, the Japanese and country-woman, Ashley Wagner. In fact, everyone but Gracie had a great night and when all was said and done she was off the podium after being on top of the world.
A crash down to earth that had her apologizing to the media, saying she had to re-think her goals, sounding so confused that she didn’t put it all together when it was right there in front of her.
Maybe this is why I love both golf and figure skating so much. Individual sports where I can be my greatest ally or my biggest threat. I can get too much inside of myself and over think things and that’s where you slip entering a flying camel or your golf ball pops ahead two feet on a drive.
And you have no one to blame but yourself because these aren’t team sports.
But when you hit amazing shots or you reach the top step on the podium it feels great to know that you did it. I’m sure having been a competitive figure skater explains a lot of the things I do in real life.
What does all of this have to do with our little mini-vacay in Fernie and Whitefish?
Its just where my head is and what I’m thinking about and where I’m thinking these thoughts and I’ll try to be more organized about it all next time.
Until then, its good to be back.