Commentary: Refreshed from vacation, it's back to spring sports

Well, back from sunny and warm Myrtle Beach, I have to get myself back on the right track for the spring sports season that is happily under way.

My trip, which has been an annual one for the past four years, was the best yet, as we (all 20 of us) enjoyed somewhat unbelievable, but very welcome, weather.

Other than a light drizzle for one and a half holes on Saturday, we enjoyed sunny and dry skies with temps in the mid-70s pushing toward 80.

The on-the-course highlights, not counting the actual golf, included five alligators, two snakes and a number of turtles. One turtle, of basketball size, was hanging out in the ninth fairway as we played through. John Vines, one of my playing partners, gracefully moved the turtle to the rough, closer to the pond it was likely headed for.

The snakes, both black, were also on the course. The first, a five-footer, was just off the green and as most snakes do, tried to scurry away from us as fast as possible. Eric Bethke, another playing partner, was also scurrying away as well. Poor man has no love for snakes. I got a real good look at the snake, but still not sure which type it was. I'm trying to verify, but not having much luck.

The other snake, a two-to-three footer, was also black, but when I touched his tail, it rared up and fanned out its neck. I also got hissed at before I left it on its journey.

As for the alligators, none of us got too close, but a number of pictures were taken. We saw two pretty good size gators. The largest I estimate to be in the 12-foot range.

Now, onto the golf. The past two years I had done pretty well in the par-3 contest among our group. This year, not so much, at least early on.

Bethke, who's true ambition is to beat me on the par 3's, was having a good time. I'm fairly certain he won all but one par-3 over the first two-plus rounds. I congratulated Bethke, whose dance and singing of "I'm Sexy and I Know It," was something to see, and hear for that matter. We all paid up, Vines, Joel Gartside, John Harris, Ray Orf and myself.

I redeemed myself a bit in round four, winning three of the four par-3's. I didn't get all my money back from Bethke, but I did get some.

As for the scoring, none of us lit up the scorecard, but we had fun. That is despite a loss of a mirror on my car due to bad judgment on my part and bad advice from my co-pilot and a flat tire on Vine's truck.

As we know, things could have been a lot worse. We had safe travel, good times on and off the course and the best weather we could have asked for. Special thanks go out to Steve Kampe and Bill Wloczewski for the trip planning, organizing and snack bag operation.

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