Preview: Running with the Ball


Soccer “hooligans” had trespassed on the committee’s cherished asset, its golf course. “New Business” was last on the agenda. Punishment was in the stuffy air.


“We do as much damage ourselves on any given day, and no members were out in the inclement weather. They treated the—”


“As a kind of training session. Bunkers, and flags on the greens, served as goals. When their ball reached a green without hitting the flag, it was ruled dead, sparing the greens.”

“An immediate show of hands should conclude this farce.”

“They were emulating—”

“Muddy oafs!”

After a long wait in a wood-paneled hall where the course routing and hole diagrams were displayed in gold frames, the perps joined the committee proceedings to present their defense: a forward, a midfielder, a defender and a goalie, led by their captain.

“You have the floor, Captain.”

“Thank you, sir and committee, for the opportunity to explain our actions. We were reading a new book about soccer, studying diagrams and photographs of exemplary play by international professionals, things you don’t see in 1976 America because soccer isn’t on tv or covered by newspapers. One rainy day, like they have in England, we passed your golf course—and put two and two together.”

“If you’d found Mein Kampf, I was a Communist for the FBI or Stokely Speaks, would you put two and two together similarly?”

“Fred, you’re out of order. Captain, it’s only fair to caution you that we have sworn statements from one of the club’s security guards and the police.”

“The same guard who shot at us with a real gun and eventually shot our ball? There were lights in the clubhouse, so, to avoid detection, we got as far away from it as fast as possible. At the first tee—”

“Par 4, 385 yards.”

“Aston Villa keeper Jim Cumbes (goalkeeper raises hand) distributed the ball with a massive clearance, which was won by forward Ray Graydon (forward raises hand), who raced down the fairway, which cants left to right, past defenders to the Shrewsbury goal, the bunker on the left side of the green, where his score brought Villa Park to its feet.”

“I’ve heard enough. I’ll be in the bar.” Fred left, followed by his followers.

The Nature Faker: William S. Flynn, Golf Course Architect (2006 to present) by Wayne S. Morrison
Soccer Skills & Tactics (1976) by Ken Jones and Pat Welton, first published in Great Britain as Football Skills & Tactics (1971)

image credit
Ajuntament de Girona, CRDI (Narcís Sans Prats), 1972