Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Rat Becomes Prince Charming

A Sincere Apology Transforms the Rat
The Story of a Golfer
by Charlie Leck

Back in June, in a state of agitation and significant anger, I wrote about a golfer who was pretty much a rat on the golf course, taking it out on me, as a rules official, when he lost a significant state championship after failing to find his ball after a drive on a playoff hole. His contention was that I should have seen where his ball went since I was standing out in the fairway. My contention was that this is not my responsibility.

Well, I called him some pretty vile names in that earlier blog. I indicated that his conduct was not typical of the fine sportsmanship most golfers display at all times. Within just a few moments on the golf course that day, this guy had gone from one of my favorite golfers to watch in competition to a complete skunk.

It isn’t only frogs that can transform themselves into charming princes through a simple kiss; rats, or skunks, can do the same.

This week I was working again as a rules official at a men’s four-ball championship when the skunk arrived at the area where I was working. He sought me out and offered his hand and apologized sincerely and charmingly for his poor behavior back in June. And, in an instant he became Prince Charming again. I happily watched him sink a birdie putt on the hole.

I had lost some sleep over the little tussle back in June. It was a terrible way for this prince to lose his match. I wished so hard, for so many days after the fact, that I had been able to follow his shot to its conclusion. I was sick that he had to lose that way. I had not expected him to turn so hard on me and it didn’t feel good when he did.

Just as unexpected was his apology this week. He stood there like a man and looked me hard in the eye and asked that I forgive him. Of course, I did and happily accepted his sincerity. It took a man to do what he did. I admire him for it.

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