Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

April 25, 2013

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I have to start getting my ‘game-face’ on. I’m golfing in a league this year for the first time. Serious stuff – league competition. Okay, I’ll admit it: it’s not that serious and if truth be told, I’m not much competition for anyone. But it’s something different for me.

Bill Ossont, a retired phys-ed teacher in Medina — who lives in Lockport — is spearheading the “The 2013 Larry Decker Memorial Medina Teachers Golf League at Shelridge Country Club” this year. He’s done such for the past several years. Guys, like Bill, work tirelessly to field these athletic activities so guys like myself can recreate and ask inane questions like: “Do you think you could possibly make the league’s title just a little bit longer?” (Larry Decker, by the way, was a beloved Medina teacher/football coach and dear friend of Bill’s. Great guy!)

Neither my playing partner, Dave Bellucci, nor I have ever taught school. (Although both of our wives did.) Nonetheless, as newcomers to the league, we understand that there are probably rules in place and protocol to follow. Rules that have become second-nature to teachers; rules that are ingrained in their psyches and everyday life. Dave and I will have to adjust to their job-related quirks.

I’m talking about things like: the threat of being sent to Mr. David Green’s golf-pro’s office, if we talk when someone is putting; bringing in permission slips from our parents or guardians if we want to drive the golf cart; and understanding that lackluster-play excuses such as ‘the dog ate my golf clubs’ just won’t fly with people who — over the years — have heard every alibi ever concocted from the genius minds of conniving teenagers.

And from what I’ve heard, golf is more intense with this group. Besides Ossont, there are several other WNY football coaches in the mix — Nick Benedetti and Dick Diminuco to name a few. To put it mildly, they’re a strange breed. There’s word going around that if you break a rule of etiquette on the green with this crowd, they’ll throw a penalty flag and assess you an extra 15 yards on your next putt.

Also playing in the league are coaches from other sports. There’s a golf coach whose play — as you would expect — is head above heels over the rest of the crowd; a couple of soccer coaches who have great foot wedges; a swim coach who can hit a ball sitting 4 feet underwater; and an art teacher who draws conclusions about how good his opponents are. There’s also the drama coach who thinks every putt he makes will win the U.S. Open.

And then, there’s Dave and me — the new guys on the block. Dave is a good golfer. But me? Not so much. There’s little doubt these guys will take me to school and teach me a lesson in the process. I’ve just got to stay away from those killer 15-yard penalties.

Finally, on a positive note: I know quite a few of the players in this teachers’ league already, and I’m happy to report ... they’ve all got class.

And, for now, that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at tvalley@rochester.rr.com.