Mark Richards


Tuesday, March 30, 2004

My First Round of Golf

About four years ago, I went out to play 18 holes of golf with my college friend Justin. I had never really played before: no clubs, no lessons, no prior experience. I was pretty bad...obviously. So when one of my co-workers invited me to play a round of golf with him this past weekend, needless to say, I was rather nervous. Would this time be different? I had taken a couple of lessons and would that prove to be the difference between a successful outing and unsuccessful one? It is difficult to say, but I believe things turned out well.

From what I have heard, a score of 100 is the score for the average golfer. I shot a 120 on my first "real" time out on a golf course: 62 on the front 9 and 58 on the back 9. The guys I played with have been playing for over a year and said that I did an incredible job for my first time since they only shot a 115 and 118. I will take their word for it. I really struggled around the green though and could have made better shots, but that will all come with time.

My proudest moment of the day came on the third shot of a par 3 hole. I shanked my second shot and thought I lost the ball in the creek. To my surprise the ball landed on a small ledge above the creek, but below the course level and in some very thick grass. Showing no beginners fear whatsoever, I grabbed my 9 iron and chipped the ball out about 80 yards to within 15 feet of the cup and a putt for par! It was really cool to make a shot like that under such poor circumstances. But then it was time to putt. How did that end up? It depends on what point of view you take. The ball stopped on the edge of the cup about half an inch from dropping for par! It was so exciting.

Thus far, I am enjoying playing golf even more than I expected. I have got that "bug" now and I do not think it is going to go away any time soon.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

More Hits

And the "hits" (air quotes) just keep on coming...

  • We lost our softball game on Tuesday 17-13. Not that bad considering we made about ten fielding errors, did not hit the ball well, and had umps that were a combined 200 years old. These umps were ridiculous though. The ump in the field looked like Santa: red jacket, white facial hair, green neck warmer, about 80 years old. The ump behind certainly was not any better: 90 years old, blind as a bat, barely movable limbs. This guy was so blind he was asking the catcher if the pitch was a ball or strike. We stood no chance.

  • Last night, some jackass hit my front bumper..again. It was in a parking lot....again. My car was not moving....again. I am pissed off...again.

  • I told a co-worker that I would go play a round of golf with him this Sunday morning. I can barely hit the ball with my driver. I think I am in trouble.
  • Monday, March 22, 2004

    Weekend Hits

    On Friday I made my first purchase at the iTunes Music Store. I made two initial purchases: Maroon 5, "This Love", and Chingy, "Holidae In". I would have to say that my iTunes experience was an excellent one for a bunch of reasons. Finding the songs I wanted was simple, the downloads took mere seconds, and purchase process was quick and painless. All this for only $0.99 a song. You really cannot go wrong with all of that.

    I will definitely be making a return trip.

    Friday, March 19, 2004

    Morning Air

    Since it is less than two weeks before I go to Vegas, I started my crash diet and over-exercising (not that I have not done this in the past). To accomplish this, I am going to be lifting weights in the morning and running in the afternoon. I went to work out this morning before 7AM and it was incredible outside. I never get the chance to walk around outside in the morning. The air was fresh and crisp...I found it to be very relaxing. It sucks that this work thing gets in the way of my ability and desire to experience the world.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    Interview with an Anonymous Pro Baseball Player

    In recent months, the news (especially ESPN) has been packed with debate over steroids and their use in Major League Baseball. I found an article on this morning interviewing an anonymous pro baseball player and his thoughts on steroids, the current MLB drug policy, and what he believes will happen with this situation.

    I found the article to be quite insiteful and I happen to agree with the majority of the player's views. In no way, shape, or form should players who test positive for steroids be let off the hook. Aside from the fact that the users are corrupting the game of baseball and hurting the livelihood of others by getting an unfair advantage, STEROIDS ARE ILLEGAL!!! Has everyone forgot about this? This does not only go for steroid use though. What about marijuana? Cocaine? All these drugs are illegal and if anybody in this country gets caught possessing or using them, there are stiff legal penalties such as possible jail time. MLB's first-time offense slap on the wrist does not work for me. Now I am not saying that banning them for life or handing them over to the proper authorities so that they can be locked up for a long time is the way to go, but the punishment needs to be swift and stiff. What many people looking at this situation from the outside forget is that while you are enhancing your performance, another person or team's performance is degraded. People lose both money and jobs in this scenario.

    I would love to pose a few questions to the steroid users. How does it feel to be taking food off of other people's table? Do you enjoy endangering the welfare of a man's family? Are you proud that you were only able to succeed by cheating?

    I hope these cheaters are enjoying their big houses and fancy cars because it is definitely at the expense of another man.

    Two In a Row

    That makes it two in a row for Team Bad Guy. With a 18-9 victory over the guys from ReMax, we were able to exact some revenge against the team that handed us our second worst victory ever (21-3) in the first game of our first season. Man does it feel good to have a 2-0 record after two games. Let's hope that we can keep the streak rolling.

    Monday, March 15, 2004

    It's My Birthday

    Thanks to everyone who emailed or instant messaged me Happy Birthday wishes. Woo hoo! 25 baby!

    Thursday, March 11, 2004

    The Week of Firsts Continues

    This week sure has been a week of firsts: first golf lesson, first time I let a friend cut my hair, first softball game. And last night was possibly the culmination of my week of firsts because I took my first yoga class.

    A couple of weeks ago, Sarah and I went to a charity date auction. Our friend Sean was set to be auctioned off and we decided to bid on him. To our surprise we actually won. We did not expect to win and had no idea what to do with him. Then it finally came to us. Sean is pretty big into yoga and we thought it would be cool to give it a try and go with a pro since we had a pro at our disposal, the plan seemed to be perfect. How little did I know.

    When the idea first came to us, I was like "Yeah, that's cool. How hard could it be?" But once I sat down and started thinking about it, I became relatively nervous. Actually, I was more nervous than I had been in a while. So last night we met up with Sean at Yoga Samadhi which is his yoga location of choice. When we got there something changed though. I went from nervous to terrified. I was totally freaking out that I would look like a total idiot and not be able to do any of the poses and that people would laugh at my inability and my inflexibility. Thankfully, most of my fears were unwarranted.

    The yoga experienced turned out to be different than I expected. I am not sure what I expected exactly, but I would have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Yes there were some moves that I had trouble performing and my lack of flexibility did hinder me at points, but overall I was able to get the full experience. The class came in three parts: a warm up, a workout, and a cool down. While the workout part was definitely a physical challenge and great exercise, what I will remember from the class is the relaxation that I experienced. For over an hour, you are told to take big deep inhalations and make big exhalations which are extremely relaxing and take your mind away from the stress of the exercises. The last twenty minutes involved lying on your back, clearing your mind, and taking deep breathes. I can honestly say that I do not think that I was ever that relaxed without actually being asleep. It felt as if my body was asleep and my mind was at peace, but I was consciously not sleeping. Totally weird! I loved it! It is very difficult to explain the feeling. One would have to experience it.

    I really enjoyed my yoga experience and I believe I will have to try it again because I am very sore today, yet I was very relaxed last night. I am going to have to give yoga two thumbs up. Thanks Sean!

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004

    Opening Day Victory!

    Last night was "Opening Day" for Team Bad Guy. After a .500 season last year, we took the field looking to build upon our now solid foundation. It was not the prettiest game ever, but we came out on top winning 20-16. We has some difficulty adjusting to the strong winds, key players not at the game, and the addition of new players to the roster, but our 17 run second inning helped to ease the pain. It will be very difficult to look back and judge our team based on this one game due to the abnormal conditions, but it certainly does not hurt starting off the season with a win.

    As far as personal stats go, I was 3 for 3 with a walk, 1 RBI, and 2 runs excellent way to start the season. During the pre-season scrimmages, my batting left something to be desired. I was only getting a few swings a game and was not able to correct some of the issues I was having. After speaking with my father and Handsome Brian about what possible changes to make, I made a few adjustments and in turn my results improved.

    Go Team Bad Guy!

    Monday, March 08, 2004

    My First Golf Lesson

    Sarah and I took our first golf lesson yesterday afternoon. We focused on the basics, the grip, stance, and swing, and did not get into too much detail. What we learned proved to be invaluable though. I was able to achieve instant improvement by making only a few minor adjustments. Sarah showed improvement as well. By the end of our session, she was consistently hitting the ball in the air and a decent distance. I was actually quite impressed.

    The plan, as it stands, is to hit the range twice a week and then have another lesson on Sunday. This should allow us to get the swings in that we need to practice our new techniques. I cannot wait to get back out there and hit some more balls and see how much more we can improve.

    Friday, March 05, 2004

    I Could Have Passed

    At least I do not have a degree from UGA.

    Thursday, March 04, 2004

    First Golfing of the Year

    Since the weather has been incredible the past couple of days, I thought yesterday would be a great day to hit the driving range for the first time this year. Sarah and I went together and hit a hundred balls or so. What we learned about our golfing skills was that we absolutely suck. My parents gave us a gift certificate for golf lessons for the holidays, so on our way out we scheduled our first lesson for Sunday. Doing so allowed me to forget about how terrible I hit the ball over the last hour and look ahead to my probable improvement. I am very excited that I will finally be getting some much needed instruction this weekend. I am going to ask for only one thing: that my girlfriend does not get too much better than me.

    Wednesday, March 03, 2004

    Day Off

    I think I need a day off after my day off yesterday. Isn't that how it always is?