Monday, November 1, 2010

Chavez & Golf

Bloomberg is reporting that Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has recently made statements on his weekly television show against his country’s golf courses believing that they should be expropriated and used for other purposes stating:

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez
“That’s an injustice -- that someone should have the luxury of having I don’t know how many hectares to play golf and drink whiskey and, next door, there’s misery and children dying when there are landslides.” Then he encouraged his countrymen to: “Look for irregularities, and by that I mean good land that’s been abandoned.”
Obviously, Chavez is looking to appropriate not only the golf courses, but private farmland lying fallow by it owners. That he has made such statements leads me to conclude that El Presidente has never played the game. If he had he would never have made that statement.
His comments reminded me that some years ago, I was having lunch with a couple of nerds; skinny guys, horned rim glasses, alabaster skin, classic nerds right out of Hollywood. I listened as these nerds engaged in conversation, disparaging golf and even baseball as stupid games where you chase a little white ball around and try to hit it with a club. They waxed eloquently for some time against these games while I listened politely, amused with their perspective. Finally, noticing that I was not commenting on the topic, they turned to me and asked: “What do you think?”
“I think,” I said, “that neither of you have ever played the game. Not golf, not even baseball.”
“What makes you say that?” they asked.
“Neither of you have ever played either game,” I repeated. “Have you?”
They looked at each other and then looked at me sheepishly. “How did you know?”
“It was easy,” I replied, “if you had ever played these games you couldn’t sit here and speak so callously against them. If you had ever played golf, for example, you would understand the thrill of dropping a long, arching, miracle putt on a monster green; or hitting the green on a Par Five in two strokes; or the frustration of a wicked slice.”
“If you had ever played baseball you would understand the love of the game: beating out a slow roller to third; or throwing an opposing player out from deep in the hole at short. You would understand the glory of hitting a Home Run, stealing home, or striking out the opposing side with three up, three down."

"If you had every played these games your eyes would shine as you related past moments of glory when your body did exactly as you asked it to, your hand and eye co-ordination perfect, your swing just right, as you executed a part of the game with perfection."

"I pity you both that your childhood was so stunted that you never had the chance to experience the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, the friendship of your teammates, and the competition of sports. Take your kids to the park this Sunday and play ball with them. Don’t let life pass them by as it did you.”
Needless to say, lunch was over.
If El Presidente really cared about the poor and homeless in Venezuela, he would rant less about golf courses and fallow land. He would spend less money on his mistresses, and cut back on his chow. Let’s face it. The man is a pig. He could miss a few meals and donate the money to the poor. He wouldn’t miss the calories, and he could find cheaper Ho's. Just saying.

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