Life in Lockdown: Indoor trick shots

by Patrick Kidd

Illustration by Jacqueline Holloway, Design Editor

Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the mass-eviction of students from USKAR, I have lived solely within the confines of my home in Pietermaritzburg.

It has been over ten days since my last contact with the outside world and as a social being, this period of isolation is causing me a large degree of distress. I love my family, but there’s a limit to how much of their faces I can stand to see every day.

Every morning (or afternoon) when I arise, I am faced with a single question that is growing ever harder to answer as the days go by.

How I am supposed to entertain myself for the next 14 hours of hellish existence?

On one especially dull day of isolation, I made the decision that attempting indoor golf trick shots would be a fun way to spend my time. In hindsight, it was not fun, but actually one of the most gruelling ordeals of my entire life.

Shot after shot, attempt after attempt, the ball just would not go where I wanted it to. Albert Einstein described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. If that’s the case, then keep your distance (you should be, anyway) because I might just be the most insane person on the planet.

The planned trick shot would involve me grabbing my grandfather’s old pitching wedge and teeing up at the far end of my bedroom. I would then chip the ball across the room and over my bed. The ball would then bounce back off the wall opposite me and land in a water-filled mug on my carpeted floor.

Now, to a seasoned golfer or trick shot enthusiast, this would be nothing more than a warm-up. But to a golfing novice with a deteriorating musculoskeletal system, attempting this shot may have taken five years off my lifespan.

Hunching over and hitting golf balls for hours on end did no wonders for my spinal column and I have been feeling the repercussions since.

So, with my phone propped up against my wall filming and my old Now that’s what I call music! CD blaring through my speakers, I set off on my impossible mission. One dire effort at a time.

The whole experience was tedious. From balls mishits to tantrums to the nearest of misses, I have never felt more emotionally unhinged.

The first half an hour was made up primarily of me failing to lift the ball off the ground at all. As a result, I spent most of my time reaching under my bed to recapture these balls that had gone astray. This period of time drained me of all confidence and hope, but I continued nonetheless because I obviously enjoy torturing myself.

I started to catch my rhythm during the next hour of indoor golfing. I had a few very close misses and was routinely getting accurate lift on my chips. I was in the zone, every shot felt like “the one”, but it was all to no avail. As the last song on my CD finished, I deemed it time for a dinner break. The sustenance would hopefully instil in me a fiery vigour and aptitude.

It turns out that eating a bowl of undercooked pasta has a spontaneous and extraordinary effect on one’s higher neural functioning. Within minutes of devouring my supper, I was back in my bedroom and ready to commence a final session of repetitive golf-ball-hitting. I popped in a new CD, grabbed my club and crouched into my war stance.

After the first two post-dinner attempts, I knew something remarkable was happening. My backswing was effortless, and the ball was floating through the air seamlessly. Two songs into the CD and around 50 shots later, I finally struck gold.

Coming off the club, I knew this shot was the one. The little white sphere sailed magnificently through the air, bounced powerfully back off the wall and rolled lightly off the edge of my bed before landing perfectly in my dad‘s coffee mug on the floor. I was ecstatic.

A wave of euphoria overcame me as I struggled to deal with the emotion of the situation. My brain was dealing with the elation of victory, the resentment of the challenge and perplexity of what had just happened. When my racing mind finally came to rest, I let out a joyous cry of victory which I’m certain broke sound barriers.

I exited my room a triumphant man. Strutting from family member to family member preaching news of my conquest, an enormous grin on my face the whole time.

The ecstasy of success almost made the ordeal worth my time, but the extended torture and misery of near misses and repetitive failure overpowered the short-lasting jubilation of triumph.

Needless to say, I won’t be doing bedroom trick shots again.

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