Mini-golf as a contact sport

03:55, Sep 11 2012

"We're not playing tiddlywinks here, mate..." - Tana Umaga to referee.

In our case we were not playing tiddlywinks either. It was much worse than that. It was mini-golf.

It is a simple fact that I am not very good at mini-golf. The Silver Fox, however, being blessed with the "sporting gene", excels at anything sportslike. He even beats me at Scrabble. Indeed, the last two years have been an exercise in me learning how to lose if not gracefully, at least without pouting too much.

Despite the fact that he always wins, I do actually enjoy mini-golf and it's become a tradition when we go away for a weekend to play a round. Because let's face it, in a lot of tourist towns there's not much else to do once you've taken some photos (Alpine scenery! Lambs!) looked around the souvenir shop (Paua things! Possum Fur nipple warmers!) and had lunch (Pie! Chips!).

And so it was that on Sunday during our second attempt at a weekend in Hanmer (you may recall that the first Hanmer weekend ended with a corneal ulcer and a stressful drive back to Christchurch for urgent medical treatment), we played a round of mini-golf.

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It went well to start with. The Silver Fox was beating me by only a modest margin even despite his hole-in-one on the fifth hole (this being the first of two he would score that day - but I'm not bitter or anything). At the seventh hole I overcooked my shot and ended up with my ball sitting precariously close to a dip in the edging of the "green". It was only a millimetre or two from going off course into a bed of riverstones. Moreover I'd managed to hit the Silver Fox's ball in the process, which meant they were sitting quite close to each other.

I was so focused on the awkward position of our golf balls that I wasn't paying attention to the upper part of my body. Specifically the upper part of my body in relation to the themed set dressing of the course we were playing on. The course was full of rustic wooden structures, reminiscent of a gold mine, including an unfortunately placed fake gold mining sluice or chute that jutted out precisely at forehead level by the seventh hole. Naturally I walked straight into it, taking the full force of the collision at my left temple.

I'm going to be honest, I did cry a little bit. Mostly out of disgust at how stupid I'd been. I mean, who gets injured playing mini-golf?

Nevertheless I played on with a hot lump developing on my forehead and was only beaten by 8 points, which is practically winning by my standards. We got some lunch, took some more pictures of lambs and headed home.

This would be my second trip back from Hanmer this year and I had paracetemol on board for both of them. Sigh. Hand tip. The contoured shape of a Coke bottle fits nicely on the forehead and feels oh-so cool. I recommend this as a makeshift icepack during roadtrips.

Since then the Silver Fox has been diligently checking me for signs of concussion (since he has experience in this area) and I've been torturing myself with "is that a headache? Drink some water. Is that still a headache or am I just thinking too hard about having a headache?" which is almost as fun a game as mini-golf.

What's the stupidest "sports" injury you've ever received and has anyone else hurt themselves playing mini-golf or am I just special that way?

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