Golf Gazette: Another failed attempt at retirement

03/08/2014 7:00 AM |
Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton hosted the U.S. Women's Open this past weekend. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, where the U.S. Women’s Open was played last summer. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)

Back in December, as I was roaming around the house looking for something to do, my better half said, “You remind me of Brett Favre.”

“Huh?” I chirped.

“You remind me of Brett Favre,” she repeated. 

Let me see here, no Super Bowl ring on my hand and I don’t exactly fill out a pair of Wranglers the way Mr. Favre does in the commercials he appears in for the blue jeans company. “So my dear, just how is it that I remind you of Brett Favre?” I asked.

She answered, “You both retired more than once from something you loved.”

Score one for Mrs. D.

Former National Football League quarterback Brett Favre did, in fact, retire a few times from playing professional football and the game he loved. One can certainly understand why Favre would want to hang it up after the constant pounding an NFL quarterback takes week after week, but what’s the deal with your golf guy?

Yes, I have retired more than once as the golf writer for this newspaper. My duties as a golf columnist were not quite as punishing as being beaten up by a 300-pound lineman. My working conditions were great and the people I worked with were fantastic. I loved every minute. So then, why did I call it quits on two different occasions? I’ll do my best to explain.

The first time I took a hike was back in 2007, the year after my mom, an English teacher, passed away. She was my biggest fan and also my biggest critic when it came to my writing. She would point out things she didn’t like in every column I wrote. Her never-ending “suggestions” tested my patience. But, truth be told, I knew she was making me a better writer with her gentle and wise critiques.

After she passed away in September 2006, my heart was just not in it. My always up-front and honest reviewer was no longer there for me. Time to leave. After taking a year off and missing the golf beat, I resurfaced.

So, that brings us to summer, 2013. Why did I decide to pack it in a second time?

That’s a good question. I knew my wife, Jean, would be retiring in a few months so I thought it might be a good idea to go down the primrose path of retirement together. Nice try. Got anything better? How about this? I had been questioning my writing.

Having written the “Golf Gazette” for over 10 years, I wondered if my writing had gone stale? Were there any stories left for me to write about? Yeah, maybe it would be best to get out while the getting was good. So I handed in resignation No. 2.

I must admit, during the first few weeks of not writing my column I felt a bit relieved. I would have the Golf Channel on but didn’t have to pay attention. And I didn’t have to watch the weekly PGA tour event if I didn’t want to. I could forget about reading golf magazines and instead tackle some good books. Yes indeedy, I had made a good decision and would be just fine in retirement … or so I thought.

After a few months I felt my brain getting spongy. Well, even more spongy. One can only play Scrabble so many times a day on their Kindle.

As a writer I had always kept a notepad next to my bed so when something popped into my head at 3 o’clock in the morning I could jot it down. My notepad remained bedside après retirement. However, the November entries on my pad looked like this: “Buy wine,” “Rake leaves,” “Wash car”; “Buy wine.”

When I was out and about folks would come up to me and say they missed seeing my column in the paper. And the clincher that I heard more than once was, “I don’t know anything about golf, but I enjoyed reading your column.”

Earth to Dempsey, you have missed something you have loved doing for many years. What were you thinking?

OK, so now what? Do I dare ask the honchos at the helm if I might return for yet another go-around?

Well, here I am, ready for Round 3 and it’s good to be back … again.

News flash! A North Fork golf course has new owners with big and exciting plans in store. Check for details in the next “Golf Gazette.”

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