First, a few words about the Winter Olympics, and in particular events such as bobsled, luge and skeleton.

Bobsled has been a part of the winter games for a very long time, while, skeleton, first contested in 1928, was not in part of the games from 1948 until 2002. Luge is the relative newcomer, only having been introduced into Olympic competition in 1964.

Fun to watch on television, the speeds at which they run and the spectacular crashes that on occasion occur sometimes elicit the exclamation, “Who in the world ever decided it was a good idea to do that?”

Anyone who wonders about the origin of luge, skeleton or bobsled clearly never owned a large cardboard box. Wright’s Drugstore at the corner of 33rd and Avenue R in Galveston was the source of mine. Cherry phosphates were had for a nickel. Mr. Wright himself would sometimes unlock the wooden gate behind which lay a pile of boxes, and he would allow us to take a few.

We made them into race cars, space ships and fortresses. The names luge and bobsled had little meaning; a skeleton was something we really didn’t want to have much to do with, since we already had to deal with the monsters who reportedly lived in the oleander bushes that lined the sidewalk between the drugstore and our front door. Lucky for us, they only came out at night.

Anyway, we had no mountains, so we used the front steps as a bumpy substitute. There were to my recollection no serious injuries.

But this is a golf column, and while concussions, contusions, bumps and bruises are generally not the first thing that comes to mind at its mention, it is not without risk.


Mark Davis is a former intercollegiate and NHL hockey player who has a sort of hate-hate relationship with golf. A discussion about some lower back discomfort on my part led to some questions on his part and quickly to a mutual decision that a particular exercise I was doing to aid my golf swing was actually just causing me pain.

Bad backs among golfers are potentially career ending. And like concussions in the NFL, they seem to be more a part of conversation than ever, despite the fact that today’s PGA Tour golfers are collectively and without question, the most physically fit the Tour has ever seen.

Julius Boros was Freddie Couples before Freddie was Freddie. But for Couples, the syrupy swing has not kept away back pain. Boros, who looked like he would be more comfortable in a fishing hat, never seemed to have back ailments.

Conversely, Bubba Watson swings with a violently unorthodox move (actually, a variety of moves) that would seem to invite back issues. He has been quoted as stating a belief that his back is spared because of his strange moves. Daly has gripped it and ripped it; his back is apparently without damage, but it has really taken a toll on his belly!

Rory McIlroy bulked up and subsequently suffered rib issues. Tiger Woods, obsessed with Navy SEAL and other extreme military training, transformed his body, increased his strength and, perhaps not coincidentally, developed back problems requiring to date four surgeries.

If you are having back problems, Google the story of Walmart employee Gordon Warlick. You might find some useful information about how to go about resolving your back issues; also, you might find interesting information regarding health care in general.


There was no sign of injury among recent winners in locally contested weekly scrambles.

At Beacon Lakes, Paul Darcy, Bill Pritchard, Ron Beasley, Mike Ripley and Charles Devries went low (61) for a two-stroke win over Charlie Morse, Keith Fuller, Gary Beaver, Paul Brown and Abel Guajardo in the Tuesday senior event.

At Bayou Golf Club, the Wednesday senior scramble was won by Marc Napier, Mickey Lane, Penney Perez and badge buddy Charles Totty. Their 63 edged badge buddy Randy Burrows, John Duree, Marcus Perez and Charlie Surber by a shot.

Karl Huckaby (low net) and Chris Caldwell (low gross) were winners in last Thursday’s cash game at Moody Gardens. Huckaby, Scott Sanders, Edgar Cortez and badge buddy Richard Gonzales won the team competition.


Ball High Tors golfers have soldiered on in spite of recently yucky weather. In last week’s Boys Varsity Fall Classic at Moody Gardens Golf Course, the host Tors struggled to a seventh place finish out of 11 schools.

Katy Tompkins won the event, followed by Santa Fe and Clear Falls. Dickinson Gator Dylan Henderson tied for medalist, with Santa Fe Indians Eric Grady and Bailey Link one shot back. Also among the top 10 individual scorers were Ball High’s Micah Hanning and Clear Falls golfer Curan Petterson.

Be safe, on and off the course.

Editor’s note: See more from this column in the online version at

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