A big week in the villages: Golf, bowling, pickle ball and even a parade

As we have done for the past decade, my buddies and I made our way to The Villages in Florida for the primary purpose of playing golf. We were also going to visit a couple of friends who live in the area though they no longer golf.

It is always a good time when we make this trip if for no other reason than we get to escape the cold weather here at home. If you look out the window, you’l know what I mean.

Our first order of business as we arrived on Sunday afternoon was to stop at Tom Hoffman’ house. Rod Dell and Sam Huff stopped by and we caught up on everyone’ fortunes as we ate lunch. Golf could wait a day. For those of you who know these three gentlemen, I can report that all are doing well!

We checked into our hotel later in the day before walking down to the square at Spanish Springs. A few drinks, a little supper and listening to the band play while the folks danced completed our first day.

There are so many athletic endeavors to choose from if you live in The Villages. One of them is pickle ball. On Monday morning it is the first sound you hear as you exit your room. A court is located right next to our hotel and the sound of the paddle hitting the plastic ball is familiar. These folks are up early playing the game which is a miniature version of tennis.

As we headed to our first golf course everyone was wondering how things were going to go since we hadn’ played in a few months. I can honestly say that everyone seemed to be in midseason form. Do not construe that to mean we played well. Everyone’ midseason form is different!

We would play golf on five days during our stay with courses such as Eagle Ridge, Summerglen, The Links at Spruce Creek and Arlington Ridge were our destinations. Due to our age, we take off a day during the middle of the week to rest up. My younger readers should quit laughing as you will be our age some day.

Since we had a couple of newcomers this year we took them on a tour of The Villages on our “ff”day. The Villages is ever expanding and you will find as many golf carts on the roads as you will automobiles. That is partly because it’ the main form of transportation and also because there are so many golf courses located within the premises.

Interestingly enough, golf is not the main participant sport in The Villages. That honor goes to bowling and we made our way down to Spanish Springs Lanes Thursday evening. There I was able to meet up with Missy and Sean Klug once again. I have written about Missy’ bowling exploits in the past including the night when I watched her shoot an 802 series that included a perfect game.

On this night she opened with a 245. I went to the other end of the house where Sean had a chance to top that score, but an open in the tenth left him at 235. Missy was bowling with a woman who converted two splits in a row and when I complimented her on the shots I found out it was Missy’ mom. She left shortly thereafter to go check on her husband who was on a five bagger a few lanes away. It’ safe to say they’e a talented bowling family!

In addition to golf and bowling, one can play softball, pitch horseshoes and participate in shuffleboard. You can make quilts, play mahjong, do water aerobics and of course dance in the town squares every night. What I’e noticed in my many visits to The Villages is that the athletic competitions are civil. Though each participant tries their best, winning is not the ultimate goal. Just playing a game at their advanced ages is a win in and of itself.

When we finished our last day of golf it was time to head back to the hotel to pack up. Before we could reach our destination, the traffic became backed up. We had read about the event in the papers earlier in the week and had forgotten. It seems a parade was about to start and who doesn’ like a parade!

This parade was made up of golf carts. The participants billed themselves as Villagers for Trump and the theme of the parade was Build the Wall. All of the carts had posters showing a wall and messages that were not very nice concerning Chuck and Nancy. It was impossible to ignore the demographics of the cart occupants.

Houses are not cheap in The Villages so these people are “ell to do”and since you must be 55 to live there the participants were an “lder”group. Finally it was an all-white crowd. The parade was at best thought provoking and at worst a little disturbing.

Not everyone supported the parade participants however. We noticed one golf cart going in the opposite direction with an Impeach Trump poster in his window.

That’ enough politics for a sports column. Perhaps we can turn this situation into an athletic competition. We’l pit the Impeach cart against the Wall cart in a race from one town square to another. I’ not sure who the winner will be, but I’ willing to bet it will be less civil than a typical Village athletic contest!

Al Stephenson is a columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune

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