If I get a chance to play some golf on a local course this weekend--or the next week given what the forecast looks like for the next ten days--I will not feel the least bit guilty about it. I won't feel bad for sturgeon spearers that can't get out to their shanties or Battle on Bago folks stuck on the shore. My thoughts won't be with the Ski-Plane Fly-in with no ski-planes. There will be no empathy for snowmobilers, skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers having to pack their winter toys in storage. You know why? Because those folks had their days in the past.
I remember the brutal winters we had to deal with here in the Midwest back in the 1970's and '80's. There were years we celebrated highs in the 20's at this time of year like they were the first sign of spring. Brewers fans can remember season and home openers snowed out at old County Stadium. A couple of years in high school we had to shovel off our baseball field just so we could get a game in--in April--after spending the entire pre-season practicing in the gym. And many a Masters were watched with snow still on the ground here--and golf courses weeks away from even starting to prepare to open.
Those were the "glory days" for winter sports. When ice fishing lasted into the spring. When snowmobilers had snow covered fields and trails from Halloween until Easter. And when kids actually had enough time to grow tired of the sleds or inner tubes they got for Christmas. But now, it is the "glory days" for those of us who enjoy being outdoors--and not having to dress like we are attempting to scale Mount Everest.
One thing I will keep in mind on the links here in February is that the weather is cyclical. As hard as it would have been to believe high temperatures could reach the fifties during the winters of my youth, it's not that hard to imagine record low temperatures for these same dates coming back. I will celebrate every stroke taken without cold-weather gloves on--or a stocking cap. I will soak in the warmth of the sun on my face knowing that many more gloomy days are on the horizon. I won't get frustrated by errant shots or putts that bobble and miss the hole--because HELLO, I'll be playing golf in February in Wisconsin!!