“Clubhouse to, Scott. Do you copy?” asked Shawn, the golf pro.
“Scott here. What’s up Shawn?” Answered Scott Krout, the golf course superintendent.
“I’m looking out the clubhouse window at the fourteenth hole and see work carts, mowers, and tractors parked on the cart path. It looks like all the equipment we own is out there. Is everything alright?”
“Not to worry,” Scott answered. “We’re just making sure everyone leaves the golf course together. We’ll be outta here in a few minutes.”
“Good to hear. I was getting worried.”
Sixty crew members were standing by their equipment along the cart path, anxiously waiting for the fun to begin. Scott gave one of his irrigator’s a red flag and said . . .
“Lupe, I want you to take this red flag ten yards from the edge of the green, and stand there to mark the finish line. James, here’s some red turf paint. Give me a starting line on the fairway about six feet wide.”
Then Scott turned to Nicasio and Francisco as they stood by goading each other and boasting of their speed. “We can’t waste time here, so get up to the starting line and let’s get this over with.”
These two men were here today because they had worn out everybody’s patience, even our Scott’s. Nicasio, a five foot eight, 250 pounds Hispanic had worked at Desert Mountain much longer than Francisco, a five foot five 220 pound Hispanic. We could hear Francisco brag, “I’m such a fast runner I can beat any fat man here.” Disgusted with Francisco’s constant bravado, Nicasio turned toward him and said, “Sit down and give it a rest! I’m bigger than you and there’s no way you can outrun me.”
Now the two of them began needling and challenging each other. Every day Francisco and Nicasio could be heard amid the cacophony of sound in our maintenance building’s lunchroom. Sixty dirty, sweaty men tried to prepare and eat their lunch in half an hour. English and Spanish chatter mixed with the whining of microwaves and the clank of Coke cans dropping out of the vending machine. Weeks went by and Francisco’s boastful refrain wore on all of us, but our rebuttals and needling didn’t faze him.
Almost everyone told them they were annoying and should just race and get it over with. But, it seemed they enjoyed the banter more.
That’s where Scott came in. He had heard enough as well, and ordered the whole crew to meet on the fourteenth hole of the Cochise golf course before lunch. So, here we were looking out on the fairway preparing to watch their quest for glory.
“Okay you two,” Scott said. “Side by side, toe that red line. When I drop this flag run to the green where the red flag is. First one there is the fastest man. Both men nodded their head as they toed the red line, tossed their work helmets to the ground, hitched up their pants and crouched in a stance for their takeoff.
“Ready. Set. GO!” Scott yelled, dropping the flag to start the race.
Nicasio and Francisco’s feet pounded the ground like two hippopotamuses. Slowly gaining speed as we all cheered for our favorite. It looked like a dead heat when like a NASCAR driver, Francisco threw a shoulder into Nicasio shoving him off line, causing him to stumble before regaining his balance. Once he recovered, Nicasio pulled up alongside Francisco and slammed him with his shoulder, sending Francisco off to his right, flailing with his arms trying to maintain his balance.
They looked ridiculous. This wasn’t the race we expected to see. It had turned into a bumper car spectacle. There were more of us booing than cheering now.
Huffing and puffing, almost exhausted, they were only half way to the finish line. It didn’t look like either one would make it.
The men were shoulder to shoulder again, shoving each other with their hands, banging with their shoulders. Nicasio won that battle when Francisco fell to the ground.
While Francisco lay exhausted, Nicasio thundered on toward the finish line. He turned to the line of spectators waving his arms over his head declaring victory. This caused him to trip and fall to the ground. He rose to his hands and knees panting heavily. Only forty yards from the finish line he put a foot under him and started to stand. His leg collapsed and he did a belly flop.
Still lying on the ground, Francisco was holding his belly laughing at Nicasio. And, though his chest was heaving and struggling for air, Nicasio looked back and laughed at Francisco. Scott wasn’t laughing. He stepped between them and shouted, “Ok, we just proved that neither one of you can run. You’ve had your day, so put it to bed. I don’t want to hear any more. Got it?”