Encountering the Bear

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Encountering the Bear

Roy M. Barineau, Ph.D.

Saturday evening, November 19, 2011, I went to the Florida State football game at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles were playing the Virginia Cavaliers, a game that did not turn out well for my Seminoles. Pedro’s wife has skybox tickets, and she and Pedro invted me to join them.  A skybox invitation is nearly the only way to get me to a football game these days.

At halftime, I went to the men’s room, stood at a urinal, and accomplished my goal. As I was zipping up and turning around, an unmistakable expression from the urinal next to me met my eyes. It was a look I have seen countless times on television and in pictures. It was the look of a golfer assessing the line of a putt or staring at a shot. It was, in fact, the look of Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear.

I am glad I did not know Mr. Nicklaus was next to me until after I had completed my task. Otherwise, I may have whizzed all over him in excitement.

Having immediately recognized “the look,” I said, with surprise and delight, “Mr. Nicklaus, how are you, sir?” By the time we had exchanged pleasantries, we had both washed our hands. He was nice enough to extend his hand, and we shook. He asked my name, and I told him who I was and about a little connection I had with the Nicklaus family. He was very gracious, and we chatted about our connection as we walked back to our boxes. His skybox, as it happened, was next door to the one in which I was located.

It was one of those experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life and one of those experiences that he may have immediately forgotten. I have had the privilege of shaking the hands of Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer (thanks to an introduction from Bert Yancey), and, now, Jack Nicklaus. I am looking for you next, Tiger!

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

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