Top Golf and a tough teenage topic

Column by Micael Alcorn
Posted 9/17/19

Sticky notes. Mechanical pencils. Urinal cakes. The snooze button. Have you ever thought about some of the simple things that make life immeasurably easier and better? Like the sticky note — before …

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Top Golf and a tough teenage topic

Posted

Sticky notes. Mechanical pencils. Urinal cakes. The snooze button.

Have you ever thought about some of the simple things that make life immeasurably easier and better? Like the sticky note — before those came along, what did people do to leave positive messages to themselves or their family on the mirror in the morning? Write in lipstick? Savages.

And, for the insight of putting tiny pieces of paper together with bits of re-usable glue, surely the inventor of the sticky note is in retirement on a beach front somewhere, putting notes in bottles and tossing them into the sea with howls of ironic laughter. A well-earned retreat into oblivion.

Well, dangit, somebody else beat me to another of these simple inventions. Actually, it’s not simple, and isn’t an every day sort of innovation, but it’s insightful, and it’s brilliant, and I’m sure the person who thought of it is sitting on a beach somewhere, counting their residuals, and laughing at their ability to take advantage of peoples’ addictions.

That’s right. I am talking about Top Golf, of course.

What madman would invent a place where people will go, with their friends and family, and pay to hit a golf ball around? And, even more brilliant, there’s no putting involved. No scoring involved. No five-hour commitments in the heat and sun. No walking and searching and knowing the arcane rules of a game that — not coincidentally — was invented in the same century as Scotch whiskey.

Golf is supposed to be miserable … and I absolutely love the game. It’s supposed to be frustrating and confusing — golf is a test of character. And then, right when every golfer is ready to toss their clubs in the lake so they can be reunited with the golf balls you just put in there, it gives you one, glorious, awesome shot. So that you come back next week.

Top Golf is none of those things. It’s easy, it’s climate-controlled, it’s comfortable. There’s wait staff that bring you food and drink. It’s … it’s … fun. It’s like bowling, but with a better foundational activity.

Not real golf. But absolutely brilliant. And the new one is open up in Thornton. Go enjoy.

My son’s middle school social studies class watched a video this week about 9/11. And not just the anodyne version we’re all starting to get used to — this video showed the buildings collapsing, showed the people walking out of lower Manhattan in shock and covered in dust, showed the people jumping out of the towers to their deaths rather than wait for the fire to reach them.

I sort of understand the impulse that some would impose on all of us to hide from our children — and by “children” I mean anybody younger than 15 or older than 15 without the intestinal fortitude to deal with difficult realities — the difficult realities of the world that were brought to our shores on 9/11. But I think they’re wrong. I’ve always thought they were wrong. And, no, it is not racist to point out who did this and where they came from and what motivated them. It is reality.

But, more importantly, I think we need to trust our children and not surround their poor little psyches in bubble wrap. And here’s how I know: that video spawned a 45-minute conversation in our living room about good and evil, religion, geopolitics, World War II, America’s place in the world, and asymmetrical warfare, even reaching back to the American Revolution. It was a GREAT conversation! And if anything stuck with my son, I certainly hope it was that the world is complicated, that nothing happens in a vacuum, and that events from 50 years ago do still have an effect on our lives today.

And all that, from one social studies teacher trusting their students with reality.

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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