We had a change of command this week, and things have been a little hectic in the battalion as a result.
The outgoing CO (commanding officer) loves golf. While he is a truly committed Catholic, his other church (his Saturday and pretty much any other day he can get away with going church) is the golf course. As his chaplain, it was my responsibility to support his religious practices; and I was only all too willing to facilitate this need.
While many books have been written about golf as an almost Zen religious experience with nature, I tried to understand my CO’s practices in Jewish terms. If the majority of golfers are like the old chassidim who would talk to the trees or otherwise commune with nature, my old CO embraces golf like a yekke approaches prayer - early, in the same location, never deviating from the set path, finished before lunch on Saturday.
I once asked him why he goes to Taiyo Golf Club – a club that is 20 minutes away from his home and a course that is notorious for eating golf balls and destroying the aspirations of young aspiring golfers, instead of the spacious beautiful Kadena Golf Course that is on his base?
Lesson to aspiring chaplains: When a person finds the right place of worship, don’t pester them about where they like to pray. Just let them be.
I figured that maybe it’s the Marine in the old CO that would not allow him to appreciate beauty that might have emanated from an Air Force installation. Until earlier today, I had never played golf at Kadena. CO was right, Kadena sucks.
There’s a old military truism:
When the Marine Corps gets money to build a base,
never mind – Marine Corps never gets money.
When the Navy gets money to build a base,
they build a protected port and ask for more to build ships.
When the Army gets money to build a base,
they build strong protected forts and ask for more to build higher end protections.
When the Air Force gets money to build a base,
they build a golf course and ask for more to build a runway.
I only wish they could build a better golf course. And that’s all I have to say about that.