The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat


David Fong Contributing columnist


Dayton native and Olympic hurdler Edwin Moses once went undefeated for nearly a decade, winning 122 races in a row between Sept. 2, 1977, and June 4, 1987.

The Oklahoma Sooner football team won 47 games in a row between 1953 and 1957.

The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won 111 games between 2014 and 2017.

Squash world champion (no, seriously, that’s a thing) Jahangir Khan had the greatest winning streak in all of sports, winning 555-straight matches between 1981 and 1986.

But a funny thing happened to all of those incredible winning streaks.

Danny Harris happened. The Notre Dame football team happened. The Mississippi State women’s basketball team happened. Even Ross Norman happened to Khan.

In other words, every single one of those winning streaks — impressive as they were — eventually came to an end. With rare exceptions — Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather (for now, anyway) being the most notable — every great winning streak in the world of sports eventually comes to an end.

Even for me.

Granted, I have never been and most certainly will never be mistaken for a great athlete.

I am, however, a pretty decent miniature golf player. And when it comes to my miniature golf battles against my wife, I am pretty much unbeatable.

Or so I thought.

In the 19 years my wife and I have known one another, we’ve played a lot of putt putt golf in our lives. In fact, the third date we ever had (after the movies and Chuck E. Cheese) was as a miniature golf course. Since we had only been dating a few weeks at that point, I gave serious thought to letting her win. Halfway through, however, my ultra-competitive nature kicked in and I ended up winning handily.

That would basically kick off a 19-year winning streak that probably saw me defeat my wife dozens of times without a single loss. I just sort of came to the conclusion I would never lose to her. I must admit, I grew more and more smug as the winning streak continued to grow, absolutely sure there was nothing she could ever do to beat me.

In other words, I was falling right into her trap.

Last week, we took the family on a week-long vacation to Myrtle Beach. It truly was the perfect vacation as we had sun, we had surf, and we had sand (which I would find out a lot about later). In addition to all of those things, we also appeared to be in the Mecca of miniature golf, with more than a two dozen courses from which to choose.

Since our kids share our love of putt putt, we figured it would be the perfect family activity our first night there. It would end up marking the beginning of the end for me. Before we started, my wife suggested we make a little wager on the upcoming match.

I thought this was funny, as I couldn’t possibly conceive why she’d want to wager on something she had no chance of winning. But hey, I was always up for a guaranteed win. Since we have a joint bank account, it never makes sense for us to bet money against one another. Usually when we gamble against one another, we wager silly things like chores.

This time, we decided to bet a little public humiliation. Since we were at the beach, we agreed the loser would spend the next day buried in the sand at the beach, completely covered from neck to ankle, with only their head and feet sticking out each end.

I thought this was hilarious, and looked forward to the idea of her buried in the sand, struggling to break free. I smiled as I grabbed my putter, anxiously awaiting my 18-hole coronation.

It turned out she would have the last laugh. My wife played the absolute best game of putt putt golf she’s ever played in her life. She played every ball perfectly, sinking every putt she needed to sink. I was able to keep it close, but in the end, she came out with a one-stroke victory.

The streak was over. I’m pretty sure I had been hustled. And I was about to spend the next day buried in the sand

The next day, I followed through on my end of the bet. I trudged off to the beach, knowing what humiliating fate awaited me. She dug hole deep in the sand and I climbed in. As per our agreement, my head was sticking out one end and my feet out the other. She then piled wet sand on top of me to the point where I literally was trapped. A mound of sand nearly two feet high kept me from moving at all. I wasn’t going anywhere.

And that’s when the gloating began.

My wife began to remind me — and the many amused onlookers on the beach — how I had gotten myself in that position. She heckled me. She made fun of me. She had way more fun at my expense that was necessary, in my opinion. I, of course, was a captive audience (literally) for all of this. She walked over and tweaked my nose and tickled my toes. Naturally, she also took photos and video of me buried in the sand, all of which have since gone viral on my social media pages.

The sand itself wasn’t so bad. It was actually sort of warm and comforting. Being turned into a public spectacle as my wife continued to gloat and mock my lack of golf skills — in addition to her superior golf skills — was by far the worst part. The fact that complete strangers stopped to revel in it, cheer her on, and take pictures of their own only made it that much worse.

It was, for the 20 or so minutes I was buried, the most publicly humiliating moment of my life. Which, of course, made it all the more enjoyable for her.

Such is the thrill of victory, I suppose … and, in my case, the agony of defeat.

David Fong writes for the Troy Daily News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Contact him at dfong@aimmediamidwest.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong.

David Fong Contributing columnist
http://thewellingtonenterprise.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/07/web1_FONG_201502.jpgDavid Fong Contributing columnist