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Column: Going home with dirt in my ears

Two of my favorite pastimes in junior high school were daydreaming and golfing.

Sometimes, I would daydream about golfing. It was the best of both worlds because I was far better in my head than on the course.

During my ninth-grade year, I attended East Junior High School and was a member of the high school golf team. To say the school was old would be an understatement, but it had some amazing windows and views of large trees that had most likely been planted when the building first opened as a high school.

While during the winter months, I often daydream, in the spring of my freshman year, I would stare out the window from when I got to school to keep an eye on the wind. I’m sure a lot of people probably think their hometown is windy, but I’m pretty sure Rock Springs, Wyoming, has to be up there with the windiest places on planet Earth.

It would always be calm during the first few periods of the day, and by lunch, I would get excited because the trees would not move.

I should have known there was nothing to get excited about.

About 10 minutes before the bell to signal the end of the day, the wind started with a calm breeze. By the time one of our parents drove us out “north” to the golf course, the wind was blowing about 40 miles an hour, shaking the car. The moment we grabbed our clubs out of the trunk, the wind got worse.

If it were a day we didn’t have practice, there would be no wind, but it was horrific if we had a tournament or a practice. About twice a week, I would come home with my face covered and my ears full of dirt that had hit me as I was trying to play.

When I moved from Wyoming nine years ago, I was hopeful I could escape the wind, but that was not the case.

There can be some pretty gnarly wind in southwest Montana, and that certainly was the case last Tuesday when I went to pick up the newspaper from the printer in Helena.

Over the years, I’ve run into nasty wind, especially on Interstate 80 between Rawlins and Laramie. The wind I drove in last week, especially outside of Boulder on Interstate 90, had me as scared as I’ve ever been of the wind.

At one point, it felt like I was going through a dryer at an automatic car wash, but at about 60 to 70 miles per hour. The car felt like it was shaking and, at any point, was going to tip over. At one point, I got nailed by the largest gust of wind I encountered while driving and ended up spending a few seconds on the shoulder of the road.

While crazy drivers often pass me in inclement conditions, nobody was in a hurry on this windy day.

When I hit construction on Interstate 15, things got a bit worse. I occasionally run a few errands in Helena, but I just wanted to get the paper and get back on the road.

I probably got a solid one mile per gallon on the trip, and I was so excited when I got home. It felt like I had just spent 10 hours driving on a sheet of ice.

As soon as I sat down at the computer after decompressing for a few minutes, I remembered that the Three Forks High School golfing team was playing in the Divisional Tournament in the same nasty wind.

I felt horrible for them. It reminded me of all the times staring at those darn trees.

While the wind is certainly not ideal for golf and makes it quite a challenge, especially when it’s an important tournament, there are sure a lot worse things than being out on the course. I’d much rather golf in the wind than drive in it.

I’m going to watch the forecast before the next time I decide to play, but it won’t do me any good. The day I play will start calm, and the car will shake when I head out to the course.

Hopefully I can manage not to come home with dirt in my ears.

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