Travel Triumph: A rare sporting success in Scotland

Last week, a game played at a friend’s baby shower prompted speculation at the Shamblin household about which traits would be best (or worst) for our future offspring to acquire from which parent. Here’s what we decided:

From me: teeth, eyesight, patience, bladder and even though he might not openly agree with it, I’m going to throw in sense of direction because I think deep down, Andy has to know mine is better.

From Andy: athleticism, skin, sense of humor, immune system (recent cancer stuff aside, the man is unhumanly healthy even when faced with contaminated water, sub-par food preparation and all the other sketchy things we face while traveling).

From neither: hair. It’s not that I hope he or she is bald, I’m just hoping they inherit some awesome hair gene from some long lost relative.

At first, Andy wasn’t sold on the athleticism thing. Then I reminded him he was talking to me.

In school, I was the girl who got A’s in every subject but barely pulled out a C in gym class, who was picked last for everything and who begged the gym teacher to just let me run the track, even in the rain or sleet or snow, instead of having to play basketball. In one ill-fated attempt to have more in common with my friends, I even joined the JV softball team for one week my junior year and to this day, that remains one of the worst, most self-loathing, shameful weeks of my life. I played one game. I batted once. I struck out. I WAS SUCH A LOSER!

But you say high school sucked for everyone and surely this has improved with age, maturity of peers and personal growth? I say no.

Even now, the thought of playing a role in any team’s success or failure makes me want to cry, vomit or move far, far away. Don’t believe me? About five years ago, I played slosh-ball with some friends. (Guess whose idea that wasn’t.) Slosh-ball is just like kick-ball but there’s a keg and copious amounts of beer-drinking. Sounds fun, right? It isn’t. While everyone else was running around kicking balls and drinking beer I was in my own private hell.

Slosh ball in Portland.

Here I am, fake smile and all, feeling like a non-athletic loser.

I don’t like feeling like a loser. After that day I vowed to never participate in a team sport again. After all, no condescending gym teachers can hold a bad grade over my head now and none of my friends are having totally kick-ass, most-fun-bus-rides-ever on the way home from out-of-town high school softball games that I’m missing out on.

Holy cow, that was a rant. You’re probably wondering what this post is all about. It’s about Scotland. Did you not catch that? How did you not catch that?

Okay, more specifically, this post is about a sport we enjoyed in Ayr, Scotland. Yep, demons were ice-skating in hell that day. Ayr is an adorable little town in Scotland that’s slated to be the subject in this week’s Friday’s Five Favorite Things and the sport we played was miniature golf.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

No one has ever felt like a loser while playing miniature golf. I mean, sometimes sympathetic husbands even let you cheat a little.

We spent one day in Ayr and it was a gorgeous one. It was one of those wonderful travel days where time slows down and you’re able to fit everything into your day. And, since we figured you can’t all the way to Scotland, where the modern golf game originated, and not play some of their signature sport, we said, “Why not?” After all, golf isn’t usually a team sport and even if I totally screwed my whole game up, I would only be letting myself down. That, I can deal with.

First, since we were the only ones on the course, we did a little photo shoot.

Golfing in Ayr, Scotland.

And so we posed like we were going to be on the cover of a golf magazine.

And because my camera was on the burst setting, we also got this one.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

Which I didn’t know about until later when I was going through the pictures. I promise, despite what this looks like, my husband does not hit me with golf clubs.

After our photo shoot, we got down to playing.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

And Andy’s ball got dangerously close to this water feature.

I played too.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

And of course, my ball ended up in the bunker. Total number of team mates who my bad shot bummed out = just me.

We kept score.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

I probably didn’t win.

Then I noticed the statue that you can see in the above picture of Andy and, like I always do, I wanted to get a picture with it.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland

And the picture with the statue was a success. I win!

Then I saw another statue that was also begging to be a prop.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

I win again!

Afterward, a sign thanked us for our business – or something like that. We could barely understand Scottish people when they talked to us so it follows that things written might seem a little off as well.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

No, thank you. I think.

On this day, playing this sport I didn’t feel like a loser at all. Maybe it was because no one was telling me it would be fun and making me play, I was just having fun on my own. When you’re a kid, people are always trying to get you to do all sorts of things. You have to eat your lima beans, you have to learn algebra, you have to take your turn batting in gym class. But, as an adult, when it comes to the little things, you just don’t have to do stuff you don’t want to. I think that’s key to getting a little more enjoyment out of life. That, and skipping lima beans.

So someday when Andy and I churn out some babies, I suppose it won’t really matter what traits they inherit because we’ll probably think they’re the pretty awesome regardless. If they need glasses when they’re eight like Andy did, then they’ll probably look pretty cute, just like he does in old photos. If they have more than their fair share of skin imperfections in their teens 20s 30s whole-life-so-far like I did do, then I’ll be there to offer sympathy and a good dermatologist. And if the thought of team sports reduces them to tears, so what? Maybe they’ll like take up ballet, track or miniature golf. Everything else doesn’t really matter as long as they learn how to enjoy life.

That being said, I’m still hoping they inherit my bladder though because good grief is Andy’s tiny bladder annoying.

Headed to Ayr? Check out the course details here.

Miniature golf in Ayr, Scotland.

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6 responses to “Travel Triumph: A rare sporting success in Scotland

  1. I’m with you on the sports thing. Also, I have not eaten a single lima bean since I moved away from home at the age of 18. Not one. Cockroaches, yes. Other grubs, yes. Camels milk, yes. But lima beans? Never again, lol.

    • I have never eaten a cockroach, but I must admit, it’s probably better than lima beans. Totally with you on that.

  2. I love this blog! It made me laugh out loud. Lima beans never bothered me, but I definitely haven’t eaten venison meatloaf since I turned 18

  3. Ditto the athleticism thing. I was the kid that ran the wrong way around the bases in t-ball. We knew, early on, that I would not be an athlete. At all. Ever.

  4. Pingback: Travel (blog) Fail: Lots of beginnings without any endings | See Jules Travel·

  5. Pingback: Friday’s Five Favorite Things: Ayr, Scotland edition |·

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