My adopted soldier found a driver in Afghanistan. I assumed that meant “chauffeur.” Nope, he meant golf club. Of course. So I figured I’d send him some golf balls. Then I saw how expensive they were. I revised my plan to be: I think I’ll ask everyone I know to give me some used golf balls.
I went to the usual suspects and got a small pile. But I wanted more. I wanted to fill a box and have them spill out in his brick hut when he opened it. Sort of an interactive care package.
I know a guy…
As luck would have it, I shared this plan with my friend Tina. Tina knew of a guy who would dive for lost balls in a golf course lake, clean them and then sell them out of the trunk of his car on a certain street in Staten Island. Of course.
Tina graciously handled the deal and commuted in with a LOT of golf balls. I filled a few flat-rate boxes. Then I had the problem of carrying these heavy boxes to the post office. Once again, it was Tina to the rescue (thanks T!)
Balls in the zone
All the balls made it to the combat zone. My soldier opened the boxes (no, they didn’t spill) and ran to get the biggest golf lovers in the unit. Picture three guys, eyes wide, very happy. They went to the roof of their brick hut to create a driving range. However, I did not think to send a golf TEE. I’m not very sporty. No problem. Our soldiers are resourceful. They used a shell casing.
Yes I know the picture is cut off. As always, I edit for privacy and OPSEC/PERSEC (Operational Security and Personal Security) guidelines.
Shagging (UK readers, this is not what you think)
The soldiers hit the balls off the roof and had a great time doing it. There were not a lot of entertainment options at this remote mountain base. Then something surprising happened the next day. Some Afghan children came to the FOB with their shirts held out and filled with golf balls. They had shagged the balls and wanted to sell them back to the soldiers.
A price was agreed upon. The children were paid in cash or brass shell casings. Children would often collect the casings because they were worth .50 each in the local economy.
The soldiers hit them off the roof again. Again the kids shagged the balls and sold them back. This went on until his unit pulled out. He left the driver and the balls for next unit.
You don’t realize what you did
I was just happy that I helped a few guys have a little fun. When I shared this story with another soldier he said,
“You don’t realize what you did. We’re not welcome here. You gave them a positive way to interact with the community. The kids are the lookouts when the bad guys are planting IEDs. Getting the kids on your side is huge. You probably saved lives”
Okay, I don’t think I saved lives. But maybe I helped a few of those positive interactions with the kids. Reduced a little stress for the soldiers. And that officially makes this my best (and only) golf game ever.
© Gina left the mall, 2012