Learning on the links

Published 9:10 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I was trying to ignore the latest Michael Vick news. Up until Tuesday morning, I was trying to find another topic for my weekly column.

I stopped trying after walking down the eighth fairway at the Country Club of Petersburg during the Virginia State Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship. I stopped trying when the three golfers I was watching, Ben Hunter of Suffolk, Preston Leigh of Suffolk and Robert Zehnder Jr. of McLean, started debating which NFL team would sign Vick.

I’m sure a franchise will take the risk. A team can probably sign Vick fairly cheaply, and if it doesn’t work, the team will cut him. All in all though, I believe Vick’s done his time and therefore has the same opportunity again to make a living however that may come.

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While it’s still relevant though, Vick doesn’t have a right to play professional football. It could be that no NFL team offers Vick a tryout. No NFL team is going to offer me, a scrawny, 160-pound guy with a 7.1-second 40-yard dash, a tryout.

If all 30 NFL teams decide the risk and craziness Vick would bring to their businesses outweigh Vick’s athletic ability, then both Vick and I will have the same right, although for different reasons, to wonder why no NFL team came calling.

Vick is eligible to play in the NFL again, which is not the same thing as saying he “deserves” to play in the NFL again, for whatever reason an owner or general manager might decide.

I took something else away from the golf course today. It wasn’t “how to add 20 yards to my drive,” or “how to avoid three-putts.” All of young players in Petersburg certainly could help me with those problems, but I’d need a lot more help than what I could get in four hours, and that’s my problem not theirs.

I’ve been fortunate to walk around with and watch many of the state’s best golfers in action during the past couple summers. They hit good shots and bad shots. After the bad shots though, they regroup and begin thinking about the next shot almost immediately.

Sure, there’s emotion and reactions, both positive and negative. On a rare occasion, an unfortunate word might be expressed. One poor or unlucky shot doesn’t carry over, though, with the golfers who are good enough to be in the State Amateur or the State Junior Amateur.

Finally, about Vick again, and I won’t say which member of the threesome said which team, but there was one who said the Raiders, one for the Chargers and one for the Dolphins. My idle thought is the Patriots will sign him.