Meet da boyz. Many groups of friends dub themselves “da boyz”. These, however, are my “da boyz”.
Today, on an unseasonably sunny fall day in Seattle, eight of the da boyz scatter in for tee times at Washington National Golf Club, a Scott Oki course.
Already well-lubricated, the first to arrive are Pete and Steve. Pete’s game is “shock and awe”. His mouth usually never stops making shocking assaults on the rest of us. He’s a consummate trash-talker. At the same time, as a once-competitive amateur golfer, Pete’s game is the bar for everyone else.
Steve comes across as quiet and unassuming, but don’t be fooled. Once aided by alcohol, he can hold his own trash-talking and golfing. A huge sandbagger, his handicap of 14 is a big running joke. Steve’s known as “grumpy” amongst da boyz, but in actuality, he’s the most sensitive. Recently, his brother came out of the closet after 16 years of marriage. On another front, he discovered his 14-year-old daughter has been sneaking out at nights to hang out with friends. “Why not when she’s at least 16,” he complained out loud.
Next are Matt and Patrick. Matt is the “scorekeeper”. He started our Fantasy Football League 15 years ago, and used to run the league on a spreadsheet manually inputting scores. That’s Matt, putting in extra efforts for da boyz. In this round of golf, as he always does, Matt will organize and track all the bets.
Patrick is “captain”. Always happy as long as he’s holding a drink, Patrick plays the least amount of golf but somehow maintains a nice swing. I guess natural athletic ability. Patrick married his high school sweetheart from Butte, Montana. They both have successful careers with no children.
As I drive my golf cart up to them, I get an enthusiastic da boyz welcome: Firm handshakes, pats on the back, and an uncomfortably affectionate hug from Pete. They are happy to see me because I’m “easy money”. Patrick has his martini shaker out offering drinks in front of the starter. No discretion.
I’m especially happy to see Jan. Last time I saw him he was going through chemotherapy, but still managed to come golfing with da boyz. It was pretty inspiring. He looks so much better today. Oh, as fate would have it, his wife also has cancer. Jan only hits with his irons, but still plays from the blue tees with da boyz. Nonetheless, Jan is always competitive and has taken his share of skins.
Riding with Jan is Tim, who has some demons in his head. He knows it. He usually wears sun glasses regardless of the weather to avoid headaches. Although recipient of a lot of abuse from the da boyz, he is another good athlete, and usually takes advantage of the strokes he gets from some of da boyz.
The last to arrive is Pat, the heart and soul of da boyz. Pat’s personality draws people. I think men instinctively gravitate toward leaders with character. For his part, he and his wife, host most of the big events for da boyz. Tonight, after golf, Pat will again be hosting a poker game for da boyz and wives at his house. His wife is a saint. A few years ago, his three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with brain tumor. Even then, he continued to keep his house open to friends and handled the ordeal openly with others. Fortunately, the daughter is now healthy and in school.
The round is five hours of heavy drinking, thrash talking, pranks, wrestling, and some good and bad golf. These are da boyz. Maybe a lot like “your” da boyz. It’s an inner circle of friends providing family support amongst a migrant population coming to Seattle for technical work. Most of da boyz are from Montana and all are successful in the Seattle high-tech industry.
I’m not typical in this group, as the lone Asian and someone with an urban perspective. Yet, for those times together, I’m appreciative to be a part of da boyz.