CHRIS AND THE UNC

OF ALL MY TEN NEPHEWS, CHRIS SEEMED THE LEAST LIKELY TO EXCEL IN SPORTS, PARTICULARLY IF YOU SAW HIM AROUND THE AGE OF SEVEN. HE HAD A JELLY BELLLY, A HUGE APPETITE, AND A GREAT PERSONALITY. IN THOSE DAYS HE COULD BE FOUND WANDERING AROUND OUR NEW HAMPSHIRE HOME, CARRYING A “SORRY “ GAME BOARD, CHALLENGING ANYONE AND EVERYONE TO A GAME ( WHICH HE USUALLY WOULD WIN). Even then chris had a ferocious desire to win, whatever the game might be.

BY THE TIME CHRIS REACHED AGE NINE I DECIDED TO TAKE HIM UP TO OUR GOLF DRIVING RANGE TO HIT A BUCKET OF BALLS. ONE BUCKET TURNED INTO THREE AND THE BOY QUICKLY GRASPED THE CONCEPT OF KEEPING HIS HEAD DOWN AND SWINGING EASY. OF ALL THE KIDS I TAUGHT TO PLAY GOLF, CHRIS WAS THE MOST NATURAL WITH A SWEET SWING THAT WAS THE ENVY OF ALL.

I ALSO TAUGHT HIS COUSINS,M JOHN AND ZACK, TO PLAY AS WELL, BUT NEITHER HAD THE SWING AND DETERMINATION THAT CHRIS HAD. NONETHELESS I FORGED AHEAD WITH AN IDEA THAT HAD BEEN MARINATING IN MY HEAD FOR AWHILE….THE CONCEPT OF THE UNCLE OPEN WAS HATCHED.

THE UNCLE OPEN WAS A TWO DAY EVENT THAT I HOSTED FOR THE THREE NEPHEWS IN THE SUMMER AT OUR VACATION HOME IN GRANTHAM, NH AND THE VERY CHALLENGING EASTMAN GOLF LINKS.

THE FIRST NIGHT WAS ALWAYS A GRAND FEAST FOLLOWED BY A POOL SHOOTING IN THE CELLAR AND A SOX GAME. NEXT DAY, UP TO THE LINKS FOR 18 HOLES OF GOLF AND ANOTHER FEAST. CHRIS COULD STILL EAT MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE, BUT HE HAD LOST THE BABY FAT AND HAD GROWN INTO A MAN’S BODY AT AGE TWELVE. CHRIS WAS LEAGUES AHEAD OF THE COUSINS IN GOLF, AND ME TOO….JUST ABOUT.

WE ALWAYS PLAYED A GAME CALLED WOLF. NO PARTNERS, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF. TEN CENTS A HOLE. CHRIS CLEANED US OUT, BUT GOOD. ON THE 16TH HOLE, A TOUGH PAR FIVE, CHRIS LANDED ON THE GREEN IN TWO AND SUNK A 10 FOOT PUTT FOR AN EAGLE. AT THAT VERY MOMENT I KNEW FOR SURE THAT CHRIS WAS ON HIS WAY TO A GOLFING CAREER.

BUT ALONG CAME HOCKEY AND HIS SCHOLARSHIP TO GOVERNOR DUMMER ACADEMYT IN THE 9TH GRADE. I WAS SO PROUD OF CHRIS AND HIS STANDOUT YEARS AT GDA. I LOVED THAT CAMPUS, PARTICULARLY IN THE FALL AND THE COLUMBUS FOOTBALL GAME. IN ADDITION TO HOCKEY, CHRIS MADE THE VARSITY FOOTBALL TEAM, PLAYING FULLBACK ON A TEAM THAT WON THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP IN HIS SENIOR YEAR.

NOW HERE HE IS AT ASSUMPTION COLLEGE, ELECTED CAPTAIN OF THE HOCKEY TEAM AND MAKING HIS UNCLE BURST WITH PRIDE. I RECALL THE LAST GAME OF THE YEAR, WHEN CHRIS HANDED A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS TO HIS MOTHER ON THE ICE BEFORE THE GAME WHERE HE WAS SINGLED OUT FOR HIS EXCELLENT CAREER. THAT’S ME CHEERING LIKE A FOOL FOR CHRIS WHO SCORED TWO GOALS THAT NIGHT.

CHRIS AND I CONTINUED TO PLAY GOLF WHENEVER WE HAD A CHANCE. HIS POST-COLLEGE JOB AT A LUMBER COMPANY ALLOWED HIM TO PLAY IN COMPANY SPONSERED TOURNAMENTS WITH CLIENTS WHILE I WAS GREEN WITH ENVY. HERE HE IS AT AGE 24 SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD AND A FUTURE THAT WAS LIMITLESS. IF ONLY HE COULD KEEP FROM FALLING OFF.

IF I WERE A CARTOONIST I WOULD DEPICT CHRIS SITTING ON TOP OF A GLOBE, HOLDING A GOLF CLUB, SKATES AND HOCKEY STICK IN MOTHBALLS, WITH A CAPTION….”HEY UNC, WHEN IS OUR TEE TIME”?

JDC/2017 JOHN DUDLEY CARVER- CHRISTOPHER JOHN GENOVESE’S FAVORITE UNCLE