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Randy Wilson: Here at the 'Rock

Buddy's Method For World Class Success

Posted in Rockbottum Philosophy 28 June 2017 · 126 views

Buddy has always been very successful at whatever he attempts, whether it's business, competitive sports, building cars from scratch or something difficult like golf course operations.  His secret:  If you observe Buddy carefully, it becomes obvious.  Painfully obvious.


"Without persistence, you have no psychic wellspring of strength to combat what life will throw at you."

-- Ben Stein, from Bunkhouse Logic


When Buddy accepted the position of Equipment Manager at Swamp Hell Golf Course in the summer of '92, we formed a team that would last for decades.  Buddy was a brilliant EM, blessed with amazing skills, although his lovely wife Tara insisted he not be allowed access to sharp objects.


I soon learned why, as Buddy could simultaneously impale himself on a deep tine while self-electrocuting, standing in a pool of blood.  Even more disturbing was his ability to provoke folks into trying to kill him.


Buddy really enjoyed practical jokes, something that would come back and bite him later.  Once, Buddy tricked me into holding a pry bar under a reel--for several difficult minutes--before announcing that my efforts were not required, except for his personal entertainment.


I struck back by introducing Buddy to bicycle racing.


In those days, Buddy was a fairly normal human who enjoyed fermented grains, tobacco and several sticks of butter per day.  This made entry-level bike racing seem unattractive, so I lured him into the sport by employing the typical motivational tools, like humiliation, sarcasm and nicknames like "Sissy-pants" and "Sofa Butt".


By '95, Buddy was ready for group rides on the road bike. On his first big ride, he made the classic newbie error of feeling "great" and he enthusiastically jumped off the front of the group on a long hill.  Moments later, as his energy vanished and reality returned, Buddy suffered great shame when the entire group passed him, casting looks of disgust upon Buddy.  The last rider, a large, fairly overweight fellow, shook his head and smirked as he went by.  This one act of condescension completely destabilized Buddy.


The next day at work, Buddy had become obsessed, talking endlessly about the "look" given him by those arrogant cyclists, especially the big fellow.  In his best Scarlet O'Hara, Buddy vowed to never be dropped again.  A few minutes later, Buddy suffered a crippling protruding sternum cramp, probably from riding 30 miles in the road bike position.


With my vast medical experience, I pronounced it the early stages of a heart attack, brought on by tobacco, beer, butter and bike racing.  In his vulnerable state, Buddy was easily convinced and from that day forth, he went full health nut.


Buddy refused to give up.  He was determined to persist.



During this time, my brother Mike and I often organized 60+ mile rides in the North Georgia/Western Carolina mountains, sort of our secret training method for racing.  Buddy decided he was ready for this step, even though we warned him the climbs were sometimes 15 kilometers long with pitches as steep as 12%.  His first big climb had several pros in the group and Mike strongly cautioned Buddy not to try to follow these guys down the descents.  Buddy ignored the warning.


Buddy chased a top pro down a switchback and promptly launched himself off the mountain road.  From a distance, we could see Buddy disappear into some bushes, which broke his fall and also his back wheel.  He scampered back onto the road and remounted his bike, unaware his rear wheel was now more taco-shaped than round.  (I knew when Tara saw that, it would be the end of bike racing for Buddy.)


Yet Buddy persisted.


He entered a road race, and typical of virgin racers, his lungs caught fire, his legs turned to jelly, and one of the race officials yelled, "Hey kid, get off the course, can't you see there's a race going on?"


Buddy accused me of setting him up, but he persisted.  A few road races later, he crashed and destroyed his expensive new aero-bladed Spinergy wheels.  I suggested it was time for this to end, that maybe he should explore some other sport, as he had not demonstrated even one of the necessary skills that roadies possessed:  Climbing, sprinting or time trialing.  Buddy refused to listen to my negative advice and persisted.


Buddy switched to mountain bike racing.  He was a strong XC rider, but he was still getting dropped.  I suggested interval training, specifically the brutal technique known as "Hill Repeats", where one sprints up short hills absolutely wide open and then after a short recovery period . . . does it again.  And again.  New riders typically get two, maybe three repeats in before quitting, but Buddy decided to train with Mike.  (Bad idea.)  Buddy managed to survive eight repeats.  (He might have gotten ten or more, except for the two sausage, egg and cheese biscuits that exploded from his pie hole.)


Mike waited for Buddy to crawl out of the ditch and in his slow drawl, said "Probably shouldn't eat before hill repeats."  Yet still, Buddy persisted.


The following winter, Buddy joined us for a "Wilson Brothers Dirt Road Ride", a training method consisting of 50 mile mountain bike rides on the back roads of central Georgia.  It was always a strenuous ordeal, with hills and creek crossings and farm dog sprints, but traffic was minimal and the strength gains were significant.


It was a cold gray day, low clouds spitting tiny flakes of snow, when we left early on a Saturday morning.  There were 16 of us, including John, my asst. supt., another supt., a Jacobsen salesman and three women bike racers.  Claire and I rode at the back, in case someone had mechanical problems or tried to escape.  Mike led the ride, doing hill repeats that also served to flush out farm dogs in ambush.  I carried extra food, a water filter, repair parts, first aid, fireworks poppers (dog deterrent) pepper spray (pit bull deterrent) and maybe a piece of strategic metal.  (Lunatic deterrent.)


I warned Buddy not to follow Mike on the hill repeats, as it was going to be a long, difficult day and the idea was to conserve strength.  Buddy ignored me and persisted in chasing Mike sprinting up hills.  Over and over again.  At the turnaround point in Meriwether County, alongside the Flint River, Buddy began to show signs of delirium.


Late that afternoon, still an hour from home, the dreaded "BONK" set in, as everyone--except me--was out of food.  All the signs were there:  The refusal to ride, the whining, crying, mumbling about cheeseburgers, and two riders announced they preferred to be left to die in peace.  The women racers, who had depended entirely upon liquid energy drinks were chewing on broomsedge, John was flashing back to Viet Nam and Buddy was stalking a cow while fondling his pocketknife.


I hastily distributed the last of my Fig Newtons, hearing grateful comments like, "That's the best food I ever tasted".  One of the broomsedge nibblers grabbed me and took my last fig cookies.  For some reason, Buddy refused my last Apple Newton, so we all set off on the last leg of what would be forever known as The Great Wilson Brothers Mtn. Bike Death March.


Within a few miles of home, Claire and I came upon Buddy as he struggled to keep up with the group.  He was wobbling and moaning and veering from one side of the road to the other.  Suddenly he rode straight into a ditch at speed, assumed the fetal position and expelled fluids from two, maybe three ports.  He refused our help, so we left him to die.


Not long afterwards, Buddy passed us, waving from the back of a pickup truck.  (A mortal sin in the eyes of fellow Death Marchers.)  When he arrived at his van, Buddy and John threw their bikes in, and without saying goodbye or thanks for the great ride, they drove off at high speed, in search of a restaurant.  They soon barged into a "Sizzler", ordered $40 worth of food apiece and raced to find a booth.


As soon as he sat down, Buddy seized up.  A massive cramp, beginning in the arches of his feet, gripped his entire body from toes to scalp.  He launched from the booth and landed on the floor, screaming like a victim in a slasher movie.  His body was completely rigid, except for the waves of spasms; Buddy contorted as if he were hooked up to a 12 amp battery.  His shrieking failed to disturb the other customers or the staff, so no help arrived.  (The waitress was careful to step over, not on, Buddy.)  John, in true Nam vet form, fell back on his training and concentrated on eating while he had the chance.


Clutching a doggy bag, Buddy was loaded into the back of his van like a corpse in full rigor mortis and driven back to Atlanta, moaning and trembling.  After a long day in cold temps, the heated van put John into a deep sleep, something that frightened the other drivers on I-285.  Aware that John was content to let the van drive home, Buddy persisted in keeping John awake with intermittent screams.


"Let me tell you what those Wilsons did to me . . .


The trauma of the Dirt Road Ride was a turning point for Buddy.  When he recovered, Buddy stormed into my office and loudly proclaimed that no amount of cruel Wilson Brothers mind games could deter him from winning bike races.  He then explained he had been in a bike store when the owner said, "Buddy, I heard what happened.  Let me tell you what those Wilsons did to me . . . and Andy . . . and Jason."


Buddy began to warn others:  "If you go on a Wilson Brothers adventure, see if you can identify the victim.  If you can't . . . it's probably you."


Buddy's persistence soon paid off.  He discovered he was gifted with the human equivalent of a diesel engine.  He was that rare individual who could not only ride 24 hours straight, he could win 24 Hour Mountain Bike Endurance races.  He regularly set course records and was invited to race in the World Championships.


The training regimen for World's was extremely difficult, but Buddy persisted where others quit.  He rode 130 miles a day, lifted weights and then went out on his mountain bike.  Never again the victim of one of our adventures, Buddy placed Third in his age group at the World Championships and in doing so, he taught us all the secret of world class success:  Persist.


Fishin' At Rockbottum

Posted in Rockbottum Philosophy 19 June 2017 · 702 views

It's summertime at Rockbottum CC and that means it's time for us to lighten up.


No more serious punditry, projections, predictions or pedantic posturing.


Just fishin'. 


Rockbottum Radio: 'Bottum Golf

Posted in Rockbottum Philosophy, Storytime 07 June 2017 · 687 views

In this episode of Rockbottum Radio, broadcast live from the Rockbottum Country Club proshop, I explain Momma's newest attempts at Growing the Game: 'Bottum Golf... and Archery Golf, alongside Soccer Golf and Disc Golf. The biggest benefit of 'Bottum Golf? Listen and find out.


In other matters, I ponder whether Snow Moles really exist, or whether it's just more fear-mongering by the scientists from Up North.


Also in this episode, an improved calibration for the Deathmeter: the WSRF Index. "'Cause ball roll don't have nothin' to do with speed, measuring the Won't Stop Rolling Factor makes a lot more sense."


Lastly, in the popular Storytime segment, I'll finally reveal what was really in Mountain Harvey's lunch bag. Check it out.





The Origins of "Momma" Rockbottum

Posted in Storytime 25 May 2017 · 927 views

We are often asked if the character of "Momma" is based on a real person.  The answer is yes.  My grandmother on my father's side was a fearsome woman known throughout Jackson, Tennessee as "Momma Ida", a broom-swinging matriarch who raised ten kids during the depths of the Great Depression.


She did this alone, except for her broom, because her husband fell down dead from stress.  They were sharecroppers in those days and apparently, operating an agricultural facility owned by someone else could be rather stressful.


As a single mother, without the social support structure of today, Momma Ida kept the family intact and busy, picking cotton, growing tomatoes, cow milking, pig slopping, hunting eggs hidden by wily chickens, corn shucking, 'tater digging and snapping beans.


With two girls and eight boys, Momma Ida ruled the course farm with a firm hand, smiting evildoers with "broom whuppins'" for infractions like laziness, lying or gluttony.  (That last one was pretty rare, as there was little to eat.)  The most terrible beatings were meted out for the dark sin of "sewing disharmony within the family".


Growing up, I knew Momma Ida as a gruff, white-haired old woman, fairly stout in her physical construction, but surprisingly quick and agile.  She wasn't terribly scary to us grandkids, but whenever she appeared broom in hand, we always jumped up and followed our parents out of the room.  Wild stories of broom ambushes were often told at family gatherings, but Momma Ida never denied them.


My favorite stories always involved "sewing disharmony", usually some heinous act perpetrated by one sibling upon another.  Here are a few of the best:  Coming in at #3, "I'm gonna spit straight up."


Due to the economics of sharecropping during the Great Depression, at least six of the boys were forced to sleep in the same bed.  Food was scarce and many meals consisted of cornbread, buttermilk and white beans.  This combination nearly always resulted in gastrointestinal imbalances, as the fermentatious triglycerides in white beans contraindicated with whatever buttermilk consisted of and the results were nocturnal methanious sub-audible pressure venting.


I'm gonna spit straight up.


When the previously mentioned sub-audibles had been distributed evenly and sufficiently contained by the various quilts and blankets, the perpetrator would loudly announce his intention to "spit straight up", thus forcing the younger boys to seek shelter within the toxic environment that existed below.  Depending on the potency of the fermentatious triglycerides, the result could range from mere discomfort and disgust, to burning eyes, actual shrieking and abandoning the bed while calling for someone named "Ralph".


Momma Ida would burst in like Slim Pickens in the greatest movie ever made, swinging the broom wildly, hoping to smite a guilty party.  If, by accident, she smote an innocent with collateral broom damage, it was justified by citing previously unpunished evil deeds and she would take her broom back to bed.


#2 was "The Great Pig-Slapping."  My Uncle Whip, a future GCS/Golf Pro, and Norm, my Dad, also a future CGCS/Pro Golfer, were involved in this horrendous event.  Whip's real name was Edsel, but he changed it to Whip for obvious reasons, so as not to be forever associated with the worst car ever made.  Also, Whip was a heroic movie cowboy name and that was a popular career choice among Wilsons.


Dad changed his name as well, from Norman to Norm, owing either to another fellow named Norman with diminished intellectual capacity acquired from close proximity to artillery . . . or perhaps it was the hotel keeper with the butcher knife in Alfred's film.  Anyway, Whip dreamed of being a cowboy film star and knew that he needed equestrian skills to accomplish his goal, but the family had no horses.


Whip solved this by riding a pig.


Whip solved this by riding a pig.  Norman, seeing a grand opportunity for sewing disharmony, violently slapped the pig upon his pig buttocks and off went the squealing pig at great speed, with Whip holding on like a rodeo cowboy.  They continued at great speed until the pig went under the house.


As there was only enough room under the house for a pig, Whip was driven into the siding with great force, possibly damaging his movie star face.  A great wailing erupted from Whip, followed by a great howling from Norman.  Momma Ida arrived on the scene, her broom already unsheathed, and she quickly determined who was at fault.  Initially unable to lay broom upon Norman, she issued a direct order.  "Norman, come here right this minute!"


Now, no farm kid ever fell for that one.  There would need to be a chase, sufficiently exhausting enough to drain the fury from the adult and make the whuppin' survivable.  Norman lived on the run for days, only surrendering after the craving for cornbread and buttermilk became too powerful.


#1:  Turpentining Charley's Horse


At Number One?  "Turpentining Charley's Horse."  Younger brother Charley was also destined to be a film cowboy and he had solved the horse shortage by acquiring an invisible horse.  Charley happily rode his horse everywhere until the dark day Norman captured Charley's horse.  Right in front of Charley, Norman dipped a corncob in turpentine, grabbed Charley's horse by the tail, and vigorously applied the corncob to sensitive horse areas, all while supplying sounds of a horse in great distress.


Charley went insane.  Momma Ida instantly appeared, intent on wreaking vengeance upon Norman with her broom, flailing it about like a two-handed English broadsword.  Wounded, Norman escaped, but for months afterward, he only had to whisper "Charley, I got your horse" while doing his pantomime turpentine application.  Amidst tortured howls of agony from Charley and his horse, Momma Ida decided to end the disharmony by killing Norman.


She switched from broom to frying pan . . . and that's how our Momma Rockbottum came to be.  Oh, and that's also why Dad joined the National Guard at age 14.


The Truth About Bees and Golf Courses

Posted in No Messin' Around Stuff 18 May 2017 · 965 views

All this pollinator hype about golf courses and bees actually comes down to just one thing, but you'll need to watch this film to learn the truth.


Randy Wilson's blog is sponsored by VinylGuard Golf.

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