Masters Week in Augusta, GA, is an amazing and exciting experience. Many local businesses and proprietors make the bulk of their year’s profits in one week as the electricity and mystique of golf’s greatest and most prestigious tournament bleeds through the community.
Founded by the late, great Bobby Jones and built on 365 acres of prime property, Augusta National Golf Club is the Mecca for hackers and whackers from around the globe. From scratch golfers to weekend warriors, hordes flock each year to pay homage to golf’s greatest weekend event.
During the 2007/2008 season, while playing for the Augusta Lynx of the ECHL, I had the privilege of experiencing The Masters and all of its wonderment. Living on the backside of the course in a gated community on Berckman’s Road came with a lot of perks. I got to brag to all my golf buddies back home about where I was living and I even got to lace a few drives into the sacred grasses of the pristine course. As much as I’d like to leave out the full details, I have to admit that the inconsistent golf shots came from my backyard and over the fence of Augusta National’s property during the off-season and not from within the hallowed grounds. No one outside of golf professionals and the exclusive membership list and their guests, is allowed to play the immaculate course.
During Masters Week, parking became somewhat of a circus around the city of Augusta. People, along with renting out their houses, would sell parking space on their property. It wasn’t uncommon to drive along any given Augusta street and see cars packed on lawns and backyards. Homeowners, with wads of cash in hand, were selling parking space for $35 a day.
The gated community in which we lived was operated by a local property management company. The community was maintained by the company, and during Masters Week, the company would sell parking space to pad its bank account. In order to not disturb the tenants of the community, the company gave each resident an orange pylon and a set of rules for parking during Masters Week. The pylon was to be placed in our specified tenant parking spot when we were away from home to show Masters patrons that the spot was reserved for residents and off limits. Simple enough, right?
As the week progressed and droves began to flood the city for the event, parking became scarce. Amidst panic, people began to get creative. Cars could be found on the sides of hills and in any open space they could find where there wasn’t a “No Parking” sign. Once these spots were filled, creativity quickly turned to ignorance and all civility went out the window.
Every day, we would practice from 9 to 10 a.m. and would be away from our houses from 8 to 11 a.m. Like good little soldiers, we would follow the rules and place our pylon in the middle of our resident parking spot. When we returned home, it was like flipping a coin to see whether someone had ignored the pylon and parked in your spot.
Now everyone has had, at one time or another, someone park in their spot before. Quite often, it was just a matter of walking into the building and having the person come out and move their vehicle. The problem in this situation was that the parking culprit was amidst tens of thousands of people on a ranging golf course.
You would literally have to wait possibly seven or eight hours for the person to return to their car. Eventually, my teammates and I were fed up with the ignorance. We had tried to complain to the property management company to no avail. We tried to have a car towed once and were basically laughed at. The time had come when we had to take matters into our own hands if we wanted to get results, or at least get even. For us hockey players, being natural born pranksters, the task at hand was going to be both satisfying and downright fun.
The next day, we returned home from practice and the reserved parking space of one of my team-mates,
“Ricky”, was violated by a red Ford Expedition.
It was on!
Ricky called us over and we decided it would be a perfect day to clean out his fridge. It had been quite some time since Ricky had done so and I am certain there were some new scientific discoveries being harvested behind the one-month-past-due milk. Since we didn’t want to waste a garbage bag, what better home for the repugnant food waste than our new-found friend, Mr. Red Ford Expedition.
We had a blast smashing rotten eggs, green oranges and furry vegetables on the hood and roof of the Expedition. The smeared peanut butter and Cheez Whiz was the perfect complement to the deep red exterior, and the rotten milk trickled elegantly into the vents.
An hour later, another teammate, “Larry”, returned home from grocery shopping to find his pylon smashed beneath a black BMW.
After tiring ourselves out with the Expedition, we decided to take a simpler approach to revenge in this case. It was a nice, sunny day, so we decided to park Larry’s truck behind the BMW, blocking his retreat, and enjoy a few ice cold beers in the nice warm sun. After about three hours, the owner of the BMW emerged from the course, ready to retrieve his vehicle.
After assessing the situation, the BMW owner barked out: “Some idiot parked behind me! Do you guys know whose truck this is?”
Larry calmly replied: “That’s my truck and you’re the idiot who parked in my spot.”
Bobby BMW retorted: “There was no cone there so it’s a free spot”, to which Larry stated: “Actually, the cone is smashed under your front left tire.”
Embarrassed but not ready to either apologize or admit fault, Bobby BMW barked: “Well move your truck so I can get out.”
At this request, we all erupted in laughter. I chimed in: “Hey Larry, you better not get behind the wheel. I think you’ve had a few too many. Can anyone else move Larry’s truck for this douchebag?”
My roommate, “Chucky”, jumped in: “I’ve had too many, Jamer, what about you, Steamer? Can you move the truck for this dipshit?”
This continued on, until the guy threw a hissy fit and tried calling a tow truck but was met with the same conclusion we had reached earlier. Next up, he called the police, who were much too busy with other issues to deal with a petty parking squabble. Eventually, we just moved the truck because we were tired of listening to the jackass moan and complain.
He must have found out the number for the property management company and complained, because after that incident, we didn’t have any trouble with people parking in our spots. The company didn’t dare say a word to us because we represented the bulk of the community’s inhabitants and we had already lodged complaints about the parking mess up to that point.
Never mess with hockey players. Our vigilante justice knows no boundaries.