WHEN Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently and prominently tried his hand at golf, he knocked a drive down the middle of the fairway and reacted with relief and joy. He laughed and gave a little bow of satisfaction.
I could relate.
Then he drove two straight balls right into a creek. Splash! Splash!
He first slumped over in frustration and then waved his arms in disgust.
I could relate to that, too.
I actually had to replay a video with snippets of the governor's game because in my memory, he had reacted to the second ball's splashdown like the Tasmanian devil of cartoon fame, spinning in waves of anger.
I would've understood that also.
Golf. It's more frustrating than getting your legislation killed.
The governor was playing a practice round at The Greenbrier Classic, West Virginia's premiere professional sporting event.
Tomblin made his reputation in West Virginia politics by being careful with the state's cash, cutting political deals, and patiently steering bills toward passage.
But in this case, he was in a highly visible foursome, joining Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Greenbrier Sporting Club real estate chief Jim Klemish on a team partnered with Master's winner Bubba Watson.
Oh, and a small crowd including reporters and photographers tagged along.
You can imagine how Tomblin's predecessor, Joe Manchin — the former West Virginia University quarterback, general athletic enthusiast and all-out spotlight lover — would have thrived in this environment.
Joe would have sailed around the course, probably knocking in birdies and adoring the crowd.
West Virginia governors prior to that never had this "opportunity."
How would Gaston Caperton, Cecil Underwood or clogging Bob Wise have fared in an exhibition round at The Greenbrier Classic, which didn't debut until 2010?
Please. Play through.