The Weekend That Was: Golf Blowouts, Chicken Fights, and Funeral Crashing

In honor of Father’s Day, a quick story: My mom called last weekend to tell me a fascinating story about my stepfather. He’s a retired teacher living in upstate New York, and, judging by his recent behavior, he’s more than a little bored.

He was at home browsing the newspaper last week when he came across the obituary of a man named Victor who had lived about 40 miles south. He and Victor shared the same last name, and my stepfather suspected it might be his deceased grandfather’s brother. (My initial reaction: My stepfather is north of 60, so how old was this guy? 130?) Mind you, he didn’t know for sure. It was a vague, unconfirmed memory of a first name, and he’d never met the man or anybody else from that side of the family.

Now, imagine yourself in that situation. Assuming you didn’t just move on to the sports page like a normal person, and assuming curiosity got the better of you, would you:

A. Check out the names of the person’s surviving relatives and look them up in the white pages.

B. Call the funeral home to find family contact information.

C. Call up the family members you DO know and see if you can trace it that way.

D. Dig out your best suit from the closet and head down to the funeral unannounced.

As you can probably guess, he chose “D”, which is absolutely incredible to me. What’s your opening line at the church in that situation? “Hi there … sorry about your loss. Is anybody here really into genealogy?”

If someone approached me with that pretense at a funeral, I’d automatically suspect it was a pervert who preyed on the grieving or someone trying to get free food. And I’m not sure which is more offensive.

But somehow, things went smoother for him. As insane as the idea was, it turned out he really had found a forgotten side of the family, and they welcomed him with open arms and invited him to — no joke — a “family-tree party.” He dragged my mother along on Saturday, and everyone loved him.

So, good for my stepfather, who I’ll now be using as inspiration for a screenplay called “Funeral Crashers.” It’s a heartbreaking tale of lonely souls who seek companionship through other people’s deaths, and will star Crispin Glover as every character (especially the cadavers).

The weekend in sports was less eventful than any family-tree party I can imagine, and included far fewer pistol duels:

  • Rory McIlroy’s blazing play at the U.S. Open earned the 22-year-old his first major victory Sunday. After his collapse in the final round at the Masters earlier this year, the win is a bit of redemption for McIlroy, and proves he has the mettle to excel under pressure. “Good for him,” said a disheveled Greg Norman, sipping a beer at his Australia home, surrounded by decayed newspapers and half-empty milk cartons. “That’s really, really super.”
  • In international soccer, the U.S. beat Jamaica 2-0 to reach the Gold Cup semifinals. The Gold Cup is a regional competition between countries from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, featuring elite teams such as the United States, Mexico, the U.S., Estados Unidos Mexicanos, the Americans, and the Mexicans. The semifinal matches will take place Wednesday night, with the winners advancing to face either America or Mexico.
  • Bad luck struck the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday as Albert Pujols sprained his wrist when a Royals player ran into him at first base. The extent of the damage won’t be known until an MRI is performed, but St. Louis mayor Francis G. Slay has already ordered troops to begin the long march across Missouri in case it’s a broken wrist. Kansas City mayor Sly James had no comment, but, judging by his first name, is presumably up to one of his old tricks.
  • After the surprise resignation of Edwin Rodriguez, the Florida Marlins are set to introduce Jack McKeon as the team’s interim manager. McKeon, who is 80 years old, told reporters he has three main goals: play disciplined baseball, make the playoffs, and finally take down that son of a bitch Connie Mack.
  • The New York Yankees beat the Cubs 10-4 Sunday night to win the first series between the teams since 2003. After the game, A-Rod asked if anybody wanted to go play in the ivy on the outfield wall at Wrigley Field. When teammates asked if he was serious, A-Rod’s voice dropped to a whisper. “No,” he said. “I guess I’m not.”
  • Florida, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and South Carolina each won its opening game in the 2011 College World Series. Virginia coach Brian O’Connor called his team’s victory bittersweet. “On one hand, it’s great news for our championship dream,” he said. “On the other, now we’re stuck in Omaha for the whole week.” As he spoke, a tumbleweed rolled by and a weather-beaten old man pushed a creaky corn vending cart past a general store while a group of local children played marbles in the dirt.
  • The Red Sox routed the Brewers 12-2 Sunday, but received some bad news when starting pitcher Clay Buchholz was placed on the DL with a lower back strain. A Red Sox source said he suffered the injury in a hotel pool while carrying David Ortiz on his back during a “chicken fight” match he eventually lost to Zack Greinke and Prince Fielder.
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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere