Would you ever guess that there would be anything similar between going to comic con and going out to play a round of golf? On one hand you have a citywide celebration of geekery, with comic and sci-fi icons signing pictures and a flood of citizens of geekdom overtaking a convention center. On the other hand, you have an outdoor sport traditionally played in a country club environment - calm, quiet and finishing with a drink and a cigar at the clubhouse. Go ahead, try to come up with some similarities. I'll wait.
So what did you come up with? Nothing? I suppose that's fair. You may find it easier to build a fire with two sticks and pure rage than to succeed in this ridiculous exercise. But after witnessing what I did at my last round of 18 at the local golf course, I sat down on my couch and drew one parallel.
And I'll get to it in a second. First let me address what I know what some of you may be thinking. Those who know me personally know I'm a pretty massive geek. Massive of course both in the sense that I am not only a large man, but also can sit through a Marvel movie marathon for over 15 hours and thoroughly enjoy myself, regardless of the risk of potential muscle atrophy or heart attack from the sheer volume of popcorn consumed. So golf? Really? Well kids, it can't be all pure geekery 24/7 (don't panic!). I mean we all have to have to do other things. Having a day job for one, even if it exists for the sole purpose of supporting our geeky habits. Granted mine is one where I'm paid to run computer nerd operations for my company, but still, while it may not be directly obvious to some, a well-rounded geek serves him or herself way more than one who doesn't know anything other than geek culture. I try to play golf whenever I can. I handle business like a damn professional. And I roll a barbarian in Diablo III. The majority of my world is based in reality. How else could I go by my tagline of tech boss by day and nerd hero by night? Ethics, man. Come on.
But business? Sports? What the hell is this? I thought you were a nerd hero! Well deal with it. In D&D they call it multi-classing.
And as it has been pointed out to me, that reference is why my nerd hero status is never called into question.
So back to comic cons, golf and cosplay. Cosplayers at a comic con dress up as their favorite characters from nerd culture - be it a game, comic book, tv series or movie. Strolling the show floor in costumes ranging from shabbily thrown together rags to masterfully crafted costumes that would make you swear that they jumped out of the pages of a comic book or off of a movie screen, it's always fun to see. Believe it or not, I see the same thing on the golf course. Folks step up to the first tee in everything from a simple polo and pants to a full on branded PGA tour getup, complete with a Bubba Watson pink driver.
The real surprise to me was which out of these two groups is actually more grounded in reality. From my experience, contrary to what many may think, it's the comic con cosplayers. Let's look at an example - I got a picture of a couple at Wizard World Philadelphia dressed like Green Arrow and Black Canary. Their costumes were pretty good, and in the picture you'll notice the lovely young lady cosplaying Black Canary was posing as though she was hitting us with a canary cry. But she knew it was just a pose, and that she wasn't about to demolish any of the booths around us or incapacitate any guests. You see, Black Canary is a comic book character and I'm pretty sure she knew that the costume didn't come with superpowers.
The foursome in front of me last weekend at the golf course were altogether different. They were playing from the blue tees (see geek translation: "hard mode") and were dressed the part, so it would appear to onlookers that they actually knew what they were doing. They stood behind the tee staring at their $50-per-box golf ball on the tee for roughly a minute. Set up their stance for another. Then they took their backswing, swung it through, and drilled the hell out of the ball... exactly 100 feet straight to the right into the woods. It's like bringing out your old Nintendo and Super Mario Brothers cartridge, blowing into it with your version of whatever ritual we all had loading the game into the console, starting level 1-1, and running directly into the first pit.
See these guys were in fact cosplaying - instead of dressing like characters from a game or comic, they were dressed up like the pros playing on the PGA Tour, with a stark difference. Where our Black Canary cosplayer didn't actually think she would knock me out with a canary cry, these guys sincerely thought that they were going to crush it onto the green for an easy birdie, just like they do on TV. They did the same thing on putts - squatting to read the green for no less than 90 seconds before lining up to try knocking the ball into the cup. And then miss. Not by a little either - it wasn't even close sometimes. And I bet after finishing the 18th hole they kicked back in the clubhouse talking about how awesome they were.
So while the comic con cosplayers were the ones getting odd stares on the train from the suburbs down to the convention center, the ones that have actually lost touch with reality can be found at your local golf course. Because what's really insane? Donning a fun costume for a few days of geeky fun? Or truly believing that buying that set of Razr X Musclebacks is going to let you pitch and chip like Phil Mickelson?