Thursday, August 16, 2012

Long Drive in Pakistan

Just wanted to share something with all of you that you may find interesting. Has nothing to do with records, accomplishments and certainly not  controversial. 
About 7 years ago, maybe more (guessing the years) I got an email from a guy that was from Pakistan and he was interested in buying some LD equipment. I first thought it was a little odd but nonetheless it had a cool factor that we had someone in Pakistan that was interested in  long drive.
As we exchanged emails I noticed how perfect his English was and choice of his words was a bit over my head. After a while we exchanged enough emails, which lead to my first phone conversation. This is where things started to become very interesting and may I say rewarding ( to me.) Let me back up a bit, the whole time I was thinking he was FROM Pakistan, assuming he was living here in the States, come to find out, he was and still lives in Pakistan  but originally from India. What? I actually have a guy that lives in one of the most "troubled and dangerous" areas in the world AND interested in being a "Longdriver"  Are you kidding? who would think this was possible.
Well, naturally this sparked a million questions from me. One of the first was where does he hit balls?

His response, "on the roof"
(me) roof? What kind of roof,  
(him) roof of the building I works in.....
(me) where is this building?
(him) downtown, in the city.  

Yes, picture a small hitting cage on top of a "high rise" building in Pakistan, with a guy that is trying to earn his way to Mesquite, for a chance to be a part of the Re/Max World Long Drive Finals. If that don't beat all. On occasion, he'd buy some driver heads due to loosing them.  I asked how do you loose the heads, his response was, he'd snap the shafts (better known as a hossell hit) and the heads would fly down into the streets, along with many stray golf balls. He would just laugh, and order more. 
At one point he was buying the stiffest shafts in the business, the old AccuFlex Assasin 5X just because they'd survive the, let's say "off centered" hits better, and thus saving a BMW on the streets below.
Any way, his main goal was to bring golf and long drive to his area, to give, not only the rich but the poor people something to enjoy. He wanted to help the youth by developing programs much like we have done here.
He has talked to many powerful people about this over the years and has done a lot of work to get this done. In fact, I'm thinking it was about 6 years ago, when he called me and said he was ready, I asked ready for what? He said that they were ready to come on board with the LDA. I said you mean you're going to send somebody?       No, we're going to develope programs ranging from young to old, and on a yearly basis, send many players to Mesquite. What? And we are having a big ceremony, with the President and many other government officials to kick it off. Also, we want to bring you over during this and have a satellite "live broad cast" just to make it official. Really? Great....... Wait a it that safe for me to be there? His response.... For sure, we can hardly hear the gun fire from here...
It wasn't long before I was to leave when I got the call that things would be put on hold due to health reasons, his health.....he had cancer....and as you can imagine his focus then turned to getting his life in order and staying alive. We managed to correspond from time to time but nothing in the last few years...
Oh before I forget, we had something else planned, he asked me if I was  interested in setting a record for the longest carry distance, I said sure, where? The Himalaya's....... He asked if my flight scope would do the job and follow a ball down..... Well you get the idea... That also would be a little dangerous due to the isolated fighters in the hills, but no worries, we would take a helicopter in with plenty of soldiers to protect us, according to the military General....... I really could go on and on and you're probably thinking this guy is "full of it" or at best crazy.... But I assure you he's not.
Actually it would take me a long time to accurately describe this guy and maybe, still not get it right. He has been to Mesquite one time and entered the Last Chance, so maybe a few of you have met him. Also, I have to say in all the years I've known him, he has always, first and foremost  thought to help others. 
Well to the conclusion of this post, he called me 2 days ago, I was shocked he was still alive, considering the doctors wrote him off 5 years ago. We talked about an hour and as usual, left me feeling humbled, and grateful that I know him. His outlook on life and the easy way he puts things in perspective is amazing.
The reason I wrote this is to make mention of a great person with great wisdom that lives in a very unlikely place and has a love for what we do.... That's all.....oh, and he told me if the alleged Taliban leader that lives 200 yards  in-front of his house and the alleged Taliban's arch rival that lives 200 yards behind his house doesn't accidentally kill him in in the crossfires, it is his "bucket list wish" to come and compete in Mesquite this year, which I'm looking forward to. BTW, his name is Shakeel Pal, and yes, if he wins any money, he will donate it all to cancer research. Just thought some of you would like to know about him, and, hopefully are lucky enough to get to meet himl
One more thing, do ball speeds go up as well as distances in conditions such as the HIMALAY'S? 

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