Twelve lads, one mini-golf themed pub and five breweries. What do you do if you’re a new dad and get invited to this one Saturday afternoon? Persuade the wife to make a family outing of it of course!
You’d be right to raise an eyebrow and be slightly skeptical of this, and with good reason. Before I explain, for the record – no children were harmed in the making of this blog post. In fact, I’d argue a case for the exact opposite. One child, one mother and one father all had a great time, arguments were kept to a minimum and essential friendships were restored and nurtured. Happy days.
Theo’s newly appointed godfather has, for a while, been making threats to make us all go and check out the Holey Moley mini golf bar in Newtown. Not something that massively appealed to me, but having played on a recent bucks party at the one and only Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, I knew that the banter would be flying and winning/cheating your way to bragging rights is an important part of friendship, so when the invite came to join friends for an afternoon who was I to turn it down?
I sold it to my wife Katie as a family day out, which wasn’t technically untrue, but after the invites were sent out, it turned out that not one of the lads’ girlfriends/wives could make it. (Hmmm) Oh dear. This did signify a change in attitude towards the event from Katie. She’s well aware of what happens when twelve lads’ get together and start drinking at 3pm in the afternoon – and somewhat justifiably is keen to avoid. But by that time I’d committed, it was too late to get a babysitter and I was mentally preparing to avenge my disastrous 18th hole in Coffs Harbour.
After more than one family meeting to discuss timings, feeding patterns, sleep schedules, baby accessories, weather implications, transport options, attire choices, daddy behavior expectations etc (definitely as exhausting as it sounds) we made a pledge to join the group in the Young Henry Brewery at 3pm on a Saturday.
Now, there are some cool dudes and dudettes in Newtown, I’ll give you that. As I walk into the Hipstamatic warehouse/pub/hangout with Theo attached to my belly I notice a few things: One: No one else has a baby strapped to their chest. Two: No one has a baby in a pram. Three: There are just no babies to be seen anywhere.
Hmm. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere with Theo where there’s been such a void in the infant market. Most people are in their twenties and I assume that having an awesome accessory like Theo is not something they’re busy thinking about. I feel old – but great. I feel like sitting down with a few lads in their early twenties and giving them a talk about the use of contraception. “See this lads’? If you don’t wrap up tonight, you’ll have one of these in nine months’ time.” But I refrain. Probably funnier for me than them, I think.
After a drink, we move on to the Holey Moley which is rammed with bucks’ parties and massive groups of friends. It’s hectic, but Theo seems to take this all in his stride. Strapped to my chest we play our nine holes of golf at a slow and sociable pace. One thing I really enjoy about taking Theo out is seeing how my male friends react to him. Cliché aside, it’s a bit of a given that our female friends’ dote over him. With blokes it’s a bit different and you’re never sure what will you get, but all my friends take time out to come over, get down to Theo’s eye level and interact with him. He smiles and giggles as they make the effort.
One thing’s 100% clear in my mind* is that Theo is good luck in the golfing stakes. As we dominate** the round and sink multiple*** hole-in-ones, it’s pretty clear this lad will have a bright future in the sporting world.
5.30pm strikes and with that, not unlike a scene out of Cinderella, we have to get the hell out of this scene ASAP. Theo starts to threaten to erupt like a smoldering volcano, so we say our goodbyes and leave the lads’ to it.
We go home, put Theo to bed, cook dinner and chill on the couch. As Katie cracks open a glass of white wine to accompany some ice cream, I get a few messages from the team. They’ve started drinking beers out of each other’s shoes and have just been ejected from their fourth brewery. Not so long ago I’d be saturated with FOMO, but right now I feel lucky to have been a part of the day at all. With a baby in tow, there’s so many things you just have to say no to, so being able to say yes to an event like this – for however short a time – feels like a win. To others, it looks like we committed for two hours, but behind the scenes that two hours took about half a day’s preparation.