Having a pet is a tough responsibility, especially when you are an athlete who is out of town many weeks of the year. Unless you can afford to take care of it on the road, its nearly impossible to have one. Not for me. Last week my own little friend passed on to a better place. So now I'm taking this opportunity to tell the world what he meant to me.
First of all, he was a fish. Now don't laugh, he was the coolest fish EVER. I named him RedRum Jr.It all started with RedRum Sr. whom I got at my high school best friend's sister's debutante party. The party was a pirate / under the sea theme. The hosts gave out beta fish as gifts. I figured that since I have never had a pet before this would be a good place to start, especially if I ever wanted a dog someday. I picked the only red beta in the batch (most betas are blueish purple). I thought that his color was so cool so I named him RedRum. No connection to Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining,' even though I do love that movie.
After Red died, my family realized how pleasant it was to have him around, so we decided to get RedRum Jr. in early 2006. Red Jr. always had so much energy. Every time I went to feed him he would get so excited he would nearly jump out the bowl (or maybe that's because he was starving). In fact, one time I must have put to much water in his bowl because he did jump completely out of the bowl onto the counter. That wasn't the only close call. Cleaning his bowl would get tough if he didn't cooperate. Once, he slipped out of my fingers, fell into the sink onto the rubber garbage disposal, and started flopping around. THAT was pretty scary. I panicked a little bit but I did manage to grab him in time before he fell through and became sushi. From then on I was much more careful with cleaning his bowl.
Turning pro last year meant that I was traveling a lot more and no one would be home to take care of Jr. I had to find a fishsitter. I usually had my neighbors, Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lorie, or my friends Erin and Corey, look after RedRum Jr. Aunt Lorie always loved it when he would jump up for his food.
This year, I saw a noticeable difference in RedRum Jr. He started to slow down a bit and I knew his time was coming. After playing in Phoenix, to top that week all off, I came home to a dying fish.
RedRum Jr. died on the night of March 30, 2009 in his sleep. But I feel proud to say he had a long, eventful life, for a beta fish that is. My friend and I decided to bury him on my home golf course, Suntree Country Club, at the 18th hole. At least I didn't just flush him down the toilet, right?
Death is always a sad process, but it's a part of life and the world moves on. Maybe I'll get a snake next.
Rest In Peace my friend.
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