Who said Clippers and Comets can't get along?
That combination was put to the test on Wednesday afternoon at Timber Creek Golf Course in Dixon, for the next-to-last Links With Locals article for the summer. This time it was yours truly, Amboy, class of 1983, teeing it up with local radio personality Sam Ramirez, 37, a 1994 Newman grad.
Truth be told, the whole Amboy-Newman thing was barely brought up, as Sam and I had many other things to chat about. For instance, both us had recently returned from vacations in Michigan – he in the Traverse City area and me in Saugatuck.
Northern Michigan is one of my favorite spots, as it's where my family vacationed all of the time when I was a kid. We went southwest of Traverse City, to a little town called Beulah – less than an hour from where the Ramirez clan stayed.
Both of us agreed that slow-paced vacations, with time set aside to plop next to a pool, river or lake with something cold to sip on, are the best vacations indeed.
We had a chance to talk about Sam's job with NRG Media, which has him working for three radio stations. He works the 6-to-9 a.m. shift at 101.7 FM, spinning country music songs.
Six times a day, he does sports broadcasts for 1460 AM. During the fall, he's the play-by-play voice of Oregon Hawk football on 95.7 FM, a task he's performed since 2000.
That particular season, the Hawks advanced to the Class 3A state finals. He points to a semifinal victory against Addison Driscoll as his Hawk highlight.
"That was my first season calling Oregon football," he said, "and I took that train all the way to state. There's nothing quite like broadcasting a high school football game."
NIU football is also close to his heart, especially with the run the Huskies have been on of late. He's a regular in DeKalb, and he and his wife of 10 years, Carie, make many of the road trips to Mid-American Conference towns throughout the midwest. Of course, they were in Miami when NIU played Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl.
And then there is fantasy football. Sam and I happen to be in the same league, and if there's a certain Denver Bronco I covet, I always make sure to snap him up before it is Sam's pick. He would take almost all Broncos, given the chance, which last year would have been a great thing.
As for our round of golf, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Sam posts a lot about his games on Facebook, though in hindsight, many of those posts were about the social aspect of his rounds. That became crystal clear soon enough.
As I pulled into the parking lot, Sam was already in the riding cart, wearing flip flops. He indicated that's his footwear of choice when playing.
Near the clubhouse, when I asked if he needed something to drink, he indicated he already had a some cold ones in the cooler. The tone had been set.
Sam hits the ball well enough to work in a par here or there, but more often than not, needs to hole a putt for bogey, double or triple. If he's not finished with a hole in eight strokes, more often than not, it's time to pick up and move on.
After two great shots on the par 5 seventh hole, he dumped his third into a pond. I indicated he could hit from the other side, if he wanted to, and he said he always does that after hitting into a water hazard.
"That's one of my own rules," he said. "I already lost one ball, so why should I lose another one?"
Sam and I ended up completing 13 holes on the day, before running into a logjam of ladies playing multiple scrambles. It was good, however, as I needed to get to work and Sam needed to get to Davenport, Iowa, for a Lady Antebellum concert.
One of the perks of his job is he gets to hobnob with country music stars before they put on shows. Often, when they find out he's a disc jockey, the stars are the ones kissing his rump.
"Reba McIntyre gave me a hug once, thanking me for playing her music," Ramirez said.
Us sports writers don't quite get that kind of treatment, but come to think of it, I don't really want to hug most of the people I write about anyway.