Today, I savor the flavor…Wile E. Coyote strikes!

This last week, I posted about golf.  Many readers shared how they could relate.   I’ve mentioned a number of times how much I enjoy writing.  I didn’t realize that it would help my golf game also.    

For the last 30+ years, my arch-rival on the golf course has been my former partner and close friend, Jeff Fourman.  For those that don’t know Jeff, he is a good athlete, with an innate ability to see and do things on the golf course, that the average player doesn’t see and is unable to regularly do.  He is, and has always been, a much better golfer than I am. 

The handicap system in golf, allows players of different skill levels to play together and compete – and compete we do.  Both Jeff and I are pretty competitive people and neither of us like to lose.  Unfortunately, as it has proven out over the years,  I’ve had to learn how to handle losing, especially when it comes to competing with Jeff on the golf course.  Our competition on the golf course has always been rooted in good sportsmanship, fair play, good friendly competition; of course with a reasonable amount of money at stake.  

I can’t even begin to calculate what my losses to Jeff have been on the golf course.  There was a time when I thought I should send a 1099!  There have been glimpses of times when I have had the upper hand, but they have been so few and far between.  He wants to beat me as badly as I want to beat him – he never tires of beating me and I never give up chasing him. 

It was several months ago when I was flipping through the channels and happened to see the old Road Runner cartoon.  It was then I realized that I am Wile E. Coyote.  For those that haven’t seen Road Runner, there are two characters – The Road Runner, which is a really, really fast ground bird of some type and Wile E. Coyote, a coyote.  Wile E. Coyote is always chasing the Road Runner.  It’s his life’s calling.  The Road Runner is evasive, always outsmarting and outplaying Wile.  It never fails that just at the moment that Wile appears to be catching the Road Runner, BOOM – an anvil falls out of the sky and lands on Wile, or Wile runs blindly off a cliff.  Wile can just never catch the Road Runner, and I can almost never beat Jeff.

Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 8.48.40 PM

So on those days when I am able to catch Jeff with his guard down, catch him a little off his game and win – those are great days!  Today, was one of those days and I find it very interesting that it comes just after writing the post about Golf.  I shot an 81, which is by far my strongest round of the season.  It’s the kind of round that might happen once or twice a season for me.  Golfers – every one of us – will say that it was just one great round, not to be repeated.  We might even believe that, but inside, we fantasize that this is our new standard.  That typically lasts until the next round!

Of course, Jeff shrugs off the loss, he knows even Roger Federer can lose occasionally.  He handles it well and when paying his losses; knows it’s just a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’ he’ll see that money again.  If he wasn’t such a nice guy, it would be pretty reasonable for him to go Ray Zalinsky (Dan Ackroyd’s character in Tommy Boy) and say ‘Savor the Flavor, cause it sure the hell won’t happen again’!  

So today…I savor the flavor!Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 8.54.23 PM


Golf – more than just a game

It was great hearing from many of you about the blog.  It is really very therapeutic for me to share by writing.   I’ve been a little tired lately.  Playing golf in the heat has likely taken a bit of a toll on me.  I have not been willing or ready to admit that either the radiation or the cancer, or some combination of the two cause me to just not operate at full throttle.  Of course my golfing buddies love it – I am like an ATM machine to them :-).  The only salvation is the fact that they haven’t yet tried to start doubling the bets around the 13th hole.  The other day, I could feel the energy just leave – it was pretty frustrating – struggling to get to the last hole.  The heat definitely hasn’t helped.  

People that don’t play golf, don’t generally have a great understanding as to why enthusiasts find the game so addictive.  Recently, a good friend asked if I ever improve.  I laughed and said ‘hell no’.  In my mind, I get better, there are moments where I play fairly well, but over the years, my scores haven’t improved.  Same holds true for most of the guys I play with.  So what makes me excited to go out and play, especially when temperatures are in the mid 90’s?  I love the challenge.  I love the competition and I love the camaraderie.   Those are the surface factors that drive my passion for the game.  It goes much deeper than that though. My love for the game is rooted deep into all the metaphors that exist between golf, business and life.  My son can tell you the countless number of times that I used golf as a teaching moment.  In recent months, he’s turned the table on me and thrown some of those lessons back at me.  In golf, perfection isn’t achievable.  Golf shots rarely go exactly where you expect them to go, but even after the worst of shots, you have to move on to the next shot.  You may not care for the position that the previous shot placed you in, but you can’t look back, you have to move forward.  Each shot creates a different situation and each situation creates a new and unique pathway towards the hole.  You have to make well thought out decisions when you consider each shot and accept the outcomes.  You catch good breaks and bad.  If you dwell on the bad, you can make a bad situation worst.  You are ultimately accountable for what happens on the course.  I always get a kick out of hearing people blame their bad shots on the course, the condition of the bunker, how thick the rough is and ignore the fact that they just made a bad swing.  Of course, often the course makes the shot more difficult, but few are willing to take accountability.  I make a lot of bad shots, and while I get frustrated, generally I laugh at how flawed my shot was.  After all, it’s a golf shot – that’s all it is – just a shot in a game.  If I’ve learned anything since my diagnosis, I’ve learned that the wonder of golf is being able to play!  

I recently had the opportunity to see kindness through golf.  When I was diagnosed, I had to cancel several golf trips, most notably having to back out of an Ireland golf trip that I had planned.  Clearly, I have to put my health ahead of golf right now.  But, yes, I hate missing out.  Going on a golf trip to Ireland with 7 of my regular golfing buddies was a tough trip to cancel.  My friends knew how much I wanted to go, so they took me along.  What?  Did I trip you up there?  You read it right – I went along, just not in the way you may be thinking.

I woke up to a text with this pic of me on the plane with a few of the guys


(Chris Pulos, John Barron, Mike Emoff)

I even got to be in the cockpit for a while


When in Ireland, golf is #1 priority, so I got out to the course


(Gary Pavlofsky, Chris Pulos, Mike Emoff, Bob Newsock)

After the round, time for a cold one on the bus


(Jeff Fourman, Gary Pavlofsky, Chris Pulos)

Of course, the #2 priority on a golf trip – time for lunch


(Jeff Fourman, Erv Pavlofsky)

When these pictures started coming in, I laughed so hard, but admit that I was also a little overwhelmed by their kindness.   Let’s be serious, guys just aren’t typically this thoughtful :-). Golf – more than just a game.

Sailing, Sailing….


This last February, all came to a screeching halt as I was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma (CC)- aka Bile Duct Cancer.  My diagnostic path started as a result of finding with high calcium in my blood work during a routine physical examination.  I had no other symptoms.  CC is a silent killer, much like pancreatic cancer.  The diagnostic path took about 6 weeks – it was a gut wrenching time for my family.  

In the aftermath of my diagnosis, I began sharing updates about my medical situation on Caring Bridge – .  My posts started out as a way to update people about my health situation, those posts have become a cathartic way for me to express what is going on to this loving group of friends and family that follow the page.  I have found that I really enjoy writing.  I reserve my Caring Bridge page primarily for my medical situation.  On this page, I will post about my life, thoughts, feelings and experiences, extending beyond the medical details of my cancer journey.  

This last weekend, Felice and I were at a wedding in Chicago.  It was great being away from the hospital setting and seeing so many friends at a happy occasion.   Nothing better than seeing two, wonderful young people starting their lives out together, especially when I’m not picking up the bill! 

RIght now, we’re finishing up a great week at Elkhart Lake, WI.  I share a family home with my sister.   Our grandchildren represent the 6th generation of Shane’s to experience the EL.  My grand parents met when they were teenagers while both were vacationing here with their parents.  Since then, it has become a Shane family sanctuary, with generations of shared memories.  I have spent time in Elkhart every summer of my life. 

The village of Elkhart Lake is very small and quaint with a year round population of less than 1,000.  There is one 4-way stop in town – no stop lights. The village has a number of restaurants, a couple resorts, a decent public golf course.  The lake is amazing.  It’s small enough that you can’t get lost on the lake on a jet ski (yeah, I’ve gotten lost on another lake before), yet big enough to zip around in a boat or jet ski, sail or ski.  It is approximately 300 acres, 2 square miles and depths up to 120’.  The lake is spring fed, clear, refreshing water – totally awesome.  Sometimes our days start out with a walk, sometimes there’s golf.  The afternoons are spent at the pier.


This year, my neighbor inspired me to try remote control sailing.  My neighbor, Bill Easom, is the head of the sailing club and made an effort to get people interested in racing remote control sail boats.  I figured, hell yeah, sounds like a good time.  When I was a kid, I used to sail a small sail boat all the time on the lake, always enjoyed it, although I never have referred to myself as an accomplished sailor.  That was proven once on a family trip to Jamaica, with our friends, the Doner’s.  We decided to rent a couple small Catamaran’s.  As we’re getting instruction, the instructor was very clear to avoid going to the west because of the prevailing winds.  The Doner’s hop on their boat and take off like pro’s.  We took off and almost immediately were struggling, very quickly heading off to the west and failing in every attempt to correct.  We were drifting into breakers and there was no getting back.  The safety boat had to come out and rescue us.  We were never in any danger, just looked like total idiots as we were rescued and led us back to the shore to take the walk of shame.  I never have heard the end of that!  

Remote control sailing sounded like a great pastime with when I’m hanging in the shade at the pier, so I ordered the specified kit to put together the boat.   This assembly was far more work that I thought it would be.  Not only were there really small lines for all of the sheeting, rigging lines, etc., but I had to be able to see  in order to make the knots and thread lines through bowsies, deck eyes and other eyelets controlling the mainsheet and Jib boom.  


I spent hours and hours trying to perfect the boat, which is named, Flo.  I completed the final touches after we arrived here.  The boat looks awesome – it was time to sail!  The first experience was ok.  The wind on the lake was very calm and the boat appeared to be put together correctly.  It wasn’t until I tried my 5th run that I finally conceded that the Jamaican experience wasn’t an anomaly.  Each subsequent attempt required a rescue.  Bill was very patient in helping me tighten my ‘trim’ (sailor speak for setup).  I had everything working right.  Time for another shot.  There was lots of wind, which created a bit of a challenge, but she was riding great.  I struggled to make good turns and control the boat.  I sent my son-in-law, Adam, out on a rescue mission.   When he brought the boat in, it was his turn to take over the controls.  He appeared to be heading into the middle of the lake also, so I hopped on the jet ski to prepare to rescue the boat.  Candidly, I was feeling a bit vindicated.  I had failed several times, my son, Jordan was unable to master the skill either, and now Adam was proving that this is a skill to learn over time, on calmer days.  As I approached the boat, it had already turned about and was moving smoothly.  Adam was getting the hang of it.  I hovered around the boat for several minutes to assure that he was ‘ok’.  He then started weaving the boat through a group of kayaker’s and it was clear that he definitely was getting the hang of it.  I took a spin around the lake on the jet ski, figuring that I would likely need to rescue the boat when I came back.  By the time I returned to the pier, Adam had landed the boat.  So now  we know the boat is operating correctly, clearly an operator issue.  I’m not giving up though!


Mike #cancersucks #ShaneStrong