7/6/09

Golf...a game for grown men

When I was a child and a teenager, I loved golfing. But one of my side goals was to hurry through the course and get done as fast as possible. I remember intentionally hitting into people, trying to pass them and play on through. We were the annoying kids without any patience and with joy at others expense. At the summer peak, in-between school years, I would play 3-5 times a week, rushing on through. One of my favorite experiences though was when I got to golf with a 70 year old doctor, veteran, and retired professional football player. He had lived a full life and what I remember most about golfing with him was the joy, patience, and peace that he found in golfing. If I hadn’t seen the Legend of Bagger Vance, I could have sworn that the time we spent golfing that morning was nothing short of spiritual and magical. The dew seemed to linger on the grass, the sun danced through the leaves, and the breeze rose up to cool the hot sun on our necks. That morning I learned a lot about golf, the game of life. I can’t remember his name, and have no idea what he’s doing now, but I remember what he taught me. He didn’t have a lot of words to say, he just played the game, as he had done for so many years. He taught me on that magical day, that Golf is the game of life because life like golf is all about you and the decisions you make. You hit the ball, you have to play it where it lies, and you have the choice to throw a fit or take the bad with the good. You are the only one that can make the decisions on how you will respond. The grass, the wind, the cart paths, rivers, lakes, the sand traps, and the trees are all just objects that you have to accept as a part of your surroundings. You can’t change them, but they exist as an annoyance to the golfer. Sure you can try to avoid them, and in most cases you want to…but sometimes your ball might take a bad bounce or you take a bad swing and it hits a limb, kurplops in a lake, becomes a fried egg in a sand trap…or bounces down the cart path. All of these things easily frustrate a golfer, but without them would golf be any fun? Would life be any fun if it were a proverbial cake walk? What jogged my memory of that magical golf day with the old man was the five hours I spent golfing with my brother the other day. I realized that at twenty-eight years old, I have a new found appreciation for golf. I no longer desire to rush the game. I want to enjoy nature, the good hits, the bad ones, and most importantly the people I’m with. Golf truly is the game of life, because sometimes we can’t change the golf course that we’re on, we can only make minor changes and adjustments to get our life or our golf ball to the goal. The trick is to enjoy the ride, the joys and the disappointments from the beginning to the end. Taking time to breathe in the fresh air, letting the sun beat down on you, and having the patience to know that life like golf requires patience and joy.

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