Monday, July 20, 2009

The power of golf

If you don't know where you are going, how can you expect to get there? Basil S. Walsh
Yesterday, we knew where we were going. We were just having a lot of trouble getting there!

It was a bright, blue sky prairie afternoon. C.C., my daughters Alexis and Liseanne and I, all decked out in our matching black shirts, the girls in matching plaid golf shorts and white runners, climbed into two carts and joined in the fun at a golf tournament to support the scholarship program at Choices. And a fun time was had by all...

Now, it's important to know that the only golfer on our team was C.C. I played twice last year (the only two times in my life) and C.C. arranged a lesson for the girls on Friday at his Club. That's it, three players who have hit the ball maybe 50 times out of 1,000 tries, and a man whose competitive spirit will always beat him to the pin.

Fortunately, it was a best ball tournament -- which meant we mostly shot from C.C.s position on the course -- otherwise, we'd still be trying to get the ball in the hole!

Like life, golf is a head game. The more you let your head get in the way, the harder it is to get the ball to fly straight.

C.C. won the award for patience yesterday -- even though his game fell apart. How couldn't it not fall apart when it took 23 tries for Liseanne to hit the ball off the first tee? Between fits of laughter and admonitions to 'keep your eye on the ball', he had to let go of any expectations of a serious round of golf. The girls did win the award for being the 'cutest' on the course and he did win a prize for hitting his ball into the water on the left side of the fairway on the 9th hole! I too hit the water -- after I'd missed it. Hit my ball into the trees at the edge of the water and it shot back out of the forest into the pond! Go figure. Neither hazard was even close to where I intended the ball to go!

And that's where the head game gets into play.

Liseanne was frustrated from the get-go. "I kinda psyched myself out on that first tee," she told someone at the banquet following the game. "It took me awhile to get centered after that. Had to do yoga on each hole. And I did learn to do a cartwheel. First time in my life. I did one on every green after that!"

A quarter way through the round the wind picked up and we battled elements and the course. Alexis huddled in the cart, trying to stay warm but when she hit the ball, her natural focus paid off. Her ball always went where she directed it, just not very far.

Me. I got in a few good shots, but mostly, I let myself focus on having fun -- and not taking myself too seriously. Good thing. With the wind, the ball never had a chance of going where I intended it anyway!

The thing about golf though is you have to know where you want the ball to go before you hit it. And, you have to know where you're going as you traipse the course -- otherwise, you can end up on the wrong tee box. Which is what happened to us yesterday.

We started at the 17th hole -- but we couldn't find it. Perhaps the course officials forgot that in a Texas Scramble -- every team starts on a different hole -- you should provide a map to where you need to go. Ten minutes after starting out in search of the hole, we finally found it. Don't you love it when men play true to stereotype? :) C.C., didn't think it necessary to stop and ask for directions...

The real lesson yesterday though came in the laughter and giggles the four of us shared throughout the day. Driving the carts, hunting for balls, taking swings -- at the ball and each other, we were lucky to spend an afternoon filled with what makes life rich and meaningful. Time spent with those we love.

In the end, all that really mattered was we came in from the course with smiles on our faces and the memory of a good time. For the girls and me, it was a chance to try our hands, (and backs and arms and legs and psyches) at a game we'd never really had a chance to experience. For C.C., it was a chance to share his love of the game with people he loves and who love him. As we drove home Alexis said, "I could get to like this game."

I watched the smile on C.Cs face broaden into a beam.


It's important to know where you're going.

I set out in the morning, thinking we were going to play a round of golf. Have some fun. Share some laughs. I didn't anticipate the impact of sharing in the game with the people I love most in the world would have upon my heart. The power of spending time together on a course, amidst the beauty of trees and mountain views, surrounded by nature and those you love -- what an amazing gift!

It was a fitting end to my 'summer'. Tomorrow, I am having surgery on my foot and will be out of commission for a few weeks. It also means I'll be out of commission here for a few days too. 'They' tell me the pain is rather fierce for the first few days. I'll be in hospital for the night, home on Wednesday and laid up with my foot in a cast until the end of October. I'll be back here later this week -- once my head has cleared.

Take good care. Live this one wild and precious life as if there is no tomorrow! Today is the present. A gift to be savoured and enjoyed.



Brandi said...

i'll thinking of you the next little while and praying for a speedy recovery!

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks Brandi! I hope to be back up and writing Friday morning :)