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Monday, September 21, 2015

The View from Behind the Tee Box

I have spent many days in the past few weeks driving a golf cart over rolling hills, trying desperately to keep my eye on a tiny ball shot through the air and holding my breath as it rolls toward a black hole on a perfectly manicured green.  I've had to bite my tongue so that I won't bring out my "baseball mom voice" to cheer too loudly when things go right.  I've tried to conjure up jedi mind tricks to stare hope and perseverance back into my son's thoughts when things go wrong.

As for my personal experience with the game, it was short lived.  I took lessons seventeen years ago and played a few holes with some girlfriends that long ago summer.  The next summer found all three of us pregnant and spending our summer shopping for strollers and cribs.  It was - to be sure - a devastating blow to the future of women's golf.  My experience was that I could hit five ridiculously awful shots and then one perfectly beautiful shot. It is true that in that one shot, anyone, on any course, suddenly believes that he or she is the next Tiger Woods.  Those perfect shots were very few and far between for me, so the time I spend on the golf course now includes no clubs, just carts and cameras.

From behind my lens, I have determined that golf is both infuriating and exhilarating,  In watching my son play, I feel like I am observing some fickle girl who makes him feel like he is the love of her life, only to change her mind minutes later, breaking his heart.  And then she comes back, flicking her hair and batting her eyelashes, making him feel like a hero again.

That two-bit tramp. ;-)

Still, as frustrating as this game is, it takes place in the most perfectly serene of settings. I have to be still and quiet and my being welcomes that.  I am surrounded by white puffy clouds, brilliant blue skies and trees of every sort and size.  Often I find myself pulling up next to a mama deer and her baby. They are rarely fazed by me.

My son, his teammates and his opponents are calm and measured. (Mostly calm and measured.  Admittedly, my boy's own baseball voice makes an appearance on occasion)  They help each other in reading putts and clarifying rules.  They are polite and dignified, talking quietly with each other and encouraging opponents with, "Good ball." or "That'll play.  Nice shot."

The golf season for me is a welcome change from rowdy baseball crowds and blazing sun.  It is soft breezes and singing birds.  It is whispered encouragement and gentlemanly handshakes.  And for a few hours this:

It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf.
-Robert Lynd

God finds me in both the oddest and the most ordinary of places.  Reminding me of the gift of this day, the gift of this creation and the extraordinary gift of this boy.

"No other game combines the wonder of nature with the discipline of sport in such carefully planned ways.  A great golf course both frees and challenges a golfer's mind.
- Tom Watson

"I'm about five inches from being an outstanding golfer. That's the distance my left ear is from my right."
-Ben Crenshaw

"What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive."
~Arnold Palmer

"They call it golf because all the other four letter words were taken."
- Raymond Floyd

"Golf is the closest game to the game we call life.  You get bad breaks from good shots, you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies." 
-Bobby Jones

"One of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot, the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something."
~Peter Jacobsen

A PS:  At Kyle's Kamp we are raising funds for pediatric cancer patients and families at our 3rd Annual Gavin Rupp Open Golf Tournament.  On October 5th at Chantilly National Golf Club we will again honor the memory of Gavin who battled brain cancer until he left this world on July 30, 2013 at the age of 13.  At the past two tournaments, we have surely seen how God and Gavin have worked together to meet us out on that brilliant green grass.  We've noticed Gavin's presence in the shimmer of the sun on the ponds, the vast blue skies and the extraordinary sunsets.  We are certain that Gavin is there with us.  Won't you join us as well?  Sign up HERE.

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