Golf & Lessons Learned
Affirmation: I value my accomplishments and my disappointments.
On June 19th, 2011 Rory McIlroy won the US Open in golf. I play golf although I do not consider myself a golfer. I am married to a golfer and recently my adult son, Joey, has given up sky diving and taken up golf. (Thank You, Lord.) Considering we have been married for almost 43 years, I have learned a lot about the sport. I must admit there have been many times in our marriage when I was deeply resentful of the time and energy my husband put into his passion. When the children were little and he worked 100 hours a week and still played golf on the weekends, I thought I’d go crazy. He did stop playing when our youngest child, Ellen, was born. He needed a break and I needed a break too.
Many years ago I read James Dobson’s, Final Rounds. It completely changed the way I saw the sport. It truly was a life changing read. It helped too that my children were older and I had a little more free time. But, when I read the memories that he and his dad had collected together, I better understood the appeal of the game. Golf wasn’t just “a good walk spoiled” as Mark Twain; it was about so much more. It was about relationships and adventures and shared experiences. I took it to heart and started focusing on those aspects and not how many times I was hitting (or swinging) at that little ball. Yes, something changed. I started having more fun and truly valuing the time I spent with Sandy and now with my son. Sometimes my daughter-in-law, Belen, joins us on the course as Joey’s chauffeur. It can be a delightful day and I really have learned to value being out on the course.
Part of our shared interest lies in occasionally watching the major tournaments with my family. The US Open is one of them. And, this year’s was very exciting. This young man, Rory McIlroy (22 years) won. He’s from Northern Island. Not only did he win but he broke all sorts of records. He shot 65-66-68-68. He was as much as 17 under par at one point. He went into the tournament winning by 8 strokes. These are unheard of accomplishments.
That’s all wonderful and exciting but for me, it was the story behind his win that touched my heart. His father was there; it was his Father’s Day present. The story that emerged was of a family of very hard working people. His dad had worked as a janitor and when his son showed an interest in golf, he became the bar tender at the golf club so that they could afford his lessons. When he accepted his award, he didn’t’ leave out his “mum” either. He said it was because of their hard work and sacrifice that he was there today.
The media spent a great deal of time talking about this young man’s loss at the Masters in Augusta. They kept talking about how he was winning by 4 strokes when the final round began, and then “fell apart.” Everyone was amazed that he had pulled himself together so quickly and was doing so well. Some thought he might never recover from such a devastating loss. It was one of the questions presented to him several minutes after accepting the US Open trophy. The announcer asked him to speak about losing the Masters and what that had been like. Ready? “The Masters was a very valuable experience for me. I learned a few things about myself and my game.”
This champion is much wiser than his 22 years. It takes some of us a lifetime to discover that every life experience leads to wisdom and knowledge. It’s all up to us how we perceive it and whether or not we value every single one of them, both the accomplishments and the disappointments. Like Rory, it can lead us to championship skills, the skills of leading a rewarding, fulfilling life.