Seriously, it’s a vile game. And one of the most frustrating experiences on the planet. Basically you spend hours on end hitting a dimpled ball with a crooked stick. You hook and slice a lot, but the ball seldom goes where you want it to. You hit the ball in the woods, in the sand and in the water. You try to work on the basics and get your swing right, but everything just seems to be going wrong. Which causes you to yell obscene profanities in a very straight-laced environment, but that’s nothing compared to the five clubs you smashed to bits in a fit of rage.
It gets so bad you’re ready to quit the game completely and never look back. Until…
You tee off on the last hole and it’s perfect. The ball rockets off your club and goes straight as an arrow towards the green. It lands and rolls three feet from the hole, leaving you slack-jawed and stunned. You forget all about your previous troubles and celebrate like mad, because that one perfect shot is suddenly all you can think about.
I’m starting to learn that golf is a lot like parenting.
Will was absolutely driving me nuts on Saturday. In addition to that, I just have a lot going on personally and at work and I was in no mood for his antics. My wife and I were standing outside an apartment in Mansfield, arguing about whether or not we should rent it because she loved it and I didn’t. We were both frustrated which means my parenting level was far from ideal. In golf terms I was in triple bogey territory.
But then came my hole-in-one. As I was leaving to go to the gym, Will stopped me and grabbed my hand.
“Dada, don’t go yet,” he said. “I want you to have this.” And with that, he handed me one of his most prized possessions — his toy Brachiosaurus. I asked him why he was giving it to me. Know what his answer was?
“Because I want you to have your best luck at the gym.”
And suddenly I was Tiger Woods (before the adulterous whore-mongering) winning the Masters. In golf, as in parenting, you fuck up. A lot. Let’s face it, parenting is largely trial and error, so you’re constantly shanking things and working to correct them. But when you suddenly see all your hard work culminate in a moment in which everything comes together and is perfect — well, you forget about everything else. All the shittiness melts away and all you can think about is that perfect moment.
And that’s what keeps you coming back again and again without giving up completely. I know I’ll end up in the bunker or some other hazard soon enough, but I’m enjoying the good times as they happen.