(James Taylor reference)
With some of the family in town, daughter, son-in-law and Scooter, along with some new friends, Jay and Michelle, who came down with the family, we decided to play some golf on Sunday. This was a surprise to me. It was my son-in-law’s idea, and it was a good idea, a great idea.
But I have to admit to you that there was some trepidation on my part. I had not played golf in way more than a year. A lot of that, of course, was surgery and chemotherapy. More recently, I must admit, it was probably fear. I was not sure that I could manage on the course, what with the missing lobe, the malnutrition I still have, to be honest, the lack of time on the course, even.
Heaven forbid you slow down the foursome!
I drove separately. That is, Ryan and I drove in my car, and Scott and Jay went in his. The reason was that I was going to play only nine holes. I knew that in advance. I knew that I would not last for 18 holes, even in a cart. So, we would play nine, and then they would haul my carcass back to my car, and the three of them would finish the last nine.
That was really good with me. I wanted to break in, if you will, get a feel for it, and then move onward and upward. I did not want to overdo it, and I did not want to hold them up. I also knew I would need to eat eventually, and I am not yet the chili hot dog kind of golfer. I am getting there, but I am not yet there.
I will not bore you with the details of those nine holes.
I will tell you that I ran into someone I used to work with, someone I worked with at the joint where they took me seriously and shut down my contract when I told them I was dying. It turns out they dropped him too, but for different reasons. Let’s not go there.
He seemed surprised that I was alive, and, for some reason, that was a pretty nice moment. It was great that he recognized me and knew my name, in fact. In fact, I did not remember his name. Chemo-brain, I suspect, had left me bereft of such knowledge. Strangely, I did remember that he was a fan of my alma mater’s archrival. I don’t know why. And I did recognize him, after all, so give me some credit for that.
He recognized me too, as I mentioned, so give him some credit for that. He expressed the usual concern, although I felt like he really meant it, and then he moved on, and I moved up to the counter to be gouged myself by the Public Golf Course pimps. Geez! This game is getting way to expensive!
I paid for 18 for Ryan, my son, and I paid for nine for me. I knew I could not make it past nine, and, frankly, was not sure I could make it to nine.
And off we went!
If you have never played golf, you will probably not get into much of the rest of this one. But it is important to me, largely because I was concerned about my ability to hang in there.
If you do play golf, you will know before reading that I blew the first tee. I have not practiced, I have not been to the range, I have not even swung a club before this Sunday, (playing best ball, by the way, for the first nine holes, my son and me against my son-in-law and his/our friend).
So I swung for the moon and hit the ball approximately 15 yards. I am probably giving myself too much credit.
Eventually, my drives off the tee got better. They never matched those of my son, who was dynamite on this day, and they really didn’t match Scott’s a lot of the time, and sometimes, I am embarrassed to say, they didn’t even keep up with Jay’s, and Jay claims this was his first time out. I know he is lying, of course, but still.
But, eventually my driving improved, and my putting got better. The fairway shots got better, in fact, in a couple of cases, were awesome, only to be out-done by that son of mine. The short game, the sand shots, the chip shots, they never did come around. I did putt well from time to time, although I missed a three footer for par once, something I never do.
That is what this is about. I lasted. Yes, I was in a cart. However, my son pointed out to me that I should probably have walked, since I stayed out there, walking from swing to ball, more than I did in the cart. I walked. I used my clubs, I walked, and I lasted.
I had already decided to stay for just the nine, however. As my son drove me back to my car in the cart after that ninth, he asked , “You could have gone 18, couldn’t you?”. And the answer was yes.
I was starving. But I was not thirsty. I was not weak. My game was deteriorating, I will be honest with you. So maybe I was tiring. The other three might argue “What game???”. And I would not dispute that assessment :). But I lasted.
When Scott first suggested we make a go of it, to be honest, I was reticent. I have a cold on top of the lung piece being missing, and I was rather short of breath. I told Ryan this before we left, in fact. But I felt I had to go, I had to get started back on the path to life and living. If I needed to quit, I would quit.
I hate that word.
But if I needed to do it, I would do it, and they would go on without me. I drove my car just in case.
But I lasted.
My son and I won that best ball tournament, over those first nine holes. I will admit that he pretty much carried the load, but I had my moments. We argued, as we always do, because we are both so competitive, but we also applauded each other, and we carried the day.