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Vertrees: Golf and life emulate each other

Carrol Vertrees

Carrol Vertrees

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Updated: November 15, 2012 6:22AM



Fore!!!

To everything there is a season — it is written in the book of Ecclesiastes.

I don’t equate the game of golf to wonderful biblical theology, but that one came to me during my last long backswing, and I dumped the ball into a pond and scared the daylights out of some dozing geese.

This frustrating, challenging game is over for me and now I can concentrate on the great game of life. Those two games are both rewarding and frustrating — most of us don’t hit par very often in either.

If we do not often laugh at ourselves, we are lost, not even close to the fairway.

In golf, we spend a lot of time searching for wayward balls, fishing them out of ponds, thickets, sand, all kind of obstacles. Some of us are tempted to nudge the ball into a better spot so that we can smack it. We hope nobody is watching. Someone is, though.

In golf, we usually know where the obstacles are, for we have been this way before. Still, we often hit into trouble — that is the nature of this sport, and the nature of our real life game.

In golf, we often blame the course architect or groundskeepers for some of our trouble, but our errors emphasize a truth — we have limitations, but we should keep on whacking away and try to avoid the trouble. That’s why golf is called a sport.

In the game of life, we may blame fate, or the great builder for putting obstacles in our way — that is normal for humans. We should be teeing it up again, trying to clean up our mistakes and to do better.

Par in golf is a real challenge. So it is in the game of life. I suspect that if we play it fairly, we are scoring par in an important way.

In golf, when a ball is reasonably close to the hole in a friendly game, we often claim, or grant, what we call a “gimmee.” We get credit for making the putt without taking it. Often, this practice is stretched and the gimmees keep on getting longer.

In real life, we may be tempted to claim gimmees instead of taking the small step to help somebody, to bring a smile, to open a door — we mean well, but you know, we are in a hurry. Nobody is watching, we may think.

These shortcuts may not show up on our personal scoreboards, but somebody knows. And we know.

I remember scores of fun times from life on golf courses — the great shots, the missed shots, the conversations. Even the rich vocabularies that ranged from one buddy saying “bunk” when he missed a shot, to another fellow swearing at a ball as it soared into trouble. I cherish it all. I made enough good shots to make me reasonably happy.

The game of life goes on, a challenge and rewarding fun.

Ahead there may be bunkers of despair and pain, thickets of confusion, lush fairways of happiness and joy. As on golf courses, there are doglegs that hide both the trouble and rewards. And when we are in trouble, we should play the ball as it lies — no fudging, no gimmees. Just do it, keep trying.

Pars or not, our final scorecard should record that we tried hard and played fairly.

Someone is watching. That is what I believe.



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