Last Monday, I finally got what I wanted. I finally took the next step on the journey.
I was simply in the right place at the right time. Nothing more. Nothing less. (Though if you continue to put yourself in the right place, the right time WILL come.) Oh, and seven months of hard work. Let’s not forget that.
An older gentleman drove up to me as I was standing close to the first tee at my home course and asked me if I wanted to play. I asked him who he was playing with and he mentioned himself, another gentleman, and one of the pros who I knew well, but I had never played with. Without hesitation, I said yes. I had no idea the skill level of the other two, but I knew the pro routinely shot in the 60s. I wanted to test my game and my nerves. Would I shat the bed in such esteemed golf company?
After the three of them hit bombs right down the middle off the first tee, I stepped up. “You’ve dedicated the last seven months of your life to this son. Man up.” I took out my 3 wood and blasted it right down the middle. Game on.
After a couple of easy pars and loose bogeys, I found my groove. Narrow eagle miss. Birdie. Par. Par. Par. Par. We were rolling, but a massive storm was also rolling in. Another couple of loose bogeys and routine pars brought us to the par 5 16th hole, just as the skies were getting DARK. I hit a great drive, a terrible second shot, and then a wonderful wedge through the trees to about eight feet. Steadying my hands, I rolled in the birdie. We stepped to the tee box on the par 3 17th as the skies unloaded. We all hit our tee shots near the middle of the green, and then we floored it back to the clubhouse as the winds gusted upwards of 50 mph, turning over trees, water coolers, and umbrellas.
Once I arrived in the cart barn, I dried myself off and pulled out my scorecard to review the day. With a birdie putt looming on 17, I was sitting at +3. And to think, I shot a 101 here six months ago.
Depending on who you ask, what I do now every day is either ridiculously boring or insanely fascinating. I study math, angles, wind, swings, ball flights, strategy, psychology, grass type, and so on. (Yes, I am a big geek. I took three levels of calculus in college.) I love it, but it’s all business. But you know what, in April, I shot a +29 right here. Monday, with one and a half holes to play and looking at an uphill birdie putt, I shot a +3. The pro took notice and was impressed. “Let’s work together. Seriously. You could really do something with this.” Right place. Right time. Lots of hard work. Boom.
The complete opposite of my unpaid day job is my unpaid night job. Coaching youth soccer, which I do now three days a week, came about very quickly once the powers that be learned about my background. “He knows soccer? Get him in.”
Banks, my four year old son, loves soccer. It’s a privilege to be able to coach the team he is on, but I didn’t just immediately say yes. You see, I am not naturally a little kid kind of guy. Shocking, I know. After saying something 482 times to no avail, sometimes my patience runs a tad thin. I’m much more of an adult guy, but as much as I preach getting out of that comfort zone, this was a wonderful opportunity for me to do just that.
I have seven four and five year olds: four boys and three girls. We play for 45 minutes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. For 43 of those minutes, the kids hang from the goals, tackle each other, ask about snacks, hug their parents, untie their shoes, play in the grass, worry about their muddy shirt, and have a fashion show (which I’m not mad at). However, that two minutes of soccer when the kids actually play and score and celebrate is so worth it.
I really only ask one thing of my kids: have fun! Which in turn, I have to remind myself. “The only thing that matters is that these kids have fun.” If they get better, great. If their self-esteem goes up, great. If we win, great. They are four and five. Youth sports have gone absolutely mad, and I’m not going to be a part of that nonsense. So we have fun, and that’s that. It’s good for me, and I (mostly) enjoy it, and I hope they all do too.
On the ten minute drive to the golf course every day, I turn on some kind of music that dials me in. When I’m on the course, I may throw a golf podcast on while I play. It’s all business, and I love it.
On the ten minute drive to soccer practice, Banks likes for us to turn on Lizzo so he can rap about the Minnesota Vikings. I’m completely dialed out. It ain’t about me. It’s all about the kids. It’s all about fun. I’m just there so it is not COMPLETE chaos.
It’s like night and day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Have a great week.- Benj
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