Given my last blog, it was with a strange twist of Providence that my brother called last week and said he was coming in on Sunday, that he wanted us to get together with my father on Monday and play a round of golf. I almost said no... and then realized that my father is 80 years old and that opportunities for us to get together for golf are probably numbered. So I told my brother, "Great idea."
The world knows the three of us as a retired college professor (Dad), an active college professor and researcher (my brother), and a minister (me). Two Dr's and a Rev. (I am the dummy of the family with only a masters degree). But to us, it was a father and his two boys playing golf. (The pic is one I snapped of Dad on an approach to a hole on Monday)
We decided playing nine holes was safest. All of us hit safely on the opening drive. No birdies for any of us, but there were some respectable pars. I ended up being 7 over - better than bogey golf (an 8 on the last hole didn't help my score, and McCrackens count all strokes). I was happy enough with my play given how long it had been since I swung a club that I should probably retire. I was also so doggone sore that it took me 15 minutes of slow-exercising arthritic joints in bed before I could get out of it the next morning.
It was well worth it.
We had a wonderful time with Dad. Good-natured ribbing and teasing. A few great shots by all of us. My brother and I noticed that Dad's swing is different. He certainly doesn't hit the ball very far. However - all his balls stayed in the fairway. Most of them were on line. I think the beauty of playing golf as long as he has is to know what your authentic swing is. It doesn't matter how impressive it looks; what matters is, it works. And it does.
Again, authenticity requires that we practice it. I think it probably requires some maturity as well. I don't think we have to be 80 years old to attain either - but it's nice to have some living models around nonetheless who have been doing it a while.
The late Bobby Jones once said this about "Old man par.":
"No man will ever have golf under his thumb. No round will ever be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps that is why golf is the greatest of games. You are not playing a human adversary; you are playing a game. You are playing Old Man Par.That's probably a good approach to authentic self, too. As I said in the last blog, I'll say again: Doctors practice medicine, lawyers practice law. Christians should certainly practice Christianity.
"Old Man Par is a patient soul, who never shoots a birdie and never incurs a buzzard. And if you travel the long route with him, you must be patient, too."