Treena Mielke – On The Other Side
In spring, lots of people, myself included, mentally shake off the shroud of winter and think about good things like sun-dappled golf courses and the way it feels to tee up for the first time.
They, myself included, think about connecting solidly with that little white ball which, for some unknown reason, is teed up to exactly the right height and knowing, even as they follow through and hear the smack, that that ball is g-o-n-e.
And they remember how it feels to turn and slip the club back in their bag with a self-satisfied little smile, barely restraining themselves from doing a little victory dance on the green, and secretly thinking, “I love golf, I love it, I love this game.”
And then there’s the next shot. It’s, of course, horrible.
Oh, the frustration, the absolute, horrible frustration.
These are the shots that no matter how hard you try, how many lessons you take, how you hold your feet, your hands, the club, your mouth and no matter how hard you visualize, the ball limps, skids to the left, the right, in the trees, the sand or simply will not clear the water.
These are the shots when you dig your shoes in the sand pit, brace yourself and strike the ball not once, but several times, after willing it to just get over the lip in the sand pit, it won’t. These are the times that finally in utter frustration you pick it up and throw it out. These are the times your teammates pretend not to look at you, but you catch them looking at you anyway. And their looks are sad and full of pity.
“Oh, I hate golf,” you moan as you jam your club back in your bag, hoping the beer cart lady will at least show up so can pretend you are already on the 19th hole.
This year, when golf season rolled around, my golf clubs lay buried under several inches of sawdust in the garage, unused, and neglected.
I probably won’t get out. “I’m far too busy, plus, no one has actually asked me,” I thought to myself with more than a little self pity showing up in my self talk.
However, that all changed last week.
My daughter-in-law, bless her heart, broke the rules of convention which I think reads, never, ever ask your mother-in-law to go golfing because she is, after all, your mother-in-law and that’s enough reason.
But she asked me anyway.
“Sure,” I said, thinking, “Oh, no, I haven’t been out this year, not once, and I will probably golf absolutely terribly.
And then I remembered the way it feels to smack the ball in the sweet spot and how you know instinctively by the sound that it is a good shot; a really, really good shot.
“What time?” I said.
And so we golfed and, true to form, I had some really good shots and some really bad shots, but in the end it didn’t really matter.
It was a made to order golfing night with sun drenched greens and fairways. It smelled like summer and I liked it and I felt good, kind of like a golfer, before I ever even teed up.
“This is my first time out,” I told the ladies humbly. They smiled and said nothing, ready to look all sad and pitying, if need be.
But, I’m here to tell you, they didn’t have to. My first shot was just like I had imagined.
I smacked the ball in the sweet spot and it flew long and true down the fairway. Well, not that long, actually, but long enough.
I pulled out my tee, did a little victory dance in my head, and smiled at everyone.
“I’m Treena,” I said, the happy face in my mind spilling onto my face. “This is my first time out. That was such a lucky shot.”
The ladies smiled, but not at all in a pitying way.
And I felt good.
Did I tell you I love golf?