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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Get Out And PLAY

I try to golf....when I'm asked if I have an interest or hobby that is how I reply: I try to golf. And I enjoy it as long as I don't let myself get carried away and take it too seriously.

When I was a kid and then a teenager I golfed quite a bit. I actually worked on a golf course...the very same, small 9 hole course that borders our family's property across the street from the house. Today that little course has turned into a bit of a gem: it's not a Par-3 Executive Course but it's not a 6800 yard 18 hole MONSTER either.

Since I have a rather significant back, spine and nerve disability I can't really swing a golf club the normal way. Therefore as guys my age go, I cannot hit the ball very far. Last year I determined that I would try, that is just try to see if I could play again. Since I live on the course, I had clubs and we have our own golf cart...well I had everything I needed to play...except a golf game!

I went to see a golf pro at The Foundation Golf Center in Coldwater MI to see if he could work with me to find a golf game that I could enjoy, get some exercise with and NOT hurt myself. Brian Earles, Manager of the Center and a teaching pro worked with me on and off all Summer last year and lo and behold: I could play 9 holes of golf with a cart without hurting myself or suffering too much pain. I was really stoked...

So I got a golf membership at the Iyopawa Island Golf Club here on the island where I live and tried to play at least a few holes of golf each and every day. It was really quite good for me...each morning I would get up and be out on the course at first was so peaceful. I would often be on the 3rd tee (A long Par 3 looking southeast) when the Sun would pop up over the trees lining the 4th Fairway which was to my left. What an incredible way to start my day...

There were days when I would play 3 or 4 holes and have to bag it because it was tweaking my back or I was starting to lose feeling in my feet but I have to say getting out and playing really was a great encouragement to me. I had begun to think that my days of even moderate sports activity were long gone...this showed me that was just negativity creeping in and I could play if I just excepted what I COULD actually do instead of lamenting about what I used to be able to do and would never do again.

The effect on me and my life was profound...exercise was another thing I had often heard people suggest and I would just roll my eyes and blow it off. But honestly it was good advice and getting outside and being matter what that activity was made a huge difference in the long run for me. In my life of recovery, now that I can look back on it I really did basically change the entire way I lived my life. I really HAD to and it was worth it...but never during that time did I ever think in those terms though. I think it would have been too overwhelming if I was told at the start of my sobriety that "Hey you have to change everything you do". I never would have made it.

Even today it bugs me when I'll hear some old timer to recovery tell a newly recovering Alcoholic that you have to change every single thing about your life...If it were me when I first got sober I would have told them to go F**k yourself! I couldn't have even perceived that back then...all I could think of was "Don't Drink Today". And so thats what I did: I didn't drink for that day!

And little by little things did change but I really wasn't paying that much attention, Nope...I was too busy enjoying myself!

So this afternoon I was coming back from a short trip up to Battle Creek when I called a friend of mine to catch up. He was one of the many who had been thinking about me and praying for me while I was away at MAYO. In passing just before we hung up I said that we have to get together some time to play a bit of golf here on the island. his response was classic...he said, "what in 30 minutes?" And thats basically what we did...what a great way to end the day....

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