Personally, I don’t care. I was always more spiritual about the game. Avoiding the work involved, I’d rather not dive into any deep research of the game’s over-all health benefits.
My current personal exercise regime isn’t right now, up to par. It’s generally limited to the comfort of my home potato patch-the couch. It’s here ( prone, for the most part ) that I mold my thoughts into stories for the blog. It’s been a long time since I played a round of golf. Quite awhile, I realized today, since I've written anything here as well. As for golf, here’s what I remember about why I once loved the game, and couldn't get enough of it.
Smacking that little white ball around was an escape. Playing the game got me outside with my friends, granting us all opportunity for the male bonding we tragically missed as children. At least that's the tale we’d spin to our gals, the kids, and the dogs whenever we wanted to leave them behind for a day of play. My family, gave in so easily. Looking back on my family life, ultimately crumbling due to trauma in the home not long after my own final game: perhaps they all appreciated the break from dear-old-dad.
Occasionally, before trauma invaded my space, my once steady soiree on the golf course gave me an opportunity to play a round with God. Please, don’t confuse this with my earlier statement-when I tagged the game as personally spiritual. God was one of the many patriarchs of my local club. This short-hand version of his full name, Godfrey, delighted the old-fellow and placed him closer to the status on the course he quite rightfully deserved.
We played together on a men's night, years back. It was a lucrative affair. The prize money hit the twenty-dollar mark, I believe. My game was way off. God’s game was never better. As he consistently feathered his shots down the centre of the fairway, I repeatedly hacked at my ball in the forest surrounding the links, working diligently to salvage some sense of athletic pride.
Around the eighth hole, God was showing the ever present signs of a winner. His score was brilliant, and he’d refreshed himself a little along the way. God was tipsy. I had already decided to ignore the five dollar loss that I invested for the entry fee. God's eyes and laughter, sparkled with every shot. Riding proudly in the saddle of his golf-cart, youth danced in the man's eyes. By days end God had taken all the money.
As I sat at the nineteenth hole drowning my sorrows, contemplating strategy for my next round of play, I grew increasingly satisfied to write-off the entire experience. I got a little tipsy, myself. Then I heard five words from God that might have acted as seeds towards developing notions of finding wellness in my already blistering life. His words brought purpose to an otherwise dreadful, hacker's day on the links.
Someone in our foursome asked something, seemingly insignificant, about how active God was for a man of seventy-four. The patriarch smiled, sat firmly back into his seat and dropped this simple, yet obviously still memorable line . . . . .
“You Sit Down...You Die.”
That brought some things into perspective, back then as I recall. And, it certainly is helpful to me today. Every word rolling from the tongues of all of the wellness gurus I’ve heard since, smacks me upside the head with meaning, blooming inside the seeds of God's advice to us all that day.
This lying around on my sofa, my garden of inactivity, trauma issues aside, creative bubble-making for this blog or not, is likely going to kill me. Ouch!
Recollecting on my friend God, I’m reminded today of his advice. There is so much variety when it comes to choosing exercise: Aerobics Classes; Exercise Machines; Gyms; DVD Lessons with Skinny People doing Skinny People Things. As I once again taste some remission, I could likely spend a much better new-lifetime devouring all that exercise has to offer as nourishment for my lazy soul. Maybe it's time to get back to thinking about some physical exercise.
God’s words ring right now, like a bell within the corpulent fat cells of my weary, inactive body and exhausted, trauma-recovering mind. It's simple advice, really:
“YOU SIT DOWN ... YOU DIE."
To keep it as simple as what God was saying that day, the advice from on high is this. All we need to do through trauma recovery is keep moving. Trauma recovery is about taking small steps forward, one step at a time, and simply to every day keep moving forward, away from the troubles of our pasts.
Physical fitness is a huge part of our recovery need. It's the easiest really to do. It's the perfect place to start working with ourselves. The best thing we can do to help heal the human brain, for instance, is to simply add a twenty-minute walk to our day.
To paraphrase some of the wellness gurus: Do what you love, where you love to do it. Make it fun and you can’t go wrong. This, in a nutshell, was God’s wellness advice. Keep moving. Doing so, keeps us alive-in body, mind and in spirit. Movement. This is what we all need.
For golfers, the answer might be as easy as sticking with the links. Playing golf is our idea of fun, right? Walking while we play helps to contribute to our physical fitness and the act of swinging the club helps to maintain our flexibility.
If I recall the game, however, it can wreak havoc on the mind. I threw many clubs, into many lakes of water, if I recall correctly. If ever I'm blessed to return to the game, perhaps some mindfulness is in order.
I do remember loving the fresh air, the sunshine and the view of the mountains surrounding my local club, playing golf. I wasn’t very good at it. I'd never break any records, and I certainly had no hope of ever hacking my way onto the tour, but I suppose I did get some exercise and other benefits from playing the game. I really do still love the game of golf. I love watching a player make a brilliant shot. I still take it in (vicariously) from time-to-time.
Another simple life-lesson I picked up once, Golfing with God?
“Hit That Thing, Like You Don’t Give-a-S**t, Where It Lands.”
Today, I take these words to heart. Life is short. Life is for living. The love in human life, the pain-all of it. Life's outcome, really doesn’t matter all that much. We do our best to live a good life, trauma issues aside, and we do our best in recovery. I’m learning to not care so much, where the ball lands. I just keep swinging the stick. This is the best, I can do.
Who knows, someday I may get another chance to swing a stick and have a chat with God. Next time we see one another, it will need to be in our idea of paradise. Heaven's Links, I suspect the club is called. My friend passed away, quite a few years back now. We all Sit Down, at some point or another. I really do hope to one day see him again, swinging a stick on the course wherever heaven is.
The next time I bump into God, on the links beyond Heaven's Gate - I'm sure he'll have more wisdom to bestow upon me. As it is with Patriarchs such as God, He made it there first. I'm sure when the time comes for me, God will be happy to show me around. Maybe, in heaven, it's All Golf - All the Time? One, never knows.
Hey, God and I, might even be allowed to get ourselves a little tipsy . . . Or, maybe we'll just take one look at each other, knowing what this human life was for both of us, and smile.
Whatever the final scenario-God's in it-this I know, for sure.
Darren Michael Gregory, April 10th, 2015
For The Love of a Game
Certified: Community & Workplace Trauma Educator Traumatology Institute.
Associate Member American Academy Of Experts In Traumatic Stress.