Sunday, June 15, 2014

For Father's Day

Ah Father's Day - a day for new ties, BBQ, and a trip to the local golf course. On a day when all sorts of accolades will be shared on the interwebs, I'll chime in with a few of my own. Please note: the pics clearly have nothing to do with a golf course.

I'm happy to know my dad in a number of capacities. He's been a life coach and a professional mentor. He taught me how to pray and how to be a father. He's given me relationship advice and helped me fix less complicated things too. He picks up the phone when I need to lean on someone. He taught me to flip pancakes and how to care about how the lawn looks when I'm done cutting it. He plays in my fantasy baseball league and makes regular trips across the state and a half that separates us to share time in person. My 'sconnie fiancee tells me that my Minnesooootan is never so thick as when I'm talking to Dad. We've shared the hobbies of cycling, golf, camping, and hiking, as well as the fine arts of grilling and craft beer. If his title wasn't dad, he number among my best friends.

I've shared this story elsewhere before, but wanted to share it here at Like-Em as well. It's one of my personal favorite stories with Dad. It's the story of the first time I shot par while playing golf with Dad.

I had been playing the best golf of my short career and was enjoying the game like never before. I was working at the course and when I wasn't on the clock I was out playing. I was often at the course from sun up to sun down. I didn't get in a lot of rounds with Dad and when I did I put a lot of pressure on myself to show him just how good I had gotten that summer. Of course that meant my game collapsed every time we played together. I don't remember how many times we had played together already that year, but I remember that it was enough to make me edgy about the round that day. I guess in a way I was looking to validate myself and my game. I came home raving about scores that I hadn't been able to prove. It was and still is just a game, but as a teenager it somehow meant more than that.

I started out with horrific tee shot. That much might have been predictable. I swung over the top of the ball and watched it race up the middle of the fairway for about a 125 yard shot to open my day. I recovered with a long iron shot up around the green, a chip, and a couple putts to make a bogey. The next hole, a par five, offered redemption and I took advantage rocketing a tee shot up the middle, laying up, making a nice pitch shot, and the putt for birdie. Back to even par. Holes three, four, and five went smoothly and I was still even par headed to the sixth tee.

Another duffed tee shot. The most dependable part of my game had now tripped me up twice this round. Like the first hole, I played a long iron, chipped, and missed a putt to make bogey. We had three holes to play and I was back at plus one. It was already a victory. Dad had never seen me play even this well, but now I had a real chance to shoot even par for the round. The final three holes offered one good chance to get the stroke back with a short par five eighth. 

Seven is a 150 yard par three with sloped green that just never seemed to play nice with me. At that age, I had been prone to getting extra distance on my middle irons and too often played my second shot from behind the seventh green. I was also plenty jumpy coming off a bogey. To this day I can still walk on that green and tell you where the pin was placed that evening within about two feet. My tee shot stuck inside of that, just six inches left and back of the hole, and I was back to even par.

I knew that the longish uphill ninth was a threat to finish so I didn't hold back on the eighth, but ended up with a tap-out par after reaching the green in three. The final hole did not provide a challenge that night and I wrapped up with an even thirty-six at the turn. I've faced more adversity on the course and I've overcome more than a pair of bogies to get back to even, but never had two bogies been in my head as much as that night. For that reason I still consider it one of the best rounds I've ever played.

I would say that it was special to share that round with dad, but really it was special because I shared it with him. The role that he plays in my life led me to seek his approval in something as trivial as that round of golf. He'll tell you that I shouldn't need that, but I say that it shows the great impact that he has on me. 

Cheers to you Dad!