I bet most people who write about their child’s accomplishments include words like Amazing. Wonderful. Adorable. Successful. Smart.
Today, I want to share a story about my child that may look like a colossal FAIL, but in reality, was not. Warning up front: this post contains references to the game of golf. If you are a golfer, you will understand, sympathize and probably empathize with the events. If you hate golf, you may want to come back another day.
College Girl played her last college golf regulation tournament last weekend. This four-year golf career has been a roller coaster ride with scores ranging from 77 to 100, and everything in-between. We’ve seen and experienced every emotion known to man. We’ve swelled with pride, but just as easily have shaken our heads in disbelief. We’ve seen her play through injury, food poisoning and weather not fit for man or beast. We’ve seen meltdowns unrivaled by any 2 year old’s tears.
We entered this last tournament with high hopes she would end her time here on a positive note. Go out on top. Throw up a score she could really be proud of.
The sun did not come out tomorrow. Literally or figuratively.
The second hole of the day was a disaster beyond comprehension. A par five, 424 yards. First ball hit out of bounds to the right…and lost. Hit a provisional. Provisional out of bounds on left. Penalty stroke to get it back in bounds. Hitting stroke four now and only 230 yards off the tee. Blade shot across fairway out of bounds. Penalty stroke. Hitting six. Blade shot back across fairway out of bounds. Penalty stroke. Hitting eight. Launch ball into creek in front of green. Penalty stroke. Hitting ten. Stroke eleven flies OVER the green. Chip on. Putt. When all is said and done, there are 13 strokes on this hole alone. Eight over par.
We are speechless. Waiting for the meltdown. She’s been 13 stokes over par for the entire 18 holes before, but never 13 over on one hole. Ever.
If she pars every hole from here on out, she could be okay.
The next hole is a triple bogey. Then a double.
All I want to do is run and hug her. Tell her it’s just a game and it’s all okay. But I can’t. No contact with the golfers in this tournament. Only coach is allowed interaction.
Entrepreneur suddenly has the need to go look for mushrooms in the underbrush.
Watching your child spiral downward while you stand by helplessly is one of the most unbearable parts of parenthood. The tears in my eyes accompany the deep ache in my heart and I’m sad to think that, in the end, this is what will be remembered. I’m silently begging God not to let this happen to her today.
Fifteen holes to go. We brace for what could be a career high.
te·na·cious (tuh-ney-shuh s) ~adjective
1. holding fast
2. pertinacious, persistent, stubborn
3. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough
She is visibly shaken. Fighting back tears, she faces the next hole. I’m not so secretly hoping the skies will open up and put this round out of everyone’s misery. Maybe she could feign an injury and withdraw to avoid the embarrassment. She could do something to get herself disqualified. Anything not to finish what was looking like the worst round in more than a decade of playing in tournaments.
And then it happens.
Golf. A “gentleman’s” game of integrity and honor.
For the next 14 holes she is 7 over par.
And she birdies the last hole.
15 holes, 7 over; 3 holes, 13 over. Score: 92.
Obviously she’s not happy. The tears flow. And now she has to turn in her score and face her coach and teammates. They are sympathetic as they know this very scenario could happen to any of them, at any time.
She’s tenacious. It’s one thing to have a blow-up, disaster of a hole or two towards the end of a great round. She has certainly experienced that. The tendency to melt down and give up when your blow-up happens early in a round is strong. Frustration, anger, depression is hard to overcome. Facing what should have destroyed her confidence, she held fast; held it together; was persistent; not pulled asunder; was tough.
And although her score was as dismal as the weather that day, the sun did shine…inside. It shined through her strength…mentally, physically and emotionally.
And we are proud of her.
And she birdied the last hole.
And that’s what we will remember.