I almost sprint from my car to the playing fields. H’s first night of golf lessons began at 5:00 PM, and thanks to a snare of Monday traffic, I’m 45 minutes late. I can see him in the field at the far end of a straight line. He’s smiling and holding a club, but instead of swinging, he’s shouting.
The second coach is saying something. I’m too far away to hear exactly what, so to me, he sounds like a grown-up from a Charlie Brown cartoon.
Coach #2: Wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah.
Coach #2: Wah wah wah wah, wah wah, wah wah wah wah.
I join GB on the sidelines. His hands are in his pockets, and he’s trying not to look cold.
“What’s going on?” I ask, watching the kids jump up and down.
“That guy over there, in the red shorts? That’s Coach Awesome.”
“And that guy over there in the blue? Coach Slurpie.”
“Wow. What are they doing?”
“Every time I think they’ll start swinging, they don’t. They spent the first half hour talking about the parts of their clubs.”
“A club has parts? It’s not just a club?”
“Right. So they’re just kind of standing around. You’ll like this, though: Coach Awesome asked each kid to state his name and his favorite food.”
“What did H say?”
Coach Awesome: [shouting] SKY HAWKS READY?
Coach Awesome: [shouting] I SAID!…SKY HAWKS READY?
Coach Awesome: DRIVE!
Little clubs start swinging. H whiffs and whiffs and whiffs. And whiffs and whiffs. Coach Slurpie stops by to help him make contact with the ball. O distracts me for a moment, and when I look back at H, his ball is sailing across the sky.
H jumps up and down. Coach Slurpie offers a hand, and they low five.
It’s clear to me: These coaches know what they’re doing. H is competitive, and if he’s not great at something right away, he’ll give up on it. But here on the playing fields, he’ll try again. And again. And again. Because Coaches Awesome and Slurpie make him feel good about himself.
Coach Awesome: Get in line! Right behind me!…Great! Now stick your arms out like you’re an airplane. We’re going to fly over to the shelter house. Ready, set, go!
The kids buzz past us and race toward the shelter house. They disappear for the next half hour, and when I walk past the shelter house door, I see that they’re putting.
And now I’m a fan of golf!
Because really, it sounds like a dream sport. Killing time, driving and chipping, chatting while your friends putt around? Is it really that social? And is it really that lazy?
If yes, then sign me up, Coach Awesome. I’ll pay extra if I can drive the golf cart.
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