Writing 101, Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice
Title: Thinking Back – Golf Lesson
Most articles I’ve read say that money is the top reason couples fight. Wei and I, however, had spent a lot of time fighting about golfing. Golfing for him is a serious game; for me, it’s a quiet walk on green grass… if I can keep the ball away from the sand trap and water, that is.
Wei wanted to teach me to become a better golfer; I wanted him to leave me alone. After having several negotiations and didn’t see any result, one day on our way to the golf course, I told him not to speak to me on the course. “If you make a sound, I’ll quit,” I said. Of course, that put both of us in a bad mood.
We met Roger and his friend at the first tee. After exchanged names, I said to them, “I am not good at this game. I hope you don’t mind that I may slow you guys down.” It was a speech I often gave to the golfers we were playing with to prevent them getting frustrated later.
Roget laughed. “We’re not good either,” he said.
When three of them managed to fly their balls 175 yards ahead and mine rolled 15, I could tell Roger felt bad for me. “It’s only one bad shot,” he said, looking down.
He stood next to me, watching me play my second shot. I missed the ball totally. Playing with strangers always made me nervous. With him standing so close to me made my swing worse.
Like it or not, I got myself a new golf coach. Roger started paying more attention to my game than his own. “Don’t turn your body too much.” “Go easy.” “Don’t move your head.”… Whenever I had a good shot, he told me I was a good student. Whenever I had a bad shot, he offered some encouragement.
By the time we reached the 5th tee box, I had recovered from my nervousness and was anxious to play. It’s only 140 yard to the green, but there is a creek running right in front of the tee box. As I was getting ready to swing, Roger came and asked, “Which direction do you think you should go?”
“The flag,” I said.
“No!” He shook his head. “This way!” He pointed a spot that was 20 yards away from the green. “Do you know why?” he asked.
“Why?” I asked, trying not to get upset at him interrupting me.
“It is the shortest way to get over to the other side! Forget about the green, you have to get over the creek first.”
From the corner of my eyes, I could see Wei grinning. “Ok,” I said, but when Roger stepped back, I still aimed at the flag.
Again, Roger came. “You didn’t get it, do you?” He then showed me how to stand.
“Ok. Ok.” I turned my body a little bit, aiming at a place between the flag and where Roger wanted me to go. I thought it was a good compromise.
Roger stopped me again. “I know. I know,” I said, waving him to go back. I took a deep breath, aiming at the direction Roger had instructed me to and swung the ball. The ball landed 20 yards away from the green. It would land on the green had I not listened to Roger!
Roger scratched his head. “I didn’t know you can hit that far,” he said.
I squeezed out a smile. “I didn’t know either,” I lied.
I thought for sure that after this shot Roger would leave me alone, but no such luck. “You learn fast! Now we can move on to more advanced lessons,” he happily announced. He wasn’t kidding. He followed me all the way to the end.
I played a terrible 9-hole that day. I didn’t enjoy the game. I blamed Roger.
Thinking back, it was really not Roger’s fault. When I started with an apologetic statement saying that I wasn’t good at the game (and I was nervous and lack of confidence), it was easy to be interpreted as “please help me”. Roger, who happens to have a big heart, wanted to help.
Just two days ago, first time, I let Wei give me a golf lesson. He was surprised and happy. And I did learn a couple tricks.