My kids have played almost every sport known to humankind over the years, but they have generally stayed away from signing up for the sports I don’t know much about. There has been no wrestling or volleyball, and, thankfully, only brief soccer periods early in their athletic lives.
But now Quinn has decided to go out for the high school golf team. I’m happy for him. He really enjoys the game and I think he has potential. But as a guy with only limited practical golf experience, I have no idea what is expected of me.
Until someone tells me otherwise, I’m going to assume it’s okay to attend the matches (or, are they called meets?) – but I don’t know what to do when I get there. I do have experience as a fan at golf courses, but up until now, it has been to watch cross country races. So in one respect I think being a golf dad might actually be easier than being a cross country dad – I won’t have to kill myself sprinting from spot to spot to see Quinn for a few fleeting moments. Walking will be good. But, do I follow him around for the whole match (uh, meet)? Depending on the length of the race, cross country is over in 15 or 20 minutes. Doesn’t it take two or three hours to play a round of golf? Baseball and basketball games can take that long, but there is some actual action involved in those contests. A few hours just watching a guy swing a club at a little ball? Out in the cold and wind of an Iowa spring? Being at the day job sounds better than that. I suppose cheering is okay, but probably not in the manner I’m used to for the other sports. I suppose I can yell “Get in the hole!” or “You da man!” after every one of Quinn’s swings, but perhaps I’d better wait to see if any other parents are doing it first. And I’ve heard of the golf clap, but never tried it. There is much to learn and not much time.
Basketball and baseball are Quinn’s other sports. I was a decent player in both in my day and have a good working knowledge of skills and strategies, so I have enjoyed being able to coach him up a little and offer advice along the way. But I may be the world’s worst golfer. Other than, “Keep your eye on the ball,” I can’t offer up much of anything to him. My guess is that he’s seeing that as a definite plus, but it will be a void for me.
There is no good reason that I shouldn’t at least be a decent golfer today. When I was a kid, my dad had a membership to a course and I could play as much as I wanted for free – but I just didn’t. He was an avid player and I played with him every once in a while. But he was pretty good – at his peak his handicap was around 8 or 9 – and the last thing good golfers want to do is play with bad golfers. (The last time we played together, I hit a house with an errant shot.) He did his best to help me, but I never got it. One time we were playing through some rain and when we finished, I said, “Well, I must be a real golfer now. I played in the rain.” He answered, “If you were a real golfer, you wouldn’t have even noticed it was raining.”
So maybe I will have a least a few words of wisdom to offer Quinn on the game of golf after all: “Rain? What rain?” I’m just not sure I want to stand in it when I’m watching him.