By Mark Casasanto
I went golfing today… I had to.
Me, myself and I.
And while I am by no means a hack, I am renewing my romance with the game thanks to an untimely rupture of my right Achilles’ tendon late in the fall of 2015, no pun intended. Post injury, I made a vow to myself, to stop the pity party and get the hell out there and do something fun, relatively speaking of course, physical and a challenge to one’s mental being. That being…being mine!
After the surgery however, and in the midst of a pending divorce, I wondered just what in the hell I did to piss anyone off? Fifteen straight days of bed rest, another four weeks of non-weight bearing and delicate management and the remainder of the way in a walking boot, with next to zero ability to drive, will completely wreck your inter sanctum of mental stability.
With a little help from dear friends and family and someone I’d soon come to legitimately love, I made it through the winter of pain and suffering, loving, losing and loving again and uprooting from the home where I raised my children. I was now on my own, in my own place and I had just turn fifty.
Life was grand momentarily. I found companionship and I had genuinely believed I found love again. She was what I needed to throw the gangway across the loss of a wife of more than 25 years, to… HEY! look at me with the 27-year-old model girlfriend. This pirate had gotten his swagger back me maties.
A year and half, give or take on how your choose to chronicle it, had past and that led to the beginning of this tumultuous month of July. The unexpected but truly wonderful relationship had begun to mutually unravel and the on again, off again nature of difficult break-ups had taken its toll on me both emotionally and mentally. Every time I thought the last farewell had been tearfully text away, yet another one followed and another….. Most at ungodly hours. Each one leading to another round of why, where, who, what, how, more whys and sleep deprived nights.
I went golfing today because I had to…
You see, if golf doesn’t mirror the game of life, then what does? We all want to be winners, sink birdies and shoot under par. But I challenge you to show me someone who hasn’t needed a mulligan along the way, or has had a run of bad rounds resulting in double and triple bogeys. In the end, most of us shoot for par, surrounded by the occasional birdie and bogey. This we can accept or at least I can. This last year and a half however, I truly shot under par. But that good run had now suddenly sputtered to a deadening stop.
Now, let me add the age old adage, “when feathers appear, angels are near” to the equation.
I didn’t need any mulligans on the links today. No one would’ve known anyway, I played the course solo. But, one thing oddly different out there today was what I thought to be an inordinate amount of feathers. Still, I played on… Not earth shatteringly good, but I was out there and that’s what mattered. Truthfully, I paid more mind to managing my way around the goose crap than the feathers on the fairways.
As I approached the 5th tee box, I sat and waited, completely lost in my own thoughts on the weekend drama, the love I lost and yes, being the fabulous host of yet another pity party. The duo ahead of me were finishing up the hole. Softly, a feather floated by my head and seemingly stood upright at the base of my golf bag as if to say, “ummm, do I have your attention now?”
I stayed seated for a few more minutes and in rather deep thought. A conversation with my father many moons ago, as he would’ve said, suddenly came to me about his musings on life and living it to the fullest regardless of the status quo. If this wasn’t him slapping me upside the head Moonstruck style telling me to “snap outta it”, then it damn sure was the golf ghost of Mermaid Lake.
I went on to birdie that hole, and dropped par the next three out of four. Not bad considering I only played nine holes today. What’s more important however was the recognition that I was steering off course, adrift in unsettling seas. An expected, but unwanted storm front had rolled in and knocked my foundation from solid to shaky. Who would have thought that a feather blowing in the wind would deliver the life mulligan needed to navigate towards a safer harbor?
Life’s too short to waste it away on wondering why, sometimes you just got to grab your feather and go…