“Terror so intense I cannot shake it…”

by Al Pastor

"By the power grab invested in me, I now pronounce this meeting of the fat shot and oh no society adjourned."

“By the power grab invested in me, I now pronounce this meeting of the fat shot and oh no society adjourned.”

Script That’s Golf!  11/17/13

DATELINE: AUSTIN, TX.

THIS IS THE 8’ O’CLOCK SERVICE FOR THE GOLFING IMPAIRED. SPIKES WELCOME. WE’RE AN EXCLUSIVE PRESENTATION OF SPORTSTALK AM 1300 THE ZONE AND YOUR AUSTIN AREA COMMUNITY CHURCH OF THE INVETERATE DUFFER.

THE HOUR’S ENDEAVOR IS TO ENHANCE OUR APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE GAME OF GOLF, A GAME OF:

  • REAPPRAISAL,
  • RECOVERY,
  • REACQUAINTANCE,
  • REEXAMINATION,
  • REACTION,
  • REEVALUATION,
  • REALITY,
  • REBIRTH,
  • RECOGNITION,
  • RECTITUDE,
  • RECKONING,

And, WITH LUCK, REWARD AND RECONCILIATION.

IT BEING SUNDAY MORNING, OUR NEW TIME SLOT, WE TYPICALLY OPEN WITH A MESSAGE OF INSPIRATION.

OUR TEXT THIS MORNING COMES FROM MIKE LINDER, A CATHOLIC PRIEST IN CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE. HE’S WRITTEN ON GOLF AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. THIS IS FROM HIS BOOK, PLAY IT AS IT LIES, PUBLISHED IN 1996 BY WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX PRESS.

FATHER MIKE WRITES:

“ON ANY NUMBER OF OCCASIONS, AN AFTERNOON AT THE GOLF COURSE HAS BECOME A PAINFUL EXPERIENCE, ONE THAT I WOULDN’T WISH UPON ANYBODY. THE ROUND USUALLY BEGINS TAMELY ENOUGH, BUT AS IT PROGRESSES, EVERYTHING DETERIORATES AND I FIND THAT I HAVE DUG MYSELF A HOLE THAT THREATENS TO BURY ME. BY THE TIME I HAVE REACHED THIS POINT, MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS HAVE BECOME SO EXTREME THAT I CANNOT TRUST EVEN THE SIMPLEST IDEA OR EMOTION. BUT THESE EXTREMES OF THINKING AND FEELING ARE, DURING SOME ROUNDS, MERELY THE SYMPTOMS WHICH I RECOGNIZE AT THE SURFACE. A GREATER PROBLEM LIES MUCH DEEPER WITHIN ME.”

HE CONTINUES:

“I HAD ANOTHER DREADFUL EXPERIENCE RECENTLY, AND AS I THINK ABOUT IT NOW, I BELIEVE THAT I AM ON THE THRESHOLD OF AN IMPORTANT INSIGHT. IT HAS ELUDED ME IN THE PAST, BUT THE MOST RECENT TERROR WAS SO INTENSE THAT I CANNOT SHAKE IT. IT CLINGS TO ME LIKE A SOGGY SWEATSHIRT THAT CAN ONLY BE PEELED, WITH DIFFICULTY, FROM MY SAGGING BODY. SO RATHER THAN STRUGGLING TO GET THE SHIRT OFF, I HAVE DECIDED TO LET IT STAY ON FOR A WHILE. PERHAPS IN GOLF, AS IN THE SPIRITUAL QUEST, MOMENTS OF DESPAIR CAN BECOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH, FOR NEW LIFE AND NEW POSSIBILITIES. IF WE ALLOW THE BAD TIMES TO LINGER (RATHER THAN TO SEE WAYS TO MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR), WE MIGHT JUST DISCOVER WHAT THEY CAN TELL US ABOUT OURSELVES.”

(HERE, I’LL BREAK IN, AS WE’LL SKIP AHEAD. YOU NEEDN’T HEAR ABOUT THE INTENSE TERROR, AS IT’S EASILY IMAGINED. WE’VE ALL HAD DAYS LIKE THAT.)

HERE IS FATHER LINDER’S CONCLUSION:

“GOLF IS SPIRITUAL BECAUSE IT DEMANDS THAT A PLAYER REMAIN IN THE PRESENT, AT LEAST IF SHE OR HE WANTS TO ACHIEVE ANY SUCCESS AT ALL. IT TURNS OUT THAT A LIFE WELL LIVED DEMANDS THIS SAME FOCUS ON THE MOMENT. NO MATTER WHAT WE ARE DOING, THE PRESENT IS A MIDDLE PATH WHICH STEERS BETWEEN THE EXTREMES OF THE PAST AND FUTURE. ALL OF US TEND TO VEER OFF TOWARD ONE OR ANOTHER OF THE EXTREMES, AND SOME OF US ARE GOOD AT MOVING TOWARD THE PAST AND FUTURE SIMULTANEOUSLY.

“IF WE THOUGHT ABOUT IT AT ALL, WE WOULD REALIZE THAT A PREOCCUPATION WITH EITHER THE PAST OR THE FUTURE ROBS US OF THE ENERGY THAT WE NEED IN THE PRESENT. GOLF CAN HELP US TO SEE THIS, BECAUSE THE REWARDS OR PUNISHMENTS FOR STRAYING FROM THE PRESENT ARE SO CLEAR AND SO IMMEDIATE. THUS IT IS FAR EASIER TO SEE HOW REMAINING IN THE PRESENT CAN HELP US. IN ADDITION, THE STAKES ARE RELATIVELY LOW ON THE GOLF COURSE, BUT WE MIGHT DECIDE TO TAKE WHAT WE’VE LEARNED INTO OUR OTHER ENDEAVORS.”

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