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Monday, April 7, 2014

After the Tourney is Over . . .

Lexi Thompson joins the Poppy's Pond Jump Club
I have a kind of morning after feeling as I confront a cold, dreary Monday with a long to-do list that just doesn't inspire me.  What's this about?

Sunday was an all-around golf day.  I have a long history of slipping out to the golf course on Sunday morning for 9 holes of solitary practice, throwing down another ball, or two or even three to correct a bad shot, try a shot with two or three different clubs, and so I slipped out to the course and played 9 just to give my new shoulder another road test, enjoyed a pleasant Sunday brunch, and then settled down in front of the television and readied myself for what I'd anticipated would be a riveting four-way battle for the Kraft Nabisco Championship.  Sunday began with the promise of being the sort of day I generally enjoy, but this Sunday didn't sparkle and fizz.

The morning road test had some bumps.  Ten days after surgery I'm finding that I need a bit more warm-up time, or I need to aim about 30 degrees left of my target for the first four holes.  My newly cleaned and spiffed-up shoulder joint is still a little stiff and needs some encouragement and support to get up to speed.

I also learned that a joint capable of swinging a golf club and even making a fairly good follow-through is surrounded by muscles that aren't quite strong enough to take the full weight of my upper body.  That painful understanding came when I tried to pull myself back to a sitting position in the cart after I retrieved a mulligan off the fairway.   I don't especially enjoy free weights but they seem to be looming in my near future.

The road test has left me fretting about the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association spring tournament next Saturday.  I'm afraid my new shoulder isn't going to be quite ready.  I want to play golf like a nineteen year old, not like a septuagenerian.  I'd settle for forty-something.  Alas, in golf as in life, what you see if what you get, and I got a 10-day post surgical septuagenerian who is tapping her foot and feeling a bit impatient.

Then there was Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco.  The contest I'd anticipated between Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, Se Ri Pak and Charley Hull for the Sunday afternoon leap into Poppy's Pond didn't materialize.  Hull faded first and couldn't get her game going.  Pak wanted the win too much and her game just couldn't keep up with her emotional appetite.  Thompson just plain outplayed Wie, who kept sending putts off the right edge of the cup.  By the turn the outcome was all but written.  I'd been ready for an adrenalin-driving four hours of back and forth match play and instead Sunday at The Dinah was an exhibition of athletic excellence against a backdrop of crushing disappointment and defeat and my empathy for Hull, Pak and Wie cast a bit of a shadow over my delight at Thompson's victory.  I wanted her to work harder to get there.

The lesson in all this?  Inevitably, for most of us there will be a gap between expectations and the reality of the lived moment.  If we don't try, and give it everything we have to that effort, we'll never have the opportunity to join the Poppy's Pond Jump Club.  But we need to accept from the outset that only one of us gets to join the club in any given moment of all-out effort.