40 The True Golf
Sean was just a little boy, about eight years old, suffering from cancer. When I first met him one summer day, he wore a Chicago Bulls cap and baggy shorts that needed a belt. He carried a bag stocked with four clubs and plenty of balls. He was a lot smaller than other kids his age. Still, he always seemed to be smiling whenever I would see him with his pals, trying to hit as far as they did.
I played with Sean once in a while. He told me that he always had the best chance when playing a par-3 because he could usually make it to the green.
A year or so passed and I hadn't seen Sean around the course. I had heard that his cancer was getting the best of him. Still, his friends said he was going to try to get out and play a few times before fall.
Sure enough, he was there the following week. My group went out just ahead of him. I noticed that one of his buddies was carrying Sean's bag. "Watch out!" I heard Sean tell his pals. "I feel kind of lucky today!"
Despite his words, Sean was having an awful time trying to drive the ball. He and his friends arrived at the last par-3. His friends had all hit, and Sean was on the tee. He hit the ball as hard as his fragile body would allow. It flew up to the green and out of sight. One of his friends helped Sean walk up to the green. It was a tough walk because the green was higher than the tee. I could see Sean searching for his ball as he stopped to catch his breath.
Sean's friends were looking for their balls behind the green. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of his friends pick up Sean's ball and drop it in the hole. Then he ran and pretended to look for his own ball. He caught my staring at him and winked .
When Sean finally got to the green, he was disappointed because he thought he hit over. Then he glanced in the hole. What a smile lit up his face! The boys looked at each other and said, "You can't tell me it's a hole-in- one!" "No way, Sean, that you put it in there!"
No, really! Look! he said. They all acted surprised and as I watched, I thought Sean looked like the happiest guy I had ever seen. I never saw Sean or his friends after that day. But it was then that I learned just what golf should be.
It's not about what score you get or how far you drive. It is about caring for the friends you play with and enjoying the time you have with them.
(By Adel Guzzo)