Teed Off
Off the Wall, April 25
, 2013

Any time someone has done something in the name of sports, I think people young and old want to try to imitate the star’s actions and try to do well. Arnie created stir around here, I believe, as many have taken swings at that little white ball, some doing exceptionally well, and others, it’s best not good to say anything if it isn’t positive.

But, I’m not here to talk about the gentleman today. I wish to share my “take,” if you want to call it that, on what it must be like to be the golf ball sitting on top of a tee.

So what I’m going to do is not only personalize the little round projectile, but instill in it senses as well. Then it is hoped that one can visualize the message I plan to convey.

Next, I’m going to employ an analogy, a way Jesus Christ conveys messages in the Holy Scriptures, using a comparative story as a way of getting people to understand a point in hand. I only wish I could do it as well as He did. So, here goes. I will pick one friend who I will call Dave. I don’t think I have ever used this name in any of my columns, so he will be the character swinging the club. Of course, I will be the ball. This sport, after all, requires three components – a person committing the action (Dave), an instrument and an object which will be struck a lot – the ball (that’s me, of course).

So there we were one sunny Tuesday afternoon. Dave had taken work off early and decided to head for his favorite golf course. Keeping me warm in his pocket, he told me (yes, he talks to balls, too) this would be a chance of a life time to see wide open spaces, soar above the trees, and hopefully rise in the directions he would have me travel.

When we arrived, I couldn’t see what he was up to, only that he stopped walking. All of a sudden, I sensed vibration throughout the walls of the clothing that kept me snug. Seconds later, I felt his fingers grasp me and pull me away from the comforts of where I lay. It wasn’t long after I found myself sitting atop a golf tee overlooking a vastness of God’s creation. It was beautiful and restful. I could look up and see the planes ascending from the airport, watch the geese fly in their V-formation or browse downward and study the lawn and the many blades that made up its surface. The temperature was perfect.

As I sat there, all of a sudden I felt something slam me from behind, unannounced, and I found myself climbing to new heights looking back to see Dave watching me. It was a weird feeling to realize the guy I had trusted all this time, who just 20 minutes previously had kept me warm and protected had broad-sided me and cast me into the wind.

There was a lot that went through my mind at those moments. What did I do to deserve this? A lot can go through my mind during moments like this. Just because I was “teed off” when I didn’t expect it, should I be angered by the setback, or enjoy the freedoms that I see ahead of me? I began to laugh when various species of fowl caught glimpses of me soaring past them. And they thought they had reign of the airways. Their expressions were priceless.

All of a sudden I felt myself heading downward and saw the ground approaching. I had previously been caught up in two moments of bliss only to now realizing I was going to “thud-out” upon hitting the ground. “Thanks Dave,” I thought. I made a dent in the ground, rolled and stopped. Realizing what happened, I had to regain my composure. As a ball, I now got the picture. There are going to be many times in life I will get hit when I don’t see it coming, but know something good is going to result from it in the long run.

The real challenge in life is not to stay grounded, but learn how to get back up on that tee so that we can breathe the clean air, view all of God’s creations and know great things will lie ahead. Sure, we’re going to get hit when we least expect it, but that’s life. Don’t stay stuck in the mud. Dave may cradle me when he picks me up, bathe me and even give me a good rub down so I can be a standout among the others. But beware, time and time again, I will be struck when I least expect it. Each time, I have to make it a teaching tool.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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