OK, so the great quarterback was 13 over par after six at The Match on Sunday…in front of half the world watching safely on TV…with trash-talker supreme Charles Barkley hounding him every inch of the way. Brady couldn’t find a fairway or green with a hand wedge. But we’ve all been there, right? We’ve all been hammered by the vicissitudes of golf. I even broke my high school golf coach’s pitching wedge once after flubbing a pitch! But, as I wrote in my golf book, the fortunes of golf can change as swiftly as the swish of a horse’s tail, as the Buddha said talking about all things in life. So Brady comes to the par 5 7th, in the pouring rain, and what’s on his mind? Are his teeth gnashing and grinding? Is he swearing like a sailor? Is he regretting he ever took on this charity gig with fellow NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, Phil, and Tiger to raise money for Covid-19 victims and front line defenders? Maybe. But often we can know what’s on someone’s mind by the results of their next action. For within the brain, there is a filter that receives all thought and desires, then translates, defines, and helps us decide what action is right and appropriate, synthesizing all sorts of data based on past experience, what we learned in school, what our parents taught us, and who knows what else.
So Brady just experienced a very embarrassing six holes. His first three shots on the 7th brings him to within 100 yards of the green. Not great but he takes his usual address, concentrates and swings. Brooks Koepke has just called in a 100K donation if Brady makes par or better on the hole. Tom’s ball hit 10 feet past the hole, bites, and backspins into the hole for a natural bird. There are no fans for this match but everyone else there goes berserk with congratulations, including Barkley, with Tom throwing well-earned zingers back at Charles! And a few hole later, Brady follows it by sinking a 25-footer for a best-ball eagle with his partner Phil Michelson. They lose the increasingly exciting match only one down, but Brady put the first six holes behind him and had a respectable back nine.
Oh, and BTW, the guys helped raise 20 million to battle this pandemic. Bowing deeply to them, and all the donors, for that. It’s golf and golfers giving back to this old world.
So, there it is. Golf. As the late (from this virus) John Prine wrote and sang, “Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down: That’s the way that the world goes round.” And that’s why people return to golf, time after time. Even these great football quarterbacks. No other sport is quite like it. Whatever your handicap, you can, at times, feel like a pro. You just need to maintain a positive attitude, letting go of what needs to be let go of, and paying rapt attention to the matter at hand, namely the particular shot you’re dealing with.
It is, therefore, as much a meditation practice as sitting on a cushion reciting a mantra or koan.
I couldn’t have said this any better, so I offer here a benediction from the editor of Dogleg News: “Today is Memorial Day and we’re still battling the Corona Virus pandemic. Please take a moment to pause and reflect on all those who have given “Their Last Full Measure Of Devotion.” Pause and remember all those who have fallen on battlefields around the world in service to our country, those brave men and women who answered the call, paid the ultimate price so that we can enjoy the freedoms our nation provides.”
Stay well, take care, and enjoy the game.