Golf: It’s Only A Game, Right?

golf-teeing-offI started playing golf again after a ten to twelve year hiatus because, well, I never quite got the idea of hitting the ball. And when I did connect, let’s just say people got out of the way.

But after watching the Masters and U.S. Open I decided to try again for several reasons – to get some exercise outside, spend time with friends and maybe get some cool clothes. So I did what any wise person would do to prepare I went straight to the first tee at a local course with a friend.

I mean what could be so hard and besides they now have that red line that follows your ball? I also got some new clubs that a pro told me were great for seniors like me. Something about they were lighter and wouldn’t strain my body so much as though golf is supposedly some kind of physically demanding sport.

So there we were on number one with me trying to remember what club Jordan Spieth would use.  Hmm, he hit three wood here about 260.  Yep, that works for me. These senior clubs are a little heavier then I thought!

I’m actually not sure how far my first drive went, but let’s just say I only saw it for a very brief time and I somehow missed spotting the red line behind it. Okay, so there is apparently still a rule about having to continuously hit the ball in a certain direction. The laughter from the carts waiting behind us also told me that golf is no longer a polite-person’s game. Oh, like I suppose you play like Phil.

I did eventually watch some golf instruction videos on You Tube. These free sessions, all hosted by people with British accents (of course Britain is the home of golf and beer), describe the 264 laws of physics that must be applied if you ever hope to see your ball travel past the ladies’ tees or avoid injuring the general public. By the way, why do the Brits measure their shots in yards instead of meters?

Apparently there are rules about take away, wrist cock, grip pressure, back swing, follow through, club speed (precisely 432 mph), shoulder turn, weight transfer, staying hydrated (and by this they mean beer) and Johnny Miller that must all be followed in just the right order or you will no doubt have to return to the first tee and start over.  I believe that’s called a Mulligan.

Anyhow, if my body could actually do all of those things, much more so in some kind of logical order, I might start preparing for America’s Got Talent right now! The snooty British guy seemed to think I would be able to get my swing down if I just did each of the exercises he prescribed a thousand times a day.

I decided that this was way too complicated so I determined to just try to hit the ball (a Titlist of course) as far as I could and then merely talk like I knew what I was doing. I got a little wristy there, Jon. Had a flyer on that one, Alan. I needed to aim a little more right, Dave, and take it down a club. Yep, flew my elbow that time. Just can’t seem to make a putt.  That sand sure seems damp today. Oops, the wind came up last minute. Where’s the beer cart?

Of course, some people getting up in years have the goal to shoot their age. I will be sixty – eight soon and am hoping to realize that achievement in the near future through at least the first five holes. The truth is that I would have to live as long as early biblical characters to ever shoot my age and by then Jim Nance will be dead and not available to call it.

Oh well, see you on the first tee. I may be there a while.

If You Need More Worship Leaders Or Team Members, Find a Josh.

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A lot of us lost a great friend the other day. More poignantly a family lost a dad, husband, son, grandpa and more. Josh Calvin was one of those guys who made a room, situation, band practice or simple fun time that much better. Sadly, cancer took him way too soon.

I was privileged to be one of his pastors and a fellow musician on our worship team from time to time over a period of eight years in Austin, Texas. And while I left a few rehearsals irritated with myself or others now and then, I can’t ever remember being disappointed in Josh’s contribution to our time together.

He always brought some things to the table of our rehearsal and playing times that I think we might be wise to look for and expect in those who lead or participate in our worship times and even other leadership roles. If nothing else we might pray for and seek out more team members just like Josh.

Let me suggest a few of the qualities that made him pretty special.

Josh was darn good at what he did – playing the guitar. No, Josh wasn’t the best player I ever met but he was always prepared, willing to be taught and eager to do the very best he could do. I’ll take that any day over the diva-like, primadonna players who cover their lack of preparation well but aren’t really ready for prime time and haven’t given their best.

Josh made others look good. If you’re a decent musician you understand the phrase less is more. Josh played less, but better so that the other parts in the band got the attention they deserved or the help they needed to sound even better. He didn’t use his talents to showcase himself while covering up the abilities or unique playing of the rest of the team. I remember time after time when I was playing keys next to him and we easily bowed out for a time while the other took the lead on some section of a song.

Josh sweated the small things while not making too big a deal out of the ones that didn’t matter. Like I said Josh always did his best but he wasn’t fiendishly worried about some little adjustment that perhaps wouldn’t be fixed and therefore he might not sound good enough. Josh often made things work with what he had or we had including potential limitations that perhaps couldn’t be avoided that week. I knew that when Josh was playing that week that we weren’t going to have any meltdowns when something didn’t work.

Josh always took time to care about others. He’d ask you how your week was, engage in fun conversation about hiking or whatever but included listening to your stories not just telling his. When he said he’d pray for you he meant it. He’d stick around and talk if you needed him to. He was willing to share his own weaknesses, too, as a bit of encouragement to someone else.

Josh took time to ponder and slow down. I remember looking forward to hearing about his next backpacking trip, getaway on some remote trail and what he’d be reading while he was gone. He knew the value of refilling and reflection that I’m convinced brought the depth he had to other parts of his life.

Frankly, I don’t know what all led to Josh being the way he was, at least in my experience, but I’m thankful for who he became and for the people I know he impacted, including me. Our teams could use a lot more like Josh. I’m just sad that we didn’t get more time with him, at least for now.