This goes out to the ones who sacrificed their own wants and desires so the rest of us could do pretty much whatever we wanted, our moms. I didn’t exactly lead a deprived childhood, but we weren’t living the life of the Rockefellers either. What I remember most though is whenever I or my brother or sisters really wanted something, we’d ask our mom. (Dad worked a lot but we would have asked mom anyway.) We didn’t always get it, but if we didn’t, it was usually because it was a ridiculous request, like a dirt bike or a pony.
If we wanted a ride to Jordan pool, or my old buddy Chris and I wanted a lift to Fairview Golfland, it was a rarity she ever said no (we forgave her the one time she forgot the more important part of driving us to Jordan pool, the picking up.)
There were four of us within six years of each other, and I’m sure we weren’t always in agreement on where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do (like never), but still, somehow, she didn’t kill us. It didn’t seem like a big deal in the ‘70s. Some moms worked (like mine), but they didn’t tend to be full-time, always-away-from-home type jobs.
At the time, I never thought my mother was sacrificing anything, but as I got older and learned more about her I realized how intelligent and passionate she was about things. She got rather involved in politics in her spare time and I imagine she would have liked to get much more involved if it wasn’t for us meddling kids. I found out she was athletic when she was younger, though outside of Friday night bowling she never took the time to do anything for herself.
So for any of you moms who had to hold back on your passions— especially in the realm of recreational activities—it’s time to let loose. There are more than a few women who come in for a lesson and are afraid they will not be able to play golf because they have never played another sport in their life, or not in the last few decades, anyway. So what? Nobody dies from swinging a golf club (some occasionally die as a result of the swing, but you gotta break a couple of eggs if you’re going to make an omelette).
Golf is physically easy to play because it can be played at so many different levels. If it’s tennis or baseball or bronco riding, or something else that you always dreamed of doing, go give it a shot as well, but golf is a lot easier than all of them.
The game of golf is physically easy, but there are still obstacles out there that keep many women from sticking with the game. One of the biggest is the small but very vocal group of men who still think it is their god-given right to control who is allowed to play this game and when.
I had a young lady in last week who is just getting into the game. She may have started years ago but for an incident at a tournament she was attending through work. There was a pro hired to play with and help the participants. This woman was nervous and had a great deal of trouble even hitting the ball. Did this guy try to put her at ease and encourageher? No. He told her she should take up tennis. Probably thought he was hilarious. It took her years to decide to give it another try.
If this was a one-off thing, fine. But virtually every woman who has played the game for any length of time has a story of being harassed or belittled by male golfers (sometimes their own husbands or sons).
The one thing my wife, Lissa, and I are very careful about doing with our daughters is ensuring they chase their passions as far as they can. Liss was laughed at as a kid because she used to say she wanted to be a middle-infielder for the Detroit Tigers when she grew up. When our daughter Lily was seven she wanted to play hockey for the Leafs (must have been the time she fell out of the crib and landed on her head) and our daughter Tessa was six she wanted to be a ballerina. Such dreams are kept alive by their dreamers, and supportive parents. The fact our moms sacrificed so much taught us not to limit our daughters’ hopes.
Mothers and grandmothers, enough of putting everyone else first.
“I don’t have time for golf or tennis because I babysit the grandkids all the time.”
Too bad! You’re spoiling them too much anyway. Put them in daycare a couple of mornings a week, where they learn they don’t get candies for breakfast and ice cream for lunch everyday, and they have to learn how to share toys.
Get out there, ladies. If you run into the old guard men who still try to make you feel the game of golf should be reserved for men, kick them in the golf balls and play right through. ♦
John Piccolo is the golf instructor and runs Piccolo’s Custom Golf Shop at Eagle Valley Golf Club in Niagara Falls. Email your questions or comments to [email protected]