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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Laaser

A Slice of Joy in a Time of Grief

The call came in just a few days that the “Board” had decided to let Angel and I fill the two spots that were open in the golf league. I was in! And it immediately sparked a small joy for the season that was to start in January 2020.

Andy, a friend of my two sons, invited the three of us to join he and his fiancé for dinner after Mark passed away last fall. It was one of the first times I had agreed to “go out.” I loved that many of my sons’ friends seem to want me to know they were “there for me” for whatever I needed. Their protective nature was very dear.

Before long, the conversation turned to sports, especially the upcoming golf season. I didn’t know it at the time, but Andy had created a fantasy golf league years ago in which 30 guys participated. Picks were made for each golf tournament, and your accumulated score represented the money your selected golfers won each week. The enthusiasm and laughter at the table grew as the three guys shared stories of the past. Angel and I sat engaged, but quiet.

Then a Thread of Curiosity passed through me. I love golf. This could be fun. I was nudged to ask, “Are you taking any new people in your league?” “Well”, said Andy, “it’s actually only been for guys!” That led us into a lively conversation about considering opening it up to women! After all, here were two women who knew a lot about golf and played the game—how perfect. Andy said there was a Board of Directors that ran the league, and he would have to bring the suggestion to them. We would have to apply to get in. You do need to know there was a kidding nature about all of this conversation.

More Than a Game

My dad taught me how to golf when I was a young girl. It was a favorite game of his, and there was nothing he enjoyed more than having his family join him for a round of golf. Unfortunately, my mom never took much to the sport. She preferred her sewing hobbies to the idea of getting a little white ball in a very, small hole wearing shoes with spikes and lugging around a bag with clubs—we always walked when we played golf.

I could see her point, until I learned the game myself. There are always several missions when you sign up for a game of golf. If you are not playing so well, you can chalk it up to some good exercise. Or it can be a lovely “walk in the park,” so to speak. There are birds to watch and nature to partake regardless of what that little while ball is doing. But when your game is on, you can envision all kinds of tournaments you might enter and reputation you might acquire by being so accomplished at this game! Well maybe, it is just the nice tan you are taking home for the day. Whatever it is, there seems to be something wonderful about a round of golf.

While Mark and I both loved to play the game, it was not very practical with young kids. We did not have much money in those days, and we did not have long afternoons either. This sport just was not meant to be for us young parents. But when the kids went off to college and we had much more time to ourselves, we fell into a routine of playing as often as we could. We even traveled to vacation spots specifically to play beautiful courses.

A Growing Passion

One of our favorite outings was going to golf school outside of San Diego after Mark had finished speaking to a group of pastors. We enrolled in a three-day course with a golf professional who was to teach two couples. For some reason, the other couple did not show up, and Mark and I had the individualized attention of this teacher for the entire class. We were like two kids who had won the lottery! Needless, to say, playing golf, watching golf, and encouraging friends to learn golf, became a passion of ours as a couple.

The call came in just a few days that the ‘Board’ had decided to let Angel and I fill the two spots that were open in the golf league. I was in! And it immediately sparked a small joy for the season that was to start in January 2020. I poured over the tournaments and players, read stats, explored professional golfers’ picks. My phone alarm was set for Wednesday night at 7pm to remind me to make my pick before the upcoming tournament. Sometimes it would ring in the middle of a dinner or a meeting—and I would laugh and say, “It’s just my reminder to get my golf pick in!” This Thread of Curiosity was bringing small slices of joy in a difficult time of grieving.

I had an initial desire to show these guys that girls know golf and I was going to win this thing! That’s my competitive side, I guess. I made some good picks. I watched a lot of golf to see how my players were doing. I learned a lot about new players who were less known on the tour. This thread lead to months and months of fun and conversation.

For your information, the final rankings just came out last night after the Master’s Tournament. I finished last. And I had a blast.I have next year to try again.

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