June 14, 2011 - Ralph Cissne
Many of my closest golf friends are bachelors. The older ones have been married and are compelled to coach the twenty-some-things on the rewards of patience. The few friends who are married don’t seem to play as often as the others. Even if you love golf it is reasonable that you love your family more. Like an effective golf swing, healthy relationships require stability, balance and perspective.
About a year ago I started leaving my sneakers untied. I don’t wear shoes in my place (it’s a yoga thing) so this is convenient for my lifestyle as I live at the beach now. Unless on a long walk the laces hang loose like looping black waves above my arches. Some evenings I roam the strand by the ocean with my shoes untied and consider using the beach as a practice bunker, but haven’t made that happen. You never know when you may need to play a shot from wet packed sand.
During our marriage the wife never complained about my passion for golf, but after our divorce her experience unrolled like a Persian rug. Her voice was calm yet firm and, in that moment, surprisingly attractive. I was completely attentive when she said, “For seven long years all you did was play golf, practice golf, talk about golf and watch golf on television.” A revelation because I never thought that behavior was abnormal. You learn a lot when someone suddenly stops laughing at your jokes.
Several years later, filled with reflection and existential bachelorhood, I wrote this poem: “Fools fall in love and, clutching their remorse, fools fall apart. The wise move into love like a comfortable old home with lots of room to be alone together.” It’s instructive to be clear about what you want and the choices we make. That way you avoid considerable pain, suffering or arguing about how much time you spend watching The Golf Channel.
A woman I met recently listened to a few of my stories and laughed before she said, “My god, I don’t even know you and I already feel like a golf widow.” Not everyone understands the value of self-reliance and the lessons of golf, the challenge the game represents and the opportunity to discover more of who we are. And there are some who do. We move on, raking bunkers whether we stepped in them or not. I wonder how your passion for golf has influenced the quality of your relationships? WOG