We all have things that we are passionate about.
In this context I am using passion in the “strong, barely controllable emotion” sense of the word. We could also add “sometime irrational” in the definition, but it isn’t necessarily always the case.
For instance, I am passionate about my family, about human dignity and development, and about the Stargate SG1! (Great show, by the way) See, sometimes irrational.
One of the other things that I am passionate about is the game of golf. In the pantheon of my free time activities, golf ranks high on the list of activities that satisfy a deep yearning in me. There is something magnificent about taking a swing, starting the ball in flight and watching it fly. There is also something empowering about looking at a difficult shot or a bad lie and fiding a way to turn the situation to the good. Golf is a wonderful game, enjoyable and empowering on many levels.
I first discovered the game when I was fourteen. I played in a scramble with borrowed clubs. I hit a couple of good shots. I was enamored with the combination of beauty and power, of grace and grit. I tried to spend more time playing the game, but I couldn’t line things up very well.
I next experienced golf some 6 years later when I lived in England. I played with borrowed clubs, but this time I played with men who had taken the time to learn about the game, to begin to uncover its secrets. I was awed, I was inspired, but again, I had little opportunity to explore the game.
I found it again about 7 years later. I had been looking for a sport, a game, some type of physical activity that could be useful in keeping both mind and body sharp. A friend took me golfing. This time, the experience changed me. I bought some used clubs. Then I upgraded them slightly. Then I started playing more frequently. Then I started to play a little better, and a little better, and a little better.
Long story short, I fell in love with the game. I started to uncover its secrets, to discover what it could teach me, lessons not just about how to play the game better but about how the game could help me learn how to approach life better.
As they say, the rest is history. It has become a passion. I feel great emotion about playing the game, about making time to play the game. Granted, sometimes it is irrational, but it is a part of who I am.
And last Saturday, I continued the act of passing it on.
I took my son with me on a scramble tournament. He was playing with second hand clubs. He hit some good shots, and I watched as, every once in a while, a little gleam spread across his smiling face. He was congratulated by men, not just his dad, on choices he was making, shots he took and outcomes that he was realizing.
I think he is catching on to the passion!
As a man of style and substance, it is important that we pass on our passions. So many of the lessons that we learn in life can be shared but not necessarily taught. They are discovered as the experiences are shared. And when they are discovered, sometimes the passion takes hold. And then the lessons are alive! They can help others be better than they would otherwise have been.
So I guess I will keep taking my son golfing. And then, when he has started to feel it, we’ll find others to pass on the passion to. ‘Cause that’s how you honor the lessons learned from those who have gone before.
Go forth and conquer!