“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” —Henry Ford
I relentlessly muttered this quote to myself the other day while I was on the golf course.
“I think I can, I think I can.”
I climbed up on the tee box, stuck the tee in the ground, took a practice swing.
“I think I can,” I muttered like a mantra I keep repeating.
I swing for real.
The ball does not co-operate. Almost every time, Henry and his famous quote fail me.
The ball dribbles down the fairway, goes far left or far right or plops into sand or water or whatever obstacle is out there.
I drag my sorry self back to my golf clubs, drop the offending club in the bag and climb into the car with my brother-in-law, shamefully keeping my head low, my eyes averted.
In my mind, I argue with Henry Ford, telling him he probably had never even picked up a golf club, only invented cars, so he doesn’t really understand thinking you can simply doesn’t work on the golf course.
But, still, in spite of my argument with Henry, I discovered I was having so much fun.
We golfed at a little course by Eckville, a course inhabited by more sheep than golfers. And flowing through the course is the old Horse Guard River, as brown and muddy as it was when I was a child.
And as we rode along the bumpy golf path and I look out and see that river, for just a quick second in time, I’m back there. Riding with my dad and my brother in an old ’49 Chevy as we made our way down to the river to go for a swim. My brother, running up the sandy hill dotted with sunflowers just before we got there. Running just because he could. That old brown river flowed through all the days of my childhood, a constant reminder of all that was simple and good.
We arrive at the next hole.
My nephew who is, without a doubt, one of the best golfers I have ever had the privilege of knowing, has only one arm.
His golf swing is smooth and accurate which I love, but mostly I love how he smiles with his eyes.
He watched me patiently from the sidelines, quietly smoking a cigarette. I looked at him and plead, “help me.”
He tossed aside his smoke and purposefully walked over to the tee box.
“Okay, Treen,” he said. “Try this.”
He sets up my Tee and tells me to imagine the outside rim of a dinner plate. “It’s not about hitting the ball,” he says. “It’s about your swing. “Try to go around that dinner plate.”
Then he suggested I imagine the head of a politician; one I didn’t like very well. “I’m not naming any names,” he said. “Only you know.”
“Imagine his face under your tee.”
He backed away.
I set up, addressed the ball, imagined what he told me to imagine, and took a swing.
The ball soared down the fairway, far and high.
I smiled at my nephew. He smiled back. There was no need for words.
Golf is a funny game. So is your imagination.
Sometimes, it just runs wild and that could be a good thing.
Treena Mielke is a Central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.