Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In a Family Way

Ladies Professional Golf Association champion Lorena Ochoa -- one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in 2008 and a multi-million dollar winner on the tour -- is retiring from professional golf.

She is twenty-eight years old. The guessing is she wants to start a family.

Why is it we never see male professional golfers retire when they want to start a family? Biology? Of course, but standing alone that's not a satisfactory answer; not entirely.

Quite some years ago, when we were young and frisky, we met a fellow who comes as close as we have ever seen to making the same sacrifice as Ochoa. He wasn't a professional golfer. Just your ordinary, moderately well-to-do, middle class kind of guy.

We were standing with a good friend on the first tee of a beautiful 18-hole public course in Portland, Oregon, about to start an 18-hole round. Most such golf rounds take four hours or so. We were so bad at the game, though, that it took us at least an hour longer and sometimes more. Mostly, this was because we spent a lot of time looking for our golf balls in the weeds and trying to fish them out of the ponds.

A man we didn't know -- whose name we have long since forgotten -- walked up to the first tee with an old leather golf bag slung over his shoulder. He asked if he could join us.

"Sure," we said enthusiastically. We were just beginners, our friend explained, and we'd be happy to have any golf tips he cared to pass along.

"I doubt I can help you there," the man said. "I haven't played golf in eighteen years."

We were incredulous. "Eighteen years!" In the callow days of our youth, that seemed like an eternity.

Naturally, we asked him why he hadn't played in so long. We were hoping the answer had nothing to do with prison time or some fearsome tropical illness.

"Eighteen years ago yesterday," the stranger said, "my daughter was born. That same day I put my clubs away. Never touched 'em after that. This morning, I put my daughter on a plane for college. Then, I got my clubs down from the attic -- and here I am."

Dept. of Amplification
4-23 pm

Lorena Ochoa makes it official: she's leaving to spend more time with her family -- and, as she told someone recently, to have children.


Shawn Brown said...

Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring. I bet that man realizes now that putting those clubs away was the best decision he'd ever made.

winny23 said...

I'll bet you're right, Shawn.

Anonymous said...

great story!!!!

Lori said...

This is such a nice feel good story, thank you for posting this.