Aug 7, 2007
I loved to play golf with my dad. It was a treat. It was a gift. I would get so excited when I actually got to play with him. He was so majestic. We were in Florida at the time, and I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was 13 or 14 at the time. The day just didn't go well. I remember hitting the ball like I had NEVER played before. I turned into a snotty kid. I did it all wrong. I think I even tossed my clubs. My dad, as I have written about many times, never said a word. He just watched. It got worse and I was just being a snot. I didn't even like myself. I remember that I shot 44. I was SOOOOOO mad. It was an easy course, and a 44 was just not good. I was soooooo mad.
After the first nine my dad let me have it. In the calmest of all voices he talked about life, about enjoying the game. It was as if he was saying - "Hey, you better enjoy each and every day you can play. You have talent. You have so much that others dream they had." He told me about a day, his worst day, when the same thing happened with his dad.
I stood on the 10th tee and was so sad that I let my dad down. Why did I do that! I can remember looking at my dad on the tee. He just looked at me, smiled, and i knew what I had to do. I had the best nine holes of golf I ever played. I shot 33. Front nine 44, back nine 33 for a 77. Yeah the 33 was cool, but when I walked off the 18th green, I can remember my dad walking over to me. He gave me a big hug, smiled, and said "Don't ever forget that. On your worst day, you have the power to bring it back."
I was thinking about this story when a friend of mine called me last night. I trained with him almost every day for the 2003 and 2005 Ironman. He has since had back problems that has made riding a bike almost impossible. When he called, he wanted to make it clear to me that this is a gift. He would give anything to be in my shoes. I think most people that do Ironman start to get emotional during these last 30 days. Some days I want the training to be over. I want to return to a normal life. Other days, I get so sad because I don't want it to end. The one thing that IS and always will be consistent is this - I will never take Ironman for granted.