Posted on May 15, 2019
by Steve Janowick
One of the most beautiful and effective rhetorical ploys to articulate a comparison between two ideas and, as a writer, I try my best to employ as many as possible whenever possible. A metaphor in proper context can really help paint a picture for the reader, give him a clearer mental image, take something abstract and contrast it with something relatable.
We pulled into the parking lot as the morning fog was just starting to burn off. It was his first time on any course, and I could see his excitement. His wonderment. It was palpable. This wasn’t the driving range. This was the real deal. Would all those hours of practice pay off? He’d soon find out.
We met the other two players that would make up our foursome at the first hole. We listened intently (particularly the boy) to the starter, to his suggestions and rules to keep a steady pace of play and to respect the conditions of, and other players on, the course.
After a round of good luck high-fives and a few significant wagers, the first guy teed up. I watched my son watching him intently. In his mind he was strategizing, planning, nervously anticipating his turn. And when that turn came, he sliced a worm burner into a group of trees that ricocheted around like a bullet in a cave.
He grabbed his 3 iron and, after a minute of searching, stood over his ball. It was a horrible lie. The ball was resting on a pile of dusty brush smack dab in the middle of a six-foot clearing between two tall Eastern White Pines. He couldn’t see me watching him from the cart. I was hoping he’d play the shot as it lay. That he wouldn’t cheat and inconspicuously scoot it a few feet to get the better angle.
I grinned from pride as he validated those hopes.
When we made the turn at the ninth hole his score was well in the rear. One of the other guys was encouraging him, trying to pump him up and keep him motivated, but the other was ribbing him one good. Laying on him the usual smack and rookie initiations. But the kid took his medicine and laughed it off like a man.
The 13th hole of this particular course saw the fairway dog leg left around a shimmering lake that was speckled with beautiful lavender water lilies along its bank. It was absolutely breathtaking the way they gently swayed in the warm breeze. Quiet and still and serene, it was as though we were playing on Monet’s muse for a moment, and we all stood silent in our individual reveries, appreciative of God’s work.
On the final hole it came down to a putt-off between me and another player to decide the winner. $200 on the line! Needless to say, dinner in the club house an hour later was on the other guy. We reminisced a little and laughed a lot as we drank our beers and enjoyed our steaks, grateful for the day we just had playing this wonderful game, grateful for our friendships. I was especially grateful for the time with my son, who wound up shooting a respectable 109 his first time out and having the time of his life.
And that prompted me to ask the gang to allow me to make a toast. I was feeling a little sentimental. I thought for a few seconds, and what came to mind? Words like practice and etiquette and respect and overcoming obstacles and handling adversity and sportsmanship and tradition and fairness and camaraderie and reverence for nature. And after we raised our glasses, I blurted out…a metaphor.
“Golf is life, Gentlemen,” I said longingly. “Golf is life.”
And we clinked our glasses.
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