So, after ten long years we have relocated from the Arizona desert to Northern California’s Bay Area. And yes, I will be writing about differences in life here and stereotypes that are wrongfully given to this place. This is not that entry. This is my second adventure on the left coast, the first having not gone as planned. There are a few years there with plenty of stories that have morals and “oh my god” moments that will be great to write about at a later date. The one binding ingredient in my short time on this earth is a game, and this story is about the round that saved my life.
There’s no better place than a beach is southern California with a full moon and a nice alcoholic beverage to keep you warm as the waves crash on the rocks. It couldn’t be more beautiful. In my pain and displeasure with society, I thought this is the perfect place and time to let go. I had gone through (what I thought) was a lot at the age of 22. A couple days prior to my midnight rendezvous with an unplanned destiny I had purchased a weapon. True, I lived in my car and had hardly any possessions but the few electronics I still hung onto gave me plenty of credit at the local pawn shop to trade for a piece. It was a 9 mm handgun, a weapon of protection. It was simple to get as gun laws were pretty much non-existent at that point. I could have told the store clerk exactly what I had planned (had to be obvious, I don’t think I slept for a week ) and I’m sure he still would have made the transaction. After securing some ammo from the local Wal-mart, I waited for the sun to go down. There is a distinct difference between people that think they want to die and people that actually want to die. I give great thanks today that I was the first. Loaded weapon in hand and booze in the other, I sat. I was all out of tears, just sitting and coming up with ways to justify the only two outcomes of this night. I was at my wits end but alas I could not muster the ability to pull the trigger. One more day. My last.
I had 62 dollars to my name. As the sun came up I decided to get a room and a shower. If this truly was going to be the last 24 hours I wanted to bathe, to be clean when found. I located a cheap motel for about 30 bucks and washed, it felt fantastic. In no way wanted me to continue life, unfortunate. The morning was slow, I tried to sleep but found no rest. With about 30 bills left in my wallet I started thinking about what I would like to do with my last day. Just a short drive away up the strand was one of my favorite walking golf courses in the area. 20$ for locals to play 18 holes. I still had a few crappy irons, a driver, a putter and a few balls in the back of my car. I got on the waiting list and was on my way at about 11 am. They paired me with two local guys that from the looks of things were beginners, but soon told me they’ve been playing for 20 years. Ok? The front nine was pretty normal, I think I made a bunch of pars, maybe a bad hole and one birdie, kept the conversation to a minimum. The 12th hole was a long dog leg to the right, I rared back and hit a pretty good tee shot to the left side of the fairway. The walk from the tee to my ball was an eternity in about 5 minutes. With my first step off the tee a sudden realization hit me. I could not find a way out of my impending doom. I actually begin to cry and plead with my source. I needed an outside entity to prove without a doubt to me that I needed to be here. 174 yards…I will never forget that. 5 iron. I closed my eyes while looking again at the yardage. In an angry toned thought I said,” NOW, IT’S GOT TO BE NOW!” As I raised my head up towards the green, a light. In the middle of day a mirror like signal, tiny, on the green. As I drew the club away from the ball my eyes naturally closed, the swing lasted forever. Impact was never felt but achieved with the highest skill. A tight, high draw sailed toward the green. To the outside observer it looked like a good shot, one that I had hit a thousand times before. “Great shot bro,” said one of the yocals I was with, “you have no idea,” I thought quietly. Tears streamed but I was calm. When I got to the green I noticed a silver coin about a foot from my ballmark. “In God We Trust,” a dime. A beam of sunlight from above showed me a dime from 174 yards away. Reality snapped in my spine. Was this it? The rest of the round was a blur. I sat in my car that night and thought hard about the day. I walked, slowly to the water and continued to the pier. It was a long and cold night but it no longer mattered. I would soon be free. I reached the end of the peer. It took but a moment and I was free of the firearm. I threw it as far and as hard as I could. I was free. I felt achieved. I had won a battle, slayed a dragon. There are thousands of metaphors that fit here. They ALL apply.
I love the game of golf. I love my life. They say it’s not that you’ve fallen, it’s how you get up that matters. I’m here and my eyes are open to endless possibilities.
I’m not quite sure why I was compelled to share this story. I’ve only told it to a few. Maybe there’s someone looking for their sign and have stumbled on my humble blog.