I am living proof that the old saw is true: “Use it or lose it”. It is part of the progression of life that terrifies us all. It includes memory, stamina, the healthy enjoyment of food and drink (in moderation), and even the ability to perform the simplest and most basic tasks (from tying shoes to immersing oneself in the raptures of sexual fulfillment). And for most of us, certainly most men I know, there is the one thing we never expect to come close to losing.
My mind still carries me in dreams to a time when I was strong and eager: When I could gaze at the object of my desires and know I was up to the challenge. That I would rise higher than necessary, arrow straight and taught as any bowman’s draw. I knew I would respond each and every time with the same fluid control of every muscle and sinew in my body, all perfectly coordinated in a single drive to the target.
It was my one claim to glory, this beautiful, powerful, naturally explosive golf swing; and now it’s gone. No longer can I clear my hips precisely on cue. No longer reach back almost to infinity with the perfect back-swing and the seamlessly reverse and drive forward to meet the ball at exactly the right point in my swing’s arc to send the ball soaring skyward exactly as intended. The once infinitely repeatable smoothness of the swing now eludes me completely. As the arthritis eats away at joints that once felt no resistance; at knees that once walked for miles without ever even being noticed; at fingers that gripped clubs perfectly through 18 and even 36 holes of the holy game – it now reduces all to distorted, painful, uncooperative obstructions.
Sadly, age and the fortunes of life itself have left me without a single round of golf to my name not for weeks, but for over 2 years. And the prospects are dim for any real reversal of the trend. My family’s annual Championship of the Universe, intended to bring the family together at least once each year to enjoy each other and the game has been sidelined by the necessary distractions of personal lives. And every attempt to keep some practice available has dwindled with the lack of willing partners with time to spend on the links. And although an outing is finally planned for the near future, my recent history of total abstinence from the game will probably rob me of any hope of performing as I once did. I have not used it properly, and all indications are that my swing is lost forever.
Oh, there are solutions for some losses: There’s Viagra, of course, and Cialis if you have the stamina to drag 2 claw-foot, cast iron bath tubs onto a beach somewhere. But there is no pill for a lost swing. Ask Tiger Woods: Once it’s gone, the swing isn’t coming back. I only hope my intended partner for the upcoming round will take pity on me and not bring up my total lack of symmetry in motion. (Sigh!)