Play Golf, Dear Child

Disclaimer: this is the writing of a non-athletic personal coward.Golf at Bandon Dunes

I don’t like pain.  I avoid physical confrontation (although I thrive on verbal confrontation).  I dread the thought of scratches and bruises. And I’m not anxious to prove my strength.  (I have recent personal knowledge that even arm-wrestling can be dangerous.)

But I show up to watch.  No matter what sport my children and grandchildren have played, I have been on the sidelines.  Not at every game, but I have sampled each activity as a spectator.  I am the woman in the bleachers who forgets to cheer because I am holding my breath until my chosen player is off of the ground and walking, hopefully without a limp.

FootballLet’s talk football.  My boys started playing in grade school.  In those years I had power:  I made them wear purple socks so that I could find them on the little field where they played.

My daughter played one powder puff game.  (Bad name for a violent event.)  And when the boys were older and one son had wisely chosen to play golf instead of exposing himself to huge men in hard gear who wanted to hit him, tackle him. butt him with helmets and pile on top of him; I thought I was free.

I was celebrating the end of football.  Last game finished.*  Last footballer son safely at the pizza parlor with his friends (I thought).  Then, standing next to  my friend/physician, I heard his pager beeping.

“Help, Herb”, I heard my boy’s croaking voice.

Seems he had suffered a concussion during the game.  Heartsick and worried we rushed to the emergency room where we spent the next hours in suspense.

So you know how I feel about football.

How about soccer?  Well, one would think that it is just an active sport without physical contact.  SoccerSafe.  Speedy.  Only the ball gets kicked. Well, perhaps some extreme cases of dehydration from running non-stop on hot days without sufficient water, but still.

That is, until you see how many times the ball is missed and the shins are in action.  Or the nudge and shove when the referee is looking the other way.  Or the voluntary smack of the ball with the head.  A header?  What’s up with that?  Haven’t these parents read Dr. Amen’s books on brain health?  Really?

Baseball?  Strained arms from pitching too much too young.  Gravel permanently embedded in thighs from sliding.  Kidney punches from fast pitches.

Basketball?  Volleyball?  Gymnastics?  You name it…there is grief.  Just watch the NCAA’s if you think basketball is a gentle sport. Collisions. Falls. Broken bones. Abrasions.  Concussions.

LacrosseI have now seen the most brutal of all.  Up until my grandson’s Lacrosse game I had given that prize to football.

But no.  I watched young men dressed in a minimum of padding and gear beat each other with sticks.  In case you have missed this sport, when a player is holding the ball (?) he falls prey to as many members of the opposite team as can surround him.  They beat him about the head, shoulders, legs and torso. People would be arrested for doing this on the street.  It would fall in the classification of a hate crime.   No kidding!

I’ve thought this over carefully and I repeat what I have told each my grandchildren since they dragged their little clubs around the course with me.  Play golf.  Barring a lightning storm, it’s safe.  Men do it.  Women do it.  If you can’t afford a round, go hit a bucket of balls.  You can start when you’re young and play it until you die…of natural causes.

That’s my cowardly story and I’m sticking to it!


*This was proven wrong.  Two of my grandsons have played football.  Sadly, I just heard that my youngest will be playing in the fall, so it isn’t over yet!


  1. 🙂 I am lucky, I guess. My boys played T-ball and one played soccer, briefly. They both decided they didn’t like sports at all after that. Though I do wish they would get more exercise. I have read books by Dr. Amen, and am thankful football and soccer were never a thing in our house!


    • Well, I’m happy that all of my kids and grandkids are active…just worried about some of the ways they go about it. In the end we have no control of it, tho. Right?


  2. In school I concentrated on field events and cricket. Field events included long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault and I paid the price with bust hip joints when I was in my late thirties. I boxed for a while and gave up when I got a boxer’s nose. In my early thirties I took to hard court tennis that apparently aggravated the damage to the hips.I subsequently took to golf till I was advised to stop prior to the hip replacements. I took to walking for exercise and swimming when I can and have not regretted it ever. I was a reasonably good club level billiards player till I had to stop frequenting the club due to my care giving responsibilities.

    My son was a tennis player good enough for the coach to request me to get him to accept some discipline so that he could move up. My son refused to, saying he wanted to enjoy playing and become competitive. He is still a good tennis player but has stopped in favour of table tennis and swimming.

    Now, I play music!


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