For the last few months I have been teeter-tottering about making a personal comeback in my golf. The Women’s U.S. Open this year is at Oakmont Country Club, where I grew up playing in the Pittsburgh area. I have made several starts at entering into my personal championship which includes practice, working out, and officially entering the championship. However, when I encountered some setbacks, like the frustrations of a chronic defect in my swing, and a kidney stone attack which sent me sailing into the emergency room last week in excruciating pain, I pulled back. I even started to hide behind my health condition, which is an easy thing to do. But what blasted me out of my excuses and half-hearted engagement is my friend Jon, and former coach, who called me today on his way to a tournament.
“I was driving down I95 and passed your area on the way. How are you doing?” Jon asked. “Jon, my swing sucks and I have no energy as I struggle with a kidney stone.” Having known me for about 10 years now, Jon knew just how to blast me out of my wrong-focus. “Veronica, you have to do this not based on results, but on the process. Your focus is to engage your heart in the process of preparing for a championship again.” Jon was my coach the last time I made an all out attempt to do someothing great with my golf. I failed in my attempt. He went on, “The only way to move past a failure in a championship quest is to enter another championship. Your focus has to be the process this time. Your goal for your swing is simply to make progress.” He was right. I thought about my life, how I have been living far below my highest and best–wandering around without a clear focus for far too long. Jon, whom I affectionately called “the Drill Sergeant” knew just how to slap me upside my head in love and pull me out of the quagmire living–and smash the mental stone in my head, which has been far more painful than my kidney stone, although that may be hard to believe.
“Okay, I’m in, Jon. What do you want me to do, Coach?” He was quick to give me my first marching orders, “Five hours of cardio this week. Each time add at least a minute to your workout. Practice each day on the three key elements to your play: putting, short game, and long game. Write down everything you eat. That’s for starters. I’ll call you Sunday for a report.”
So today marks my re-start. I repented for hiding behind my kidney stone problem, put on my running shoes, headed out after the rain, and did 60 minutes with my faithful exercise partner, my dog, Teddy-boy. I felt fresh strength, and thanked God for the power of a coach to awaken the champion in me again.