Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: September Surprise
By Coleene VanTilburg
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"Our” September looms like an impending storm. We know we have to "ride it out", taking the bumps as they come. Our oldest son passed away in February and September 25th would have been his 27th birthday. For the last thirteen years, another annual event is circled on our calendar, the Pastor Dan Memorial Golf Tournament sponsored by our church, this year played on September 15th. Our son Tim always played and always dreamed of scoring in the top group. Despite his illness, his golf game was his retreat to "feelings of normalcy". Tim was free now of his pain, ours remains. His brother, Corey along with Dad will play this year again, and I am sure Tim's spirit will float amongst the golfers like a fog, those memories of tournaments passed and unfettered enthusiasm a bit subdued now, but nevertheless heart warming and bittersweet.
The morning of the tournament arrives. My husband and son ready themselves and their equipment for the day. Dad and Corey both use Tim's clubs, incorporating them into their own bags, blending the past with the present but the only future they are contemplating is the 18th hole.
The tournament is set up in foursomes and a "best ball" format. After each player hits to the green, the ball closest to the tee starts from that point. There is also a "hole in one" contest, sponsored by the local Chevrolet dealership.
The foursome approaches the fifth hole and it is getting warm. That invisible fifth player is never far from Dad and Corey's mind as they approach the hole, bannered by the M.K. Smith Chevrolet and that shiny car that is the prize for the hole in one. Dad hits, then Danny; Corey is waiting in the wings munching down a granola bar and taking a glance again at that new car. He speculates, "who ever really hits a hole in one at the appropriate hole? ...Cannot even manipulate that on my Tiger Woods X-Box game".
It is Corey's turn and he pulls out his "lucky ball", Tim's Nike ball with the "T.V." initialled on it, and symbolically gives it a kiss as he places it on the ground. His strategy is to just power it through as usual and hope for a good lie. He stands at position ready to hit, then hears a distraction as he looks up and sees a "V" formation of what is probably geese from the nearby wilderness park. Within a few seconds, he is back concentrating, his arm grips the club and he switches his weight from one side to the other and then takes the swing; club up and pointed towards Heaven.
The ball sails through the air and travels for one hundred yards or so landing on the green. It rolls to the right, then down, then slightly right towards the pin. Corey only can see that his ball made the green, but as he waits for the last player to hit his ball, a slight anxiousness accelerates his heartbeat knowing his shot was on target. The judge though, watching the hole, cannot believe what he is witnessing.
The ball's pace slows down slightly, only to enhance the drama, and then it does the most remarkable thing. The ball spins around the hole and then again around the lip of the cup before it drops in; the "T.V." initials face up. The judge's face gleams with surprise and amazement. A small gallery of spectators are beginning to gather as Corey is walking towards the green with the rest of his foursome around him and is wondering what all the commotion is all about. Applause begins to laud through the normally quiet golf course and as he is told of his spectacular, one in a million chances that his ball made a hole in one; the surprise brings a whole new dimension to this emotionally charged September day.
Corey cannot contain himself, as he knows somehow; this September surprise must have something to do with a much bigger force. Everybody has seen the movie "Angels in the Outfield", but this is real! Corey hit a hole in one, but he senses Tim's foresight and presence was with him today.
"Tim, you are still in the game, and forever in our hearts".
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