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August 27, 2012

Monkey in the Middle

The beginning of a story sets the tone. The reader is introduced to the main characters and the opening scene is set. Endings however, are the exact opposite. Endings are the culmination and result of all the situations and circumstances the main characters navigated throughout the story. The reader may have an idea of where the story is headed after reading the beginning, but very rarely is there enough information to determine how things ends up.

Beginnings, in general are lovely. We meet someone special, and suddenly we are filled with hope and dreams and all manner of “happy”. At that point it is darned near impossible to see the “bitter” end. But as we walk through the scenes of our lives, we find ourselves in situations for which we had not planned. When these unplanned situations arise, we have no choice but to deal with them in the best way we know how. The hope, of course, is that we get through it all as unscathed as possible.

Stepping up to the first tee is a lovely (and usually nerve wracking) beginning. The mood is jovial, the starter says something nice, we laugh at a joke heard but not really paid attention to. With a score card as pure as a newborn puppy, a beautiful clean slate, we take the shot with nothing but driving the green in our consciousness. And nothing but the sound of ball hitting tree can shake us from our reverie. And now… we must traverse the “middle”. This is where skill really comes into play. I don’t care how great your tee shot is, it’s a long way to the cup, and if you can’t iron, hybrid and approach wedge yourself down that fairway it’s going to be a mighty unpleasant ending.

I played a beautiful course this past weekend with a chum and the bro-in-law. Lake Chabot in the Oakland Hills has nothing if not breathtaking views. In fact, the 18th is a Par 6 and closely resembles a black diamond ski run. It is truly awesome to behold. My friend is a bit of a beginner but she has been bitten by the bug and is happily addicted to the craziness of golf. YAY! New golf buddy! Anyway, her drives have improved by leaps and bounds in the couple of months since we played our first round, and her putting is nothing to sneeze at… her frustration is that she hasn’t yet fallen in love with her irons and hybrids and complained that her “middle game” is frustrating her. Honestly that was the funniest thing but I loved it and the thing is she is right.

I think that the “middle game” is the “better or worse, sickness and health” part of the vows. There isn’t much opportunity for glory on the fairway; that is usually reserved for the tee box and the green, yet isn’t it the most important? If you smash a drive to the middle of the fairway but it takes you 12 to get to the green, even a one putt won’t save you. The middle really is the meat and potatoes.

There is no "Cliff's Notes" version of life. We cannot skim and get an “A”. It is all important, but pay special attention to the middle child.

Jan was underrated. “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”

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