The Greatest Game
I’m not a golfer. Ironically my home is in a town with over 200 golf courses in the Scottsdale/ Phoenix area.
My only experience with golf came in junior high school. Our family lived near the Maryland Country Club. I often played with my friends over on the course. We hunted for golf balls in the rough, cleaned them up and even sold a few to some golfers. I remember one golfer proclaiming, “Hey, this ball has my initials on it. It’s mine.” I looked at him straight in the eye and said, “I found that ball in the woods. That one is double the regular price.” I was pretty enterprising for a junior high kid.
Living near a golf course stirred my own interest in the game. I purchased three golf clubs: a five iron, a nine iron and a putter. I would tee off with my five iron and play with that club until I got near the green. Then I chipped with my nine iron and I putted with the putter. My golf was reduced to three clubs and about my only experience with the game.
Last night my wife and I watched the new Disney movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played. Based on a true story about the winner of the 1913 U.S. Open, the theater was packed—even if our local newspaper gave the movie a poor review. I loved the storytelling in this movie. The multiple plot strands combined with great acting to make a movie worth the experience. Some members of the audience even applauded at the end of this film. We watch o a number of movies but it’s a rare day that I can strongly recommend one to someone else. I can encourage you to see this film without hesitation—whether you are interested in golf or not.
If you see the film, notice the aspect of talent or gifting. Francis, the main character, grew up across the street from the Brookline golf course. While his family didn’t belong to the country club or have a high social status, Francis had a fascination with golf. When he tried it, he discovered a talent for the game. At one point he tries to walk away from it, deny his talent but ultimately finds that he has to play golf—his talent to his world.
I see this notion of talent in a regular basis in the writing world. It’s the ingredient that no one can teach you. Certainly I can teach a workshop about the skills necessary to become a writer. The storytelling ability and how you construct words on the page—well, that’s simply your talent that you bring to the process. Many people will never discover this talent if they don’t try it. It’s like Francis who lived across the street from a golf course and ultimately tried the game. It won’t fly if you don’t try.