In retrospect, it's kinda cool that Dad was a little nuts.
This post is way beyond my meager abilities as a writer, but I'm going to try to share my thoughts hopefully without seeming too sentimental...
I spent a lot of time this weekend at the Farmer's Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines. I go every single year. I love golf. It seems strange that I would. I do love sports: surfing, football hockey, etc., but golf? Honestly, I've asked myself several times why. It always goes back to my Dad. He literally bred a love of golf into me.
To know my Dad, you have to know his passion for golf. He almost literally lived and died golf. He was a dentist by trade, but his sole passion was golf. I remember growing up that nearly every free moment he had he spent golfing: practicing golf, talking golf, thinking golf, watching golf, or even subconsciously gripping and re-gripping his hands around imaginary golf clubs and making tiny little unconscious golf swings and waggles.
When we were growing up in Michigan, we lived right on the golf course. But, the weather wasn't always very good. In the winter, he actually wore a hole in the carpet hitting plastic golfballs in our living room. He beaned my then 3 year-old sister on the head while practicing indoors. He moved the entire family to Texas, I'm sure, solely to have better weather to golf in.
The way Dad died was downright poetic. It was about five years ago. Believe it or not, he literally died on the golf course. On the 13th hole. On Masters Sunday -- the High Holy Day of the golfing calendar. The night before, my brother and I were actually talking about the very fact that we would end up watching the tournament in spite of ourselves, and how crazy it was that Dad had somehow infected us with his passion.
So, I find myself somehow loving golf. I watch it on TV, I go to the tournament every year, I go to the range to unwind, and I play when I can. Every time, I'm with Dad. I can hear him, even talk with him. This weekend, I was able to spend time with my Dad. He was there at the tournament with me. Whenever I watch or play or am around golf, I am with Dad. I can experience the world the way he did: seeing the wind in the tossed blades of grass; feeling every slope and contour of the land in my shoes; seeing the the lie, the line, the trajectory; smelling the grass, the moist dirt, and the fertilizer.
I realize Dad's passion for golf was a true passion. It was kind of insane... certainly an obsession and almost a compulsion. But it was also a gift. He shared it with me. Now I always have a way to hang out with my Dad.