Life is wonderful. Last night me and Jen went out for dinner after she got back from doing her exams in London. We went to our favourite pub- The Greyhound- where we had a free meal ticket to use from all the vouchers we’d accumulated over time. We spoke mostly about furniture as we’re moving house soon and it’s all very exciting for us as you might imagine. We’ve wanted more space for a while and also a dog. We adore dogs. We’re going to get a Hungarian Viszla and we’re gonna call it Gus. At the end of the meal I checked my Twitter which is the only purpose my phone provides it seems and I had received a message from a man called Jason. It read; “A year on from getting a place on the Eddie Pepperell Academy at FHGC (Frilford Heath) Megan has come down 24 shots and played for the county. Thanks Eddie.” Megan is his daughter. I was instantly taken aback and felt slightly emotional, which is saying something because I’m usually far too apathetic for my own good.
It was a real lift to see someone benefitting from my small gesture. It made me reflect on my childhood growing up. I saw how happy she looked in the photo and I remembered those days where coming down 24 shots in a year was something I would’ve been so proud of. I was extremely competitive with my brother and our friends, and I was so immersed in my own world of golf. The message I received was heartwarming and also made me realise how I would’ve benefitted in similar ways when I was a junior from other people’s generosity. So thank you!
Megan is now on the tree. She’s somewhere down towards the base of the tree but she’s climbing. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Paul McGinley refer to a career as a tree and he’s dead right. The trunk is where you want to live. While you climb the tree it’s sometimes easy to wander off and before you know it you’re hanging from a branch. The brilliant, yet frustrating thing about the tree is, when you end up on a branch, you can’t just jump back onto the trunk. You have to carefully walk back the way you came, until you reach the trunk again. You can, like a monkey, take a risk in the hope to find a shortcut, but all you do is jump from the branch you’re on to another branch. Every single person in their respective career is somewhere on this tree. No doubt, I’ve been wandering around on a branch somewhere towards the top. The thing about branches at the top is that they are fragile, and if you hang around for too long up there you become fearful. Afraid of the fall and what comes with that. When you’re young, and inevitably lower down on the tree, the branches are sturdier and the thought of falling doesn’t illuminate fear the way it does at the top.
This analogy, to my mind at least, is beautiful. It makes perfect sense. And sometimes thinking in these terms can help relieve the fear and anxiety that we may be feeling. The good thing about a tree is it’s tangible. We know the structure of a tree so well that comprehending the journey from the end of one branch back to the trunk isn’t too scary. This will provide refuge for an over-fearful mind.
A fearful mind probably isn’t what Megan has right now, but I don’t envy her. Because she has it all in front of her. She has the long, unrelenting, topsy-turvy journey ahead, where every bad round will hit hard and every criticism will feel like a personal attack. She is one of many young golfers trying to succeed and emulate her heroes. My advice to her isn’t to worry about staying on the trunk for the moment, because she won’t understand what the trunk looks like for a while, rather it’s just to recognise that with each disappointment there’s an opportunity to learn, and with every success there’s an opportunity to be humble. There are times to be impatient and there are times where patience is critical. There’s a time to be the best, and it’s not when you’re 14 years old.
I’m delighted that Megan and others like her are benefiting from what’s happening at Frilford. And I’m thankful to Jason for reaching out because it gave me a lift.
Now to turn that lift into something even more positive….