The sky was angry that day, my friends. Like an old golfer trying to send back watered-down whiskey at the 19th Hole.
Okay, it wasn't that bad, but Wednesday afternoon was grey, breezy, cool and misty. Sure, millions of golfers would kill for weather like that right now, but by the standards of Florida, The Fair-Weather Golfer State, it was downright choppy. I set out for the range at my home course expecting to have it to myself. To my pleasant surprise, there was another soul out there: a player on the local high school team. We exchanged nods of mutual appreciation. Our reward: a confidence-building wind straight at our backs, making even mediocre shots fly true. We overlapped for about ten minutes before he finished his session, leaving me to finish my bucket alone, save for the range picker zigzagging through the gloom. I wasn't working on anything in particular, but the mere act of being out there in less-than-ideal conditions while other golfers were opting out felt like some small, secret progress.
One of my all-time favorite television commercials is the American Express one with Tiger Woods practicing in the rain. Nowadays, it endures less as an ad for a credit card than for Woods himself, and motivation for the rest of us. Lately, the image of his lean, young silhouette, oblivious to the temporary nuisance, has become a metaphor for the perseverance we've seen play out in the last two years. If anyone could defy the odds, it's Tiger, who could swing effortlessly, even in a downpour. In our own pursuits of better play, we too can perform some little acts of temporary defiance that the greatest golfer has made a habit for decades. We can try on that shoulder chip if we dare.