Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Coach"

Blessings come in many shapes and sizes. Different places and times. And should we all be so fortunate, in someone we meet. A person who often times can see what we can not. A person with a presence of character that we could only pray for and pray even more so for our children.

It started innocently enough with a plastic putting game gifted from Nana of the North. From there it morphed into 16 ounce red drinking cups scattered about the house as we took turns putting for the World Championship. Then one day, with a push from Mom, we drove to our local golf course to hone our skills on an actual grass putting surface.
And we encountered a blessing. Mr. Doug...

A lone figure was practicing his golf swing and what a swing it was. Shot after shot soared straight and true each falling near the exact spot as before. It was mesmerizing. Each detail of his swing repeatedly replicated.
Mr. Doug turned out to be the Club teaching Pro. Eventually I introduced Alyzabeth and myself. We exchanged small talk for a bit and then I conjured up the nerve to ask if he would consider giving AA lessons. Has she ever played golf asked Mr. Doug. No, I replied.  How old is she? Four and a half I sheepishly answered.
There was a pause. Golf has to be fun for a child said Mr. Doug. She would have to "want" to play. As a PGA playing and teaching professional, he was well versed in the game and instructing the young. He advised we play it by ear with Alyzabeth to see how things progressed. After all, she is very young he cautioned. Very young. No money he finally said. I will "work" with Alyzabeth a time or two and lets decide then if lessons should continue.

A little insight into the world of Alyzabeth. She thrives with one on one contact. Groups (kids and adults) create hesitancy, an awkwardly uncomfortable demeanor that you can plainly see envelop her. One of the reasons we initially chose to enter her into the Wonderworks program was to help promote her social skills by being around other children and adults. The strides have been nothing short of miraculous but still, she thrives with one on one contact. Alyzabeth loves taking piano lessons with our son-in-law Jesse, again, one on one. T-Ball, Soccer, Dance - all group activities. She's not there. In time but not just yet.

Which is why I suddenly thought that maybe golf would appeal to Alyzabeth as I stood talking with the club pro. And so we began.
AA's initial attempts appeared so very awkward and I admit, painful to watch. I more than expected Mr. Doug to suggest we "wait" and introduce her to the game in a few years.

video

After 3 "lessons" I was convinced Mr. Doug would suggest we wait until Alyzabeth was a little older. He had already told me that if he didn't feel she was ready and if she didn't show an excitement for the game, he would not take my money nor would he wish to continue with the lessons. She was very young he reminded me. Very young.

And then...
"I would like to work with Alyzabeth", he said following what I thought would be our last lesson.
I was stunned. Happy but stunned. What was he seeing that I could not?
Later he would tell me he saw more than raw potential. He saw her competitiveness. Her commitment. And something that caught me completely by surprise. He felt that his meeting Alyzabeth was not by any accident. Your daughter is special he told me (for reasons he would share later on). With your permission, I would love to work with her.

video

As we left the course that day I will always remember Mr. Doug turning to tell us goodbye.
"Alyzabeth, I'll see you next Saturday.
And Alyzabeth, I would like for you to call me Coach."

Their relationship has blossomed. Alyzabeth loves her golf teacher. Alyzabeth has a coach and so much more. Thank you Mr. Doug. Thank you Coach.
For more than you could ever know...
peace
fm

5 comments:

Jboo said...

What a great coach to see her specialness (new word, I think). Golf takes such focus and determination and she's got it!

Wendy said...

That is the neatest and the sweetest thing! What a gift AA has been given!

Catherine said...

What a beautiful story! Coach sounds like an amazing man and a true mentor to your amazing little girl! So blessed!

I love to see the pics of her golfing. I can see even through those how much she is enjoying herself! Way to go AA...and way to go Dad!!

Vivian M said...

It was meant to be. AA is very special, and apparently, so is Coach Doug. Love this post, it made my heart happy. :o)

KHM said...

I remember when her update from the orphanage said "she is a pearl in our hand". How wonderful to begin to see her gifts so early.