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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reaching A Milestone

In order to progress and move forward in any aspect of life goals need to be set and milestones will be reached in the successful completion of those goals.  Anyone who has ever played golf knows that this is especially true as a beginner tries to learn the game or an experienced player works to lower their handicap.  It does not matter if you're learning the game at an exclusive country club or working on your swing while you are a patient in a pediatric hospital.  Goal setting is vital to measuring your progress and watching your game improve.

The kids who participate in our junior golf program at Ranken Jordan are no different than any other golfer around the world.  Many of them establish goals and work very hard to meet those goals.  Each week I hear comments like "I've never hit a golf ball that far" or "this is the most putts in a row that I've ever made!"  Earlier this week I had one of the junior golfers comment to me that he had gotten much better at controlling the trajectory of his golf ball.  He could now hit it high, normal, and low on command.  Did I mention he is doing this while swinging from a wheelchair?

Today at Ranken Jordan we had one of our most loyal junior golfers reach an incredible milestone.  This milestone had very little to do with her golf game.  Rather, it showed the progress she has made with her physical recovery and the hard work she has been putting in with her therapy.  If you ask her, she will tell you that golf has become an important part of her therapy program.  She has grown to love playing the game and gets excited by seeing the flight of a well-struck shot.  You may think that this milestone she reached was a longest drive or lowest score on the mini golf course we occasionally set up in Warner's Corner.  If those types of thoughts entered your mind you would be incorrect.  The milestone she reached that left me in total awe was reaching over with her golf club and raking the next golf ball into position to hit.

In past posts I have written about this incredible young lady.  When she first began playing golf she could not sit up in her wheelchair and hit balls for more than a couple of minutes without needing a break.  Due to a lack of physical strength we had to go hand-over-hand for her to hit the ball.  Through hard work and sheer determination she has progressed to being able to hit golf balls on her own for an hour at a time.  Today, for the first time, she showed the hand-eye coordination and steadiness to be able to rake the next golf ball onto the mat to hit.

From a golf standpoint you may think that this is relatively insignificant.  Compared to establishing a career low score maybe it is.  Then again maybe it isn't.  In this particular case I am not overly concerned about what it means for her golf game.  What makes me the happiest is watching her recovery from the day she started playing golf until now.  This is where the game of golf illustrates the important role it can play in the lives of children in pediatric healing facilities around the globe.  Because this junior golfer wants to improve her golf game and get better she has worked harder in therapy and received additional therapy, albeit unknowingly, while playing golf.  The next time you are at the driving range and absentmindedly rake the next ball from the tray, maybe you will think of one of my favorite golfers and the progress she has made in her recovery because of golf.

1 comment:

  1. This post brought tears to my eyes. . . I can bring forth the exact moments Zakki met milestones like this - bending over to put a golf ball in place on a tee without falling over, and being able to breathe, walking up a three foot hill to the putting green alone, endurance to putt 10, 20, 50, 100, the first time playing the course and lifting him in and out of the cart and not being able to continue after 4 holes, than 5 holes, than 7,8,9, 14, 15, 18, 27 . . .walking one hole, finally two holes, another year, 5 holes, finally nine holes. . . nine holes under 55, under 50, eighteen holes under 100, his first even par round. . . without golf, these milestones could never have been found or met or possible!