"I'm addicted." Those words typically imply a negative connotation. Given the many meanings that can be associated with that statement it makes sense that people logically think the worst when they hear those words. It is certainly something you usually do not want to hear when working with young people. When and if you do hear them from the mouth of a teenager you likely hope a huge smile is not accompanying those two words. Not long ago I had a young man tell me about his addiction, and he did so with a smile on his face.
His addiction afflicts approximately 24 million other Americans and I am included in that number of addicts. The cause is really quite simple to understand. In this particular case the cause of the addiction was a sunny Wednesday in May and a well struck 8 iron. Yes, his addiction is to golf. After he hit that solid 8 iron he looked at me and said "I'm addicted to golf. I love playing!" There are not many things that can make you feel better than hearing a young man in a wheelchair say something like that about an activity he likely never thought he could do. All he needed to achieve this success was the opportunity to get a golf club in his hands and a little bit of instruction. Seems pretty simple for such great results, right?
Presenting kids the opportunity to create possibilities, healing, and hope through the game of golf is a really special situation to be a small part of. The longer I am involved with the golf program at Ranken Jordan the more I learn and understand the role golf plays in the lives of these amazing kids. No longer are they only playing golf during our clinics (and special trips to the golf course). Almost every week when I get there I hear about the 2 or 3 times during the week that the kids had to get the golf clubs out so they could practice. This junior golf program is allowing them to be involved and included in sports. And through that inclusion, the game of golf is being used to help them heal and get their lives back.
Normally when people of any age enter a hospital it is to get better and not to get addicted to anything. This addiction is a special situation and one that is encouraged at Ranken Jordan! Kids heal best through play. Anyone who visits Ranken Jordan or spends any time there will see that first-hand. I am thrilled that golf has become something that the kids look forward to doing and enjoy so much . . . and I am happy to feed their addiction! As I wrote about in the last blog post we have eclipsed the 3 year mark for our program. During that time we have created many golf addicts and hope to create many more in the coming weeks, months, and years.