In the last blog post I wrote about a variety of topics, one of which was the SoloRider single passenger golf cart generously donated by the St. Louis Cardinals ushers group. In that same blog post I included information and a link to the June 6 issue of the Ladue News that featured a cover photo and article about Ranken Jordan and the golf cart. From that article I have received a tremendous amount of feedback and inquiries relating to the golf program at Ranken Jordan. The best part of the feedback and questions is that it gives me the opportunity to tell people about Ranken Jordan, the incredible work they do, and the amazing kids I am so fortunate to spend time with every week. I welcome every opportunity I get to bring awareness to the hospital, the kids, and the golf program.
During the golf season the golf clinics at Ranken Jordan are on Wednesday mornings. Thanks to the great staff that I work with at Innsbrook Resort, I am able to spend Wednesday mornings at the hospital and go to the golf course after "golf day" is over. Upon arriving at the golf shop this past week I was met at the door by a golfer holding a copy of the Ladue News. He asked if I had a few minutes to talk and answer some questions which I gladly did. Until he saw the article he had no clue about our program at Ranken Jordan. Many of his questions were general as he simply wanted to know more about what we do and how the kids benefit from playing golf. Then he asked a question that required a bit of thought and a much lengthier answer than his initial questions: "When you started the program, did you have any idea the extent to which golf would become a healing tool for these kids?"
This is the type of question that I love to get and really enjoy answering. These questions show that the person I am talking to sees the significance of the program and understands the important role golf is playing as these kids and their families continue the healing process. They also force me to focus on the true impact the game is having on the kids and the full range of benefits that they experience because they picked up a club and gave golf a chance. The short answer I gave to his question was "no, I had no idea." Then I continued on and elaborated on just how golf has been a "healing tool" (I love that he picked up on this aspect and phrased it that way) for the kids.
As I began to give his question the thought and answer that it deserved I immediately thought of what one of our most dedicated junior golfers said to me that same morning. It was a comment that absolutely made my day, but until I was asked this question when I got to work I did not fully comprehend the significance of what was said. While helping this particular junior golfer smooth out their putting stroke we stopped for a short break and I hear this:
"Golf really helps me want to go to therapy every day because I see how I am getting stronger from playing golf. When I get to therapy I want to work extra hard because I see how it is helping me get better at golf."
For those of you who have been regular readers of this blog you should not be surprised by a quote like this. I have said it before, I will say it again, and I will always stand behind it: Golf is a healing tool for these kids. When they leave the hospital and return home many of the kids will keep playing golf in varying degrees while many will not be able to for a variety of reasons. One thing is for certain, though, while they are part of the golf program at Ranken Jordan they are getting better faster by being involved in a sport. One other question I am often asked is how do I find the time to go to Ranken Jordan every week for the golf program. Comments like the one above make it very easy to make the time. In fact, comments like this make me wish I could add hours to the day just so I could spend more time at the hospital with the kids. The junior golfers are not the only ones benefiting from our golf program. To paraphrase a quote from former patient and current golfer Cooper Burks, "I can't wait for Wednesday because Wednesday is golf day at Ranken Jordan!"