For the past several years there has been a major credit card company running an advertising campaign focused on "priceless" moments. A lot of their commercials are pretty good and deliver a memorable message. However I wish they had been able to witness the "priceless" conversation that took place recently at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital. In my ridiculously biased opinion, that conversation was beyond "priceless" and certainly made for an unforgettable memory. Moments like this tend to happen a bit more frequently when you are spending time with the kids inside a hospital like Ranken Jordan. As the result of the incredible work performed by the entire staff, miracles happen at Ranken Jordan and I am fortunate to get to see those miracles in action when the kids come to our golf clinics.
The most recent example happened this past Wednesday when a new junior golfer showed up right on time for his 2:00 p.m. "tee time." As his therapist was pushing him in his wheelchair, I noticed three things right away: the huge smile on his face that lit up all of Warner's Corner, the gait belt around his waist, and the incision on his head from a very recent surgery. Seeing his gait belt told me we would need to make slight adjustments to his stance to help with his balance while the smile told me we would definitely have fun! Immediately after I had the privilege of being introduced to Antonio, he stood up out of this wheelchair and the "priceless" conversation happened:
Me: Antonio, it is great to meet you. Have you played golf before?
Antonio: No, I haven't, but I love golf!
Me: That's great to hear! I'll get you the correct size of golf club and we will get started.
Antonio: Good, I love golf! Will you teach me how to play?
This is the point that people who know me best will find hard to believe. I was essentially speechless (this is a rare occurrence). Somehow I managed to get out "absolutely" as I was going to get his golf club. When I handed Antonio his golf club he once again had that huge smile on his face. He was ready to get going! When he stood up to the golf ball I was amazed at how good his grip, stance, and posture were without any instruction from me. One small adjustment to his grip and position of the clubface was all it took to get him going. Then, as if the conversation we had did not do enough to have me speechless, he started hitting ball after ball into his small target net. By the end of the 1 hour session, Antonio had hit approximately 150 golf balls and we took 73 of them out of the net! The therapist who was holding Antonio's gait belt and I kept exchanging looks of disbelief. We both were blown away and in awe of what we were witnessing! Through it all Antonio kept smiling and laughing as he watched the net fill up with the golf balls he was hitting.
On this particular day everyone watching had a smile on their face almost as big as the smile Antonio was displaying. Several people came over to watch and simply could not believe what they were seeing. As the mother of a former Ranken Jordan patient once stated, moments like this are "magical." There really is no better feeling than putting a smile on the face of a child. The best part about that feeling is getting to experience it on a weekly basis. Every Wednesday when golf is over and I walk out the doors of Ranken Jordan I do so hoping the kids got half as much from me as I received from them.