The Golfer                   

A Parable

by God's Little Boy
© 2018
Posted 1/28/18


There was a certain man named Frank, and Frank loved to golf. Frank was an electrician by trade. His father had built a very successful electrical contracting company that was more than twenty work crews strong with a fleet of service vans numbering the same. When Frank's father passed, he inherited the company and carried on in business as best as he could. Over time, the company went through much downsizing until there were only a few work crews on the payroll. He relocated the business to a much smaller facility in order to implement a drastic cut in overhead. Frank preferred it that way. You see, Frank was a very simple and quiet man and lacked the entrepreneurial ambition of his father. His game in life was not electrical work or business. His work as an electrician just earned him a living and paid his membership at the golf club where he got to do what he really wanted to do. Frank's game was golf. It was his passion. Frank was very good at his game. He was very, very good. Actually, even this is an understatement. Frank was a golfing prodigy, with a very rare and unusual talent; he was at the top of his game, and if the truth were told, it could be said that he was at the top of the game. But Frank lived in smallville, just outside of a nearby city, and was largely unknown outside of his local golfing community. He was not an ambitious man with his eye set on going national with his game. He preferred the quiet, simple life of Golf on his home green just for the sheer pleasure that the game brought to him. This was yet another thing that made Frank such an unusual man.

As the annual club tournament winner each and every year for the previous 28 years (except for the 11th year when he contracted pneumonia and could not play) Frank had made a clear impression within the membership. With such an uncanny record Frank was well known in his club, yet on the social level, he was strangely unattended. Frank was the kind of man that the majority were pleased to pass by, and no degree of golfing prowess was about to rewrite this appointed allotment. Sometimes, God places the most extraordinary ingredients in the plainest and most unlikely wrappers, and plain wrappers are seldom anyone's first choice.

Frank shared the game on a weekly basis with a small group of men (the regulars) who were, for lack of a better term, his "golfing buddies." This proved to be a mixed experience for Frank, one that he quietly endured alone. On the one hand, it was good to have associates to share the game with, for it is not as much fun to golf alone, but on the other hand the experience was often spoiled by a certain awkward tension between Frank and the others. It was a sort of quiet and unspoken rivalry where there could be no actual rivalry at all. Each week, for the space of nearly 28 years, Frank demonstrated before the regulars that he played the game at his own level and was in competition with no one but himself. The regulars knew better than anyone just who Frank was to the game of golf, but even though this was true, to the regulars, Frank was just... well... Frank. He was still just one of the guys. Sure he was very, very good, that was an undisputed fact. "Just ask him, and he'll probably tell you" (or so goes the behind the back jab). It still remained to be seen, however, just how good he would actually be in the real heat of national competition. But was it really fitting that such a small town nobody should master the game in such a way? It didn't seem to fit with who he really was. Was Frank really that important? Did he feel that anyone owed him something? Surely such abilities are better intended for a more appropriate and appealing package –perhaps for some much more charismatic figure who was better suited for legendary status. The regulars saw with there own eyes, year after year, the confidence and consistency in his game and knew that anyone who could repeatedly accomplish such exploits on the green was certainly worthy of all due credit. Yet somehow, they could not bring themselves to fully acknowledge the uniqueness of this man that they had to themselves and were privileged to know each week of their lives for years. Frank was just not in vogue at the smallville Golf Club, even in spite of who he was on the green.

Some years back, retired golfing legend Arnold Palmer came to visit the Club and play a relaxed 18 holes, shake hands, and sign autographs. The local news teams were present and it was an all day event with the entire club membership in attendance. City and town officials outside of the club were also invited. Arnold was, at times throughout the day, thronged with people signing autographs and posing for endless photos. Frank was there too, and the regulars, who fell all over Mr. Palmer at the autograph table. They were exuberant and more than willing to feed him with accolades and adoration, each being certain to get a photo alone with their hero, "The King."

It is interesting to note how differently the lots can fall to those who share such similarities; it is something that is determined outside of man's control and for reasons, that for now, defy understanding. Both Arnold and Frank were men who were cut from the same cloth and dominated at the top of the game possessing the same level of ability. Each week of their golfing life they consistently demonstrated that they were among the very best. Yet, Mr. Palmer received endless accolades, opportunities, and privileges for his accomplishments where Frank, at the end of each weekly game, was rewarded instead with a strange and eerie silence in the company of his peers. It wasn't what they said, it was what they wouldn't say. This is strange indeed. Why was it so very imperative for one certain man to be set at naught by the competitive majority? Frank lived life high at the top of his game and, to his credit, that was a wonderful thing, but with it came the perils of being surrounded by so many who would, by way of denial, cast him down from his excellency.

I guess in a manner of speaking you could say that Frank was made to pay for his crime, which was no crime at all, except in the estimation of his rivals. What was this high crime for which Frank was so guilty? Well, I guess it was this... Frank was just too damn good for their liking, and he wasn't supposed to be. He was just too unique a person, and it just couldn't be denied (only minimized). Frank was supposed to be a boring little grey piece of paper, crumpled up and stuffed into the obscure corner of nowhere. He was supposed to keep quiet, pay his dues, finish his game, and get the hell off the green in order to make room for the people who really mattered. It is interesting to see just how easy it is for a man to be redefined and disallowed by something as simple as the determined preferences of an unwilling and non-consenting majority.





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