Explode Up!

I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m frustrated.  The awkward silence fills the cubby of the indoor golf site I get lessons from in the winter. “John, I can’t do it. My club decelerates when I hit impact. I don’t know what else to do”. My nervousness begins to greaten when I realize I have a week left until I leave for the academy. “Casey, I don’t know what to tell you right now. Let’s try squatting, without pushing your right knee out, and when you hit impact you’re going to explode up, quick, and with strength”. He proceeds to hold my body down while I try squatting lower and lower. “Now, explode up!” he says. I push upwards as hard as I can but I seem to be stuck in the same position. “See? I can’t get my body up like that. And if I do, my club seems to get stuck right when I’m striking the ball”, I say. John looks unhappy with me, but it may be he’s just unhappy with his teaching. I cannot tell.

When John makes a certain look, with his hand over his chin and a confused gaze in his eyes, I know that he’s thinking. Every lesson I see this look and it makes me worry. Does he really not know how to help me? I think to myself. This time, he turns to me and tells me that I cannot get any more power from my arms, and that my legs and thighs is where the rest of my power now needs to come from. “Alright”, I say, with sweat dripping down the side of my cheek that could be easily mistaken as a tear. Wait, was it a tear?

“Casey I know you are mad at me. I know this is hard, but you’re going to have to do it. There’s no possible way you can get enough power and hit long enough with your swing now. Do you understand that?” he proceeds to tell me. A small pause. I try to bring myself together so I don’t start crying. Why is this all happening to me now? Why didn’t he tell me this earlier? “I do, I’m just. I’m just not sure how to fix it. I understand the whole exploding thing but it seems to weigh me down, so that the club cannot swing fast. It feels as if it’s stuck” I finally am able to say. “I guess I get that,” he says. “But how de we fix it?” he asks again. Another small pause. By this time it’s 5:20. I was supposed to be done 20 minutes ago. Doesn’t he have another lesson? When can I leave? “John, this just isn’t fun. I hate this” I continue to say to my coach. “You will be fine Casey, you will be fine” he says. He finally dismisses me from the lesson and I slowly walk to my car, thinking to myself: I hate this. I just hate this.

We can do this John, we can do this.

“You have to call me once you get there, please. I’m worried they will screw up your swing,” says John, my golf coach. “I don’t think they can do any harm, really. It’s not like I’m going to show up and completely forget about everything I learned these past four years”, I say, “it should be fun! I’m not going to lie though, I’m super nervous”. “Casey,” John goes on to say “I want you to be prepared to be let down. You need to understand these players are playing in every top Division 1 college. They will beat you. And they won’t feel sorry for you. This will be one of the biggest challenges you will have to face. But remember, this isn’t for them. This is for you. This is for you to improve in ways you never thought you could before. No one cares if you have a bad shot. Just think about you and how you want to succeed”.

John, a man with a past career of Division 1 tennis and music, is one of the most encouraging coaches I have ever met. He is always early, stays after hours in the dark, tells me how bad I am at times, yet shows me how I can win a match, in the most difficult sport I have ever played, golf. He is always positive, telling me and his other students, that we can achieve what ever we set our minds to. He is always smiling, always rubbing and making jokes about his big belly, and always a father figure to us all.

“Kid, you hit the ball as hard as my grandma does, and she’s dead”. These comments are shot my way during every practice. “Yo, you hit like a girl. When are you going to start lifting weights, like I tell you every time you come to me?” he says. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I’m so busy. I’ve been trying my best” I say. “Well, obviously your best is not enough!” says my coach.

This makes me nervous. How am I going to survive two weeks at a golf school? TWO WEEKS?! I will most likely be the only girl and I will have to play with boys everyday on the course. Why didn’t my mom let me get out of this earlier? How far will I get until I break down in a panic attack? “Case, I understand how much anxiety you have. But that’s a good thing. If you didn’t have any worries, than there would be no reason to do this clinic. It will be rough, but you can do it. I have yet to have any doubts,” John tells me. If John thinks I can do it, then I think I can. He knows all. He is god of golf for me. Yes, John, I can do it. I’m doing it for not only me, but for you too. You will not be there but we are in this together. Every stroke, every pitch, every putt, I will follow your suggestions, tips, and advice. I will take a practice swing first, every motion identical to the way you taught me. We can do this John, we can do this.