Keep Your Swing in the Barrel

Ann Kendall avatar

by Ann Kendall |

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I met my husband on the golf course. Now, one of my greatest joys is watching my daughter learn to play at that very same course. It is where I feel most at home.

The course is not a relaxing set of fairways we see on Sunday afternoon broadcasts with lush homes gracing its finely manicured greens; it rests at the crux of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in Washington, D.C., where jets roar into your field of vision every 60 seconds. But the course is hardly absent of beauty and awe. Depending on the hole, the Washington Monument casts its spell and shadow over the weeping willows and aging cherry trees.

My earliest memories of the golf course are intertwined with every other memory of my childhood. Before I could hold a club, I was rescuing errant balls from the creek that ran through the woods behind the 14th fairway near my grandparents’ house. (My dad and his brothers learned to golf there as boys, too.)

That creek held other treasures to capture a kid’s attention, including the tiniest of salmon fighting their way upstream and plenty of flat rocks for working on my skipping skills (never made it far on that). When I pretended to caddy for my gramps it was like my own Sunday afternoon broadcast, though I am quite sure he never ever took my advice on anything.

But when I tried to learn the game around age 9 or 10, I was too restless. The game was too slow, and my friends all played soccer (this was the era of Pelé the superstar). Golf simply could not compete.

My views and interests changed in my 20s, particularly when I learned that golf skills could be a major asset in business. Once again I set out to the course with my dad to see if I could “get my head in the game,” as golfers say.

My dad carried this old, beat-up, black bag of balls everywhere in those days. We took it out to an old course in the valley with a do-it-yourself driving range — basically a recently flooded plot of grass where you could bring your own balls to hit and fetch. It was the wild west of golf. This was the kind of golf my dad enjoyed. He called it blue-collar golf, or golf for everyone, nothing fancy. It’s what he grew up with near the creek and he thought it was the best way to learn.

His main lesson that day is the needle stuck in the groove as I watch my daughter develop her own swing: Keep your swing in the barrel. The mechanics of the perfect swing are complex. Every golfer watches and analyzes their idols, mentors, and competitors to ascertain exactly what creates an advantage — and magic.

But on that day in the mushy grass, with my shots peppering the horizon, Dad’s guidance was clear: control what you can, which in this case was my body. I could not control the dampness of the grass, the wind, or the sun, but I could control how and where I swung my club and positioned my body.

This is a time of extreme unease, but we in the bleeding disorders community have been training for years. While we are accustomed to rapidly changing bleeds, changing health laws, and insurance brawls, the COVID-19 pandemic adds another level of anxiety.

It is important to focus on what we know how to do: check in on one another, call early to order essential factor and other medications, and track bleeds and symptoms. We cannot control this virus, but we can keep our swing solidly in our barrel by doing what we know how to do best: taking care of our families and our communities.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, Bionews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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