Sometimes we get to experience a day full of our favorite things. This week had one of those days. It was spent with my brother and began on the golf course. We played a round of golf in the morning. Then, the evening was spent experiencing opening day for the Mariners. Two of my favorite sports in golf and baseball. While playing golf we didn’t get hit with any precipitation, but it was chilly. The weather in the Seattle area can be cold at the end of March. Once we arrived home from playing golf, there was an hour to prepare for the second part of our day. The baseball game was going to begin at seven that evening, but we wanted to make it for pre-game festivities. It was going to be cold inside the ballpark. So, layering up to maintain warmth became crucial. The transitional hour worked out well. It was just enough time to switch from golf to baseball and by four in the afternoon we headed back out. The drive down to Seattle was better than expected and we found ourselves in our seats with time to spare. After grabbing something to eat upon arriving, I was ready for the first baseball game of the year.
The morning round of golf had its interesting moments. We played at Snoqualmie Falls, which has become the course of choice. Snoqualmie was more soggy than normal from the week of rain. The dampness meant the golf ball wasn’t rolling after landing in the fairway. Every player can use that extra distance when their golf shot lands. When shots are ending up not far from their landing point, being patient has value. However, the day required calm for other reasons. Sometimes playing golf days after working out can take its own toll. The soreness throughout my body was unlike anything that had been felt in some time. It felt as though my golf club could barely be swung. Getting my body to perform the tasks it was being asked to do felt impossible. Remembering these occasions in the past had me coming up with some solutions to combat my struggle. My first plan of action was to simply attempt fighting through the fatigue. When the option of overcoming the day with pure force didn’t work, shortening my swing was the next best option.
Shortening my golf swing was something I have always been taught. Cerebral palsy doesn’t simply cause physical movements to be more challenging. The disability also seems to cause fatigue. While my body deals with the involuntary muscle movements, rigidity, and tension, it’s becoming tired due to those responsibilities. When playing golf as a kid, fatigue would set in sooner during a round of golf than it does today. So, to combat the frustration brought on from getting tired, the idea was to shorten my swing. The shorter backswing simply didn’t use as much energy and still contacted the golf ball solidly. During our round of golf the other day, the ache in my body was brought on by positive soreness. The workout earlier in the week hadn’t been recovered from, making it difficult to complete my golf swing. As our round wore on during the day, I remembered the tips from my youth. My swing began shortening some and the shots were being struck better. Cerebral palsy still plays a part in the soreness and fatigue, which leaves me frustrated, but it’s important to find ways around those challenging times.
Cerebral palsy itself brings on fatigue, making most physical things more challenging. My body seems to be continually fight against involuntary movements. Those involuntary movements have also caused instability in my body. Like getting tired leads to shortening the golf swing to maintain balance. Walking through crowds also brings about emotions of anxiety. The second activity of our day would involve navigating through large crowds of people. It would be in contrast to how we spent the morning. Playing golf allows for physical functioning in wide open spaces. Having plenty of room to function naturally brings on more ease of movement, making cerebral palsy easier to handle. When going to opening night at the baseball game, there wouldn’t be much open space to function. The anticipation of being amongst crowds of people has often left me feeling anxious. It has always been easy to lose my balance when getting bumped into. The situation always makes being around crowds slightly more fear inducing. However, going to baseball games has been worth the mild discomfort. Once the seats have been reached, the stress of moving around people subsides, and the game becomes enjoyable.
The beginning of a new baseball season can bring noticeable change. Each year similar patterns are followed when attending baseball games. Spending five months away from the stadium environment changes me physically. During those months workouts continue taking place, as life continues to be lived. When returning to the ballpark, the impact of winter can be felt and I often go into opening day expecting more difficulty moving around. The anticipation of that added challenges comes to mind simply from aging another year. However, opening day of the baseball season this year felt different. While walking out of the stadium, there seemed time to reflect back on the experience. There was a calmness throughout my body that had been there for much of the night. In reflecting back, everything about the evening was easier than the prior year. As we walked through the crowded ballpark on our way to the car, there was calm in my emotions. The walk felt sturdier and my fear of being nudged off balance had all but disappeared. Even eating while in my seat before the game was less jilted, my body was moving with more calm. It was a pleasant surprise to reflect back upon, as the challenge of cerebral palsy was improving.
Strength training made one activity on this day more challenging in the moment. While that same training caused reflection on how the second activity was made easier. A difficult workout can leave muscles extremely sore. The body can reach a point where it simply doesn’t want to move athletically. Those moments can also take me back to my youth, when my body didn’t want to move simply because of fatigue rather than soreness. In those moments, it seems important to understand the difference. The frustration with my game of golf was due to the effort for improving cerebral palsy, instead cerebral palsy negatively affecting my body. Those exercises making the day of golf slightly frustrating would end up improving my experience later. As those workouts were improving my movements around the ballpark. My improved steadiness making everything simpler. There aren’t words to explain how good it felt to move through crowds of people with less fear. The feeling of added control over my body felt priceless, but will take some adjustment. It will help me pay attention to things happening around me, rather than slouching over with my head down, in hopes that nothing harmful happens.
Thursday was spent doing things that have always been exciting. Having the ability to play golf and attend opening day of the baseball season was cool. My score wasn’t kept, which was probably for the best. The round of golf turned out to be kind of a struggle due to soreness. However, there did seem to be value in playing through the struggles. It seems that experience will carry over to making good days better. When we fight through things that maybe aren’t so easy, we usually learn something useful. For me, the lesson during our round of golf was remaining patient. As we transitioned to the baseball game, it turned out patience wasn’t as necessary. The winter had brought some unexpected strength. That strength provided more stability than had been experience during the prior season. Walking around the ballpark and having something to eat felt smoother. It simply shows how important it can be to continue challenging limits. No matter what your challenge might be, growth always has the chance to occur. As long as we stay diligent in our pursuit to improve, good days will continue to occur. Baseball and golf in the same day with my brother, now that’s a good day!