By Randy Uens
This is a strange statement, but I miss driving. I miss driving to sports and I miss driving golf balls. Two very different definitions for the same word, but both equally missed by this sports fanatic. One is the cause and effect of the pandemic, the other is just the cause of the long winter and my inability to slip away to somewhere warm to get my golf fix.
The Dreaded car ride home.
If you talk to most parents of kids playing youth sports or people who are involved in travelling arts like competitive dance, many will say the part they dread the most is the driving. Most of these families pile on the miles week in and week out. It has been truly shocking how much money our family has saved with the reduced amount of travel.
The time and cost associated with youth sports travel is extensive, but I miss it. I truly enjoy the time in the car with the kids. When you are at home it’s often difficult to find one on one time with your kids. You really have to plan it out and create strategies to find that time to sit and talk.
When you are travelling with your kids, it just happens. You have that time to catch up and connect. Any of my friends that have older kids that have moved on out of the house always lament that what they hated the most is probably what they miss more than anything, the long drives with the kids.
Heading out of town and hitting new restaurants, listening to their bad music and explaining to them that you don’t get the Glorious Sons without Nirvana and you don’t have Nirvana without Led Zeppelin or why Lil Wayne is actually a product of nineties music. I miss that they are stuck in the car and they have to talk with you. And most of the time, they end up enjoying it.
The part that many parents forget that this time is valuable. Don’t waste it and don’t abuse it. Embrace the opportunity to engage and connect with your kids but don’t make it a time that the kids loath.
As a parent coach I always had a rule that I wouldn’t talk to my kids in the car about the game post game unless they wanted to talk about it. I would always praise them and say positive things but I would hold back constructive criticism until we got home or they had time to cool off. Sometimes I would ask them if they wanted to talk about it but I always respected the fact that we would only talk when they were ready.
The drive home was sacred. A time of fun and enjoyment. I never wanted it to be a place they or I resented.
The Longest Drive
I know this is a bit of stretch tying these things together but it does relate in a strange way. I miss golf right now. For the past 15 years I really haven’t played much golf. 5-10 times a year was the usual depending on work and family responsibilities. When the pandemic hit, like so many other people, I hit the golf course because it was one of the few things we could do. I fell in love with it again. I love driving the golf ball. Drive for show, putt for dough is the saying, but I do love the driving part!.
Watching The Players Championship this past weekend I witnessed the fear of the drive again. Bryson Dechambeau has become a polarizing figure on the golf scene. He packed on 40 pounds of muscle through the lockdown and is terrorizing the tour with his physical strength and long drive capabilities.
His distance off the tee not only has been a concern for his competitors but for rule makers alike. The USGA is about to restrict the length of drivers to “DeChambeau” proof their courses going forward. To add further insult to injury, the rule makers were taken back when Bryson declared his intention to circumnavigate the 18th fairway at TPC Sawgrass by driving the ball up the 9th fairway instead. The tournament quickly declared this route as an internal out of bounds.
Once again … don’t fear the drive! Embrace the drive. Fans have been pulled out of their seats watching Tiger drain pressure putts from long distance over the years. Golf needs this Happy Gilmour type hype to draw attention to the game. Who cares if it’s a creative 400 yard drive cutting a corner, it’s impressive. Let it happen.
Regardless of the topic, I look forward to my next long drive!
Tip of the Week :
When you are in the car on these trips, it’s tough to find a quick recovery meal. Athletes should have a recovery meal within 20-30 minutes after playing. Pack a smoothie or small meal to refuel your athlete as quickly as possible post game. Once they have a quick recovery meal then go look for a restaurant. I guarantee you they will be able to eat both and they will be better for it.