Late Sunday afternoon, family time on the golf course. My eight year old son was using his new clubs, “a real set”, for the first time. The objective that day was not to keep score, but to find something positive with each shot. Nine holes (or less, depending on his attention span) was the goal for this glorious afternoon. Even though the trees were not fully leafed out, spring was in the air, the grass had greened-up and the robins and other song birds were hopping around cocking their heads listening for worms. We were having a great time, my wife was hitting some good shots and catching some rays and our son was keeping himself occupied hitting ever-improving shots with his new clubs and sitting on my lap driving the cart…. with just a little help.
I was watching with pride and dreaming of future family rounds, as my son was swinging the “proper sized” clubs with an added club head speed and confidence. As we approached the green on the next to the last hole, I found a nice tuft of grass, that formed a beautiful natural tee, and peaked-it-up for my son’s approach shot. He grabbed his “new” favorite club, his fairway metal, and after a few very determined practice swings, gave the ball a mighty whack! The shot was a beauty, straight and high, heading directly for the green. As the ball descended toward its target, a beautiful robin with a bright orange-red breast stepped directly into the path of the ball. There was no sound at impact –time seemed to stand still- the robin fluttered twice then didn’t move.
A look of panic crossed my son’s face as his eyes filled with tears. “Do you think the bird is dead? Will it be OK?” We slowly approached the scene of this freak accident and discovered that the bird was in fact dead. The round of golf was over…. but the sunset burial ceremony was something to remember.
My son has since made many birdies, but none as dramatic as his first.