VOICEOVER: (Narrated by Arnold Palmer)
Swing your swing. Not some idea of a swing. Not a swing you saw on TV. Not that swing you wish you had. No. Swing your swing. Capable of greatness. Prized only by you. Perfect in its imperfection. Swing your swing. I know, I did.
As a golfer, that is the best advice I’ve ever been given. Every time I take a lesson or read a golf magazine or try to swing like I’m supposed to, what I’m left with is so bad even I’m embarrassed to play with me. I’m thinking about the angle I take away the club, rotating my shoulders, swinging inside out, keeping my elbow in, clearing my hips and on and on. It’s mind boggling. And every time I go through that exercise (Because, after all, shouldn’t I be able to crush the ball with ease like the professionals do I watch on TV. That’s like saying I should be able to dunk like Dr. J.), I always end back with my old swing. It’s the only way I can get the club face on the back of ball most of the time. It’s ugly and it’s different depending on what club I’m swinging, but when it comes to golf it is just the way my mind works.
What makes the “Swing Your Swing” advice so good is that it’s not just about golf. This is advice to be heeded about things I’m actually good at doing.
It’s good advice about the way I write. Using sentences that aren’t sentences. And starting sentences with and. And writing down the way I hear words in my head. There is a combination of being an English major and knowing the rules and the experience of writing for advertising and ignoring them in the way I write. There are also all the books I read stuffed somewhere in my head, waiting to sneak out onto the page. But mostly I just swing my swing, or write like I write.
It’s good for the way I design ads and postcards and signs and brochures. I was never taught how to do this stuff. My future wife and a friend of ours started an ad agency. My friend was the graphic artist. I was just a suit. Trouble is, right after we landed our first big client he got in a car wreck, almost tore his right arm out of the socket and he is right handed. He couldn’t work on the computer for three months. So, every day I would sit in his chair in front of his computer and he would tell me what to do. That didn’t make me a graphic artist, but it gave me a swing.
It’s good for the photographs I take. I don’t have a big bag full of cameras and different lenses I wouldn’t know what to do with anyway. I have a digital SLR and one zoom lens that lets me see up close and up to several hundred feet away. So, I take a thousand pictures and find the few that are photographs. Now if I could just focus.
There is a problem with all this, however. When I swing my swing on the golf course, I shoot 90. That’s not going to make me any money on the PGA Tour. My swing has made me a living with writing and designing, though, but I want more. I want to be the guy talking about his new book on Oprah (well, maybe not Oprah). Okay, on Ellen (not really Ellen, either). But that’s the idea. I want everybody to know what I’m doing, like every golfer knows the guys playing golf on TV. And the harder I try to make that happen, the more frustrating it gets. It’s like taking a lesson or trying a tip from a golf magazine. It is supposed to help and maybe it does for a few fleeting rounds, but in the end it’s right back to my swing and obsessing over why I can’t shoot under par like Arnold Palmer.
And then I relax and start swinging my swing again. Because it’s okay to want more. It’s just that the “more” I want may not be the “more” I get. Because MY plan just isn’t THE plan. Most folks have heard Philippians 4:13. It says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” But I have a ball marker that’s engraved PHIL. 4:12. That’s the verse with the right swing thought. It says, “in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Because God isn’t interested in our swing at all. He wants us to swing HIS swing.