A Hall of Fame Journey…

My dad is being inducted into the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame tomorrow night.  Parents often tell their children how proud they are of them, but statements of pride and admiration don’t flow from child to parent as commonly.  AB golf hall of fame

This is one of those times.

I’m so proud of him.  And not even for the Hall of Fame induction per se, but for the passion that he’s followed his entire life.

I grew up with golf playing a major role in my life.  Until I was ten years old, we lived in the tiny village of Hughenden, Alberta, with a population of a couple hundred people.  The golf course of my early childhood had sand greens, and at weekend tournaments I would earn spending money raking the sand as each group played through.  We owned a two-seater golf cart, and I vividly remember learning to drive it when I could barely reach the pedals.  I remember Sunday pancake breakfasts at the clubhouse, disturbing red ant hills in the treed area behind the number one tee box, building elaborate wooden forts alongside the forested roadway entrance, and walking the course in the Spring as crocuses peeked up and signaled the end of the harsh prairie Winter.  At seven years old, we memorialized our poodle, Sugar, with a pile of rocks that lies deep within the forest off the number three fairway.  I can still imagine that clearing in the trees and see my mother’s tears.  Am I painting you a picture?  Can you feel the golfbag on your back, the crunchy grass beneath your spikes, the crisp Alberta sunshine on your face?

After our move to Sundre, at age ten, my love of the game waned.  Moreso, I suspect, due to adolescent moodiness rather than any feelings for the golf itself.  Nevertheless, golf remained a constant.  We played as a family nearly every Sunday afternoon, even as my teenaged petulance grew.  Now, with the benefit of hindsight and maturity, I can see that these afternoons were never about the golf for my parents, but rather a chance to spend some time together.  My brother grabbed this opportunity and ran with it, eventually earning a golf scholarship to a D1 school in the States, and lots of international travel and competition.  I went the other way, rebelling against a sport steeped in rules and tradition; my perfectionism, impatience, and stubbornness do not serve me well on a golf course, and these days, I limit my golf to the driving range and tee boxes only.

But I’m flying in for the event tomorrow; just me, no kids, and 24 hours in Alberta at my dad’s side.  I’m going to squeeze in a run on my beloved Snake Hill, snuggle with my baby niece, and enjoy an evening celebrating my dad’s passion.  Because really, “there is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~Nelson Mandela

 

Les Swelin golf hall of fame

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6 thoughts on “A Hall of Fame Journey…

  1. Mom says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad Ash, and how very appropriate to write this about him today, just prior to the Induction. Well done. Looking forward to spending the day with you! ox

  2. Carol Landmark says:

    Dear Ashley, your story about your Dad, golf and growing up in Hughenden brings back fond memories. I remember one beautiful Thanksgiving Day, before dinner, taking you, Ryan and my two boys, all of you being very young, in the golf cart. Down the street we went, across the railroad tracks, to play golf. How many places can you do that?! (the fun of ‘small town, Alberta)
    You will all have a wonderful time tomorrow, celebrating with your Dad, Les, on this momentous occasion, will be a proud moment for all of you! Sorry I can’t be there but will certainly be thinking of you.
    xo, Auntie C.

  3. Judy Adams says:

    A wonderful tribute to a special person Ashley. So happy you will all be together for the celebration. Congratulations to Les!

  4. Jet & Jim Ruud says:

    Congratulations Les!
    We still all miss you and your family!
    Beautiful speech Ashley!
    Enjoy your time with family.
    Hugs you all.

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