I was watching Darren Clarke at Royal St. Georges this morning. Early this morning. Very early.
I had it taping on the ol’ DVR and was fast-forwarding through it on the way to an exciting conclusion. I wanted to see it live, you see. I didn’t want to risk finding out some other way. I love the watching the Open Championship (the British Open) because of the links golf courses and the sweeping, barren vistas. It’s a totally different kind of golf.
At many of the British courses, there aren’t tons of houses sprawled out alongside the course, and you really get the feeling that you are peeking into the history of golf. If you play golf, you understand. If you don’t play…well…bear with me.
I spent a semester in Scotland near a prominent golf course and one of my favorite parts of those months was taking long walks around the course (and the sea next door) and just taking in the silence. There isn’t much out there to disturb the effect. You go to your core, as there is so little to distract!
I was lost in that reverie and memory this morning when suddenly, in the middle of the telecast, the power went out at my house. In a moment, I was transported from a modernity of electricity and the constant buzzing of electronics, to complete, all-encompassing silence. Total silence in the house. It was as if I had been taken from my home near the city to the shores of the sea near the course that complimented months of my study years ago. Nothing but me and the ringing in my ears.
It was an odd juxtaposition. From noise to silence in a second.
In my semester abroad, life was so much like that. I was in a room with no phone, no computer, no television. Just me, my books, and my walks. At times, the only sound was sound I chose to make. I spent a lot of time getting centered, learning about myself, and learning to focus.
And so it was this morning without power.
Eventually, it all came back on. In a moment, dead silence was back to air filters, TV, and the like, just like my time in Scotland eventually yielded to my city-busy dorm room back in the US. Indeed, Darren Clarke’s oft-quiet stroll took the Open Championship at Royal St. Georges and the crowd eventually roared noisy approval.
But as I watched him make the 2011 British Open walk up the 18th there at Royal St. Georges, I was suddenly hit with the idea that maybe inside Darren Clarke’s mind, there was the excitement of victory and the tallying of the cash he would receive…and excitement over his impending marriage. But maybe, just maybe, there was a stillness in there. A quiet inside the man. A moment not dependent on TV, radio, cheers, cell phones, computers, blogs, bars, noise, or chatter. Just a blessed silence where we are alone with our thoughts. It’s a place that doesn’t depend on a power outage. Just the power to stay calm and focused. That’s the real place we find out who we are and that’s the real place where we connect with our greatness and our abilities (or, in my case, an hour of forced peace in an otherwise not-so-extraordinary day).
Congratulations, Darren Clarke. Enjoy your moment, the cheering, the interviews, and the adulation. But don’t forget — after all the interviews and clamoring — to get back to the quite center that took you right to the center of golf’s most historic major.