Last evening was picture perfect — cool temperatures, slight breeze, sunny with green landscapes abounding as our trees and plants benefit from the bountiful rain of the past few weeks.  Work was one of those days that moved along at a pleasant, manageable clip.  As late afternoon approached I found myself looking forward to mounting my road bicycle for a nice spin around the open spaces of west suburban Chicago.  My plan was to change into my cycling clothes as soon as I got home, avoid the call of the couch lest I succumb to its siren song, put in a few hours of sweet sweat.

Nate was parked in front of the TV, feverishly working the video game controller to extinguish increasingly pesky video zombies.  A large part of his free time since school ended for the summer has been devoted to perfecting his gaming skills.  Also occupying his time, daily, is golf.  To his credit, he did not give up golf after a disappointing start to the summer season, instead determination to improve has taken over.  That is his personality, one of the reasons individual sports such as golf or tennis are more his cup of tea than a team sport like baseball.  His success is based on his performance.  My son would rather work against himself.  Good for him, I say, since that will hopefully teach him lessons to take into life as he learns to take responsibility for his own actions.  He sorely needs to learn that.

Without looking up as I walked into the room, Nate asked evenly, “Do you want to play golf tonight, Dad?”.

My plan for the evening changed immediately.  No way am I giving up that opportunity.  I think I have said this before — the golf course is where Nate and I relate to each other the best, where he treats me like his father rather than his opponent (so normal for a teen, I know). 

Last night was no exception.  Maybe it was the perfect weather.  Maybe it was just the way things went for the both of us because it was as if both Nate and I were being rewarded for our efforts of late, a blessing of good fortune bestowed on us.  I golfed better than I ever have, well enough that Nate was openly showing his appreciation.  Nate’s game suddenly came together, back to what it had been last year (which was very good) and better. 

“Kind of see what is important about this game, eh?  You have to stay with it or it doesn’t stay with you.  Your practicing is paying off.”

A good evening and a good opportunity.  Yeah, I could have spent the evening by myself on my bike, perhaps more relaxing to me.  Perhaps not.  I even got a bonus from Nate last night.  While we were unloading our golf clubs from the back of my car, Nate noticed my new bicycle rack, asked about it.  Then he told me he wants to go mountain biking with me soon.

Really?  Wow.