Finding space to dream

Published 10:38 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Plenty of golfers would argue with the assertion that the sport provides a way to relax. For many, a day on the links, though it might represent a great way to get away from normal daily stressors, is a ticket to increased blood pressure and a pounding heart.

But when it’s compared, for instance, to the daily stress of improvised explosive devices, long marches under the blazing sun and worrying about the possibility that one might be shot by an insurgent dressed as an Iraqi or Afghani police officer, golf seems downright tame.

And that was the point for a group of disabled veterans — most suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder — who visited the Suffolk Golf Course last week for an annual event sponsored by the Virginia Disabled American Veterans. Men and women from the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center spent most of Thursday learning the rules of golf, polishing up their swings and just relaxing on the public course. There was a catered lunch and plenty of time to swap stories and enjoy what turned out to be a great day outside.

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It’s a great event and a worthy cause, as all of these disabled veterans have a pile of baggage that returned with them from America’s wars in the Middle East, along with a great need to find a way to move on and have a normal life here back at home. Perfecting one’s golf game might seem a stressful way to try to achieve that goal, but organizers and participants agree that it’s an effective way of dealing with the problems brought back home from deployments.

Isaac Baker, a Disabled American Veterans chaplain who organized the event, said it was intended to inspire and motivate. “If they have a dream or a desire, whatever, this gives them the motivation to live that dream,” he said.

These veterans deserve the space to dream. On Thursday, they found all the space they could have wanted on the green grass of a Suffolk golf course.