From the Braver Institute
Play through the pain. That’s what they say. I’m not sure if I would agree with that if the pain is say, from a broken leg or a slipped disc. But if the pain is caused by sore muscles that aren’t used to working a certain way, well then by all means continue to play.
Such was the case for my good friend Wayne Genghis and me.
Last year—as you may recall—I discovered golf. Okay, I didn’t discover it in the sense that no one had ever known of it before, I discovered it in the sense that I had never played before, and after said discovery I discovered I was hooked on golf.
While I haven’t played as much golf as I would have liked since that time, I have played more golf this year than I have ever played in my life, including one tournament. Last weekend Wayne and I hit the links. After discovering (see previous description of discovery) twilight golf (one low price for unlimited play after a certain time—more courses should offer this so we wouldn’t have to travel so far) we found that we could not resist the urge to book a tee time and off we went.
We managed to play twentyseven holes before calling it quits (we could have gotten thirty-six in if Wayne hadn’t stopped off for a burger and popcorn in the clubhouse after the first eighteen.
At any rate, twenty-seven holes is a pile of playing for a couple of guys who haven’t played much golf ever, or in Wayne’s case, a very long time. We knew we were going to be sore the next day.
As expected, I woke up the next morning lacking the ability to lift my arms off of the bed. The way they felt kind of made me wish that I could detach them and just leave them on the bed to rest up for the day. The pain in my arms reminded me of when I first met Wayne.
I worked for Wayne over a dozen years ago now (it is shocking how the time has flown) at the sawmill he owned. I was just a laborer tasked with peeling logs, among other things. In the old days a drawknife was use to strip the bark off of logs, but in these modern times we have machinery to do that job. We used a device called a Log Wizard that attached to the bar of a chainsaw. It is essentially a planer head (look it up if you don’t know what it is because I am not even going to begin to try to explain it) that is driven by the chain of the saw.
The Log Wizard is infinitely faster than peeling with a drawknife, but there is a serious drawback—it is painful to operate after twenty minutes or so. After that amount of time it becomes very hard to hold your arms up while operating it, and when you can’t hold your arms up you start gouging the log with the planer head and that makes a mess of everything. Most people I have seen using this device think it would be fun to do à la Tom Sawyer and whitewashing the fence, but quickly realize the folly of their thinking and do their best to never operate a log wizard for as long as they live.
At the mill, to never use the Log Wizard again was not an option. When I first started working there, I would need to rest my arms for twice as long as I worked them, only to be able to work for another ten or fifteen minutes. The next day was the first time I wished I could detach my arms and leave them in bed.
After two weeks or so of peeling logs with the Wizard, my arms started bothering me less and I was able to peel for as long as the saw would run on a tank of gas, only resting for the time it took to refill the gas tank. I had become used to using these muscles and they never hurt again even after a full day of peeling.
I remember a time when we were working on a log home downstate and I had to peel logs on site. Members of our subcontracting crew who had the misfortune of once using a Log Wizard would marvel at my ability to peel nonstop. The truth is that anyone who used a Log Wizard long enough to get used to it could peel just as long as I could, but most people never got that far.
We had a smaller guy working with us who would peel all day long. There were times when a great, big, manly man would show up wanting to try the Wizard only to find himself openly weeping after a few minutes at the helm, while all along this smaller guy would be peeling away like he never even started. It was fun to see the damage done to the psyche of the big guy.
Having the benefit of getting used to working with the Log Wizard, and the knowledge that the pain will go away never to return, has motivated me to continue to play golf in the hope that one day I will be able to play non-stop with the only rest being the time it takes to travel from the putting green of one hole to the tee of the next, and from the eighteenth hole to the next golf course.