Last week I watched a movie: The Legend of Bagger Vance. I was teased endlessly for watching it — probably because it’s so old and because it was not known for being a good movie. But reading the the information capsule intrigued me. It seemed to be a magical movie, with a magical caddy who gives his golfer some advice on getting better at his game – not just the golf — but the game of life.
It was a sweet viewing for me. A golden boy goes off to war. He leaves his home in which he is the star, married to the belle of the town, makes no wrong step, does all right things, and has a great and ethical character. He goes to war, sees the atrocities of humanity and humankind, he sees the ill that humans to do each other. He fights brave fights yet loses his men in battle. He comes back home, and is utterly broken. He cannot handle his hero’s welcome. He cannot handle life. He sinks in drink, in escapism. But then, all of a sudden, he is somehow persuaded to take up his golden game – the game he used to be so good at. And the movie is about his battles within that. I want to put some quotes here, so i remember it for later, should I ever want to.
Hardy Greaves: the narrator of the story
Bagger Vance: the caddy
Rannulph Junuh: the golfer
Adele Invergordon: the woman who organized the match/ the golfer’s love
Bagger Vance: The rhythm of the game is just like the rhythm of life.
Rannulph Junuh: I lost my swing Adele…
Adele Invergordon: Really? Where did it go?
Bagger Vance: See, the trick is to find your swing.
Rannulph Junuh: What’d you say?
Bagger Vance: Well you’ve lost your swing. We’ve got to go find it. Now it’s somewhere in the harmony of all that is; all that was; all that will be.
Bagger Vance: Yes. Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Something were born with. Something that’s ours and ours alone. Something that can’t be taught to you or learned. Something that’s got to be remembered. Over time the world can rob us of that swing. It gets buried inside us, under all our “wouldve’s and couldve’s and shouldves.” Some folk even forget what their swing was like.
Bagger Vance: What I’m talking about is a game. A game that can’t be won only played.
Rannulph Junuh: You don’t understand.
Bagger Vance: I don’t need to understand. There isn’t a soul on this entire earth that hasn’t got a burden to carry that he doesn’t understand. You are not alone in that. But you’ve been carrying this one for long enough. It’s time to to go on, to lay it down.
Rannulph Junuh: I don’t know how.
Bagger Vance: You have a choice. You can stop. Or you can start.
Rannulph Junuh: Start?
Bagger Vance: Walking.
Rannulph Junuh: Where?
Bagger Vance: Right back to where you have always been, and then stand there. Still. Very still. And remember…
Rannulph Junuh: It’s too long ago.
Bagger Vance: Oh no, it was just a moment ago. It’s time for you to come out of the shadows, Junuh. Time for you to choose.
Rannulph Junuh: I can’t.
Bagger Vance: Yes you can. But you aren’t alone. I”m right here with you. I’ve been here all along. Now play the game. Your game. The one that only you were meant to play. The one that was given to you when you came into this world. Are you ready? Strike that ball Junuh. Don’t hold anything back. Give it everything. Now’s the time. Let yourself remember. Remember YOUR swing. That’s right Junuh, settle yourself. Let’s go. Now is the time, Junuh.
Bagger Vance: Put your eyes on Bobby Jones. Look at his practice swing, almost like he’s searching for something. Then he finds it. Watch how he settles himself right into the middle of it. Feel that focus. He’s got a lot of shots he could choose from — Duffs and tops and skulls. There’s only ONE shot that’s in perfect harmony with the field. One shot that’s his authentic shot, and that shot is going to choose him. There’s a perfect shot out there trying to find each and every one of us. All we’ve got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us. You can’t see that flag as some dragon you got to slay. You’ve got to look at it with soft eyes. See the place where the tides and the seasons and the turning of the Earth, all come together — where everything that is becomes one. You’ve got to seek that place with your soul Junuh. Seek it with your hands don’t think about it. Feel it. Your hands are wiser than your head is ever going to be. Now I can’t take you there Junuh. I just hope I can help you find a way. Just you. That ball. That flag. And all you are.
Rannulph Junuh: I can win Adele. I can beat both of them. Look into my eyes and tell me what you see.
Adele Invergordon: Determination. Pure determination.
Rannulph Junuh: Panic, Adele. Pure panic. I’m eight strokes behind two of the greatest golfers in the sport. They’ve never blown a lead in their lives, and I’m going to win. Do you know why?
Adele Invergordon: Panic?
Rannulph Junuh: That’s right.
Adele Invergordon: Oh Junuh, you don’t by any chance…
Rannulph Junuh: Yes…
Adele Invergordon: Was there something about me that you particularly missed? Something that I can feel gratified about depriving you for all these years?
Rannulph Junuh: I liked the way we danced…
Rannulph Junuh: You really love this game, don’t you?
Hardy Greaves: It’s the greatest game there is.
Rannulph Junuh: You really think so?
Hardy Greaves: Ask anybody. It’s fun. It’s hard and you stand out there on that green, green grass, and it’s just you and the ball and there isn’t nobody to beat up on you but yourself; just like Mister Newnan keeps hitting himself with the golf club every time he gets angry. He’s broken his toe three times on account of it. It’s the only game I know that you can call a penalty on yourself, if you’re honest, which most people are. There just isn’t any other game like it.
Rannulph Junuh: Anything else?
Bagger Vance: Just bash the living shit out of it.