We Didn't Keep Score (#SmallWonder Link-up)

The thought never would have occurred to me.  

The teen behind the cash register at the local Sport’s Emporium asked, “Are you going to keep score or not?” and I said, “Yes.”  This was after we picked our ball colors, before we chose our clubs. 

“Western theme or Castle?” she asked.

“Castle,” I said, which is what we’d agreed on, although I knew my eight-year-old son was awful curious about the Western course.  She reached into a bin and handed me a piece of card stock folded with a sharpened golf pencil tucked inside.  Between the folds were tidy squares for keeping score and the par expectations for each hole. 

Leaving behind the video games, laser tag and AC, we set out across a concrete wasteland toward the putt-putt courses.  Alone with our older two kids for the night, we were happy to be doing something that would’ve been impossible with two four year olds in tow.  Sophia and Solomon loped along, their spindly legs flashing new sneakers, hers a neon sherbet and his navy blue. 

We were sweating already and yawning in the early evening light, but strategically placed waterfalls and a breeze pulled us up the hill toward hole #1.  The cashier had planted a seed in my mind and so I asked my husband, “Do we want to keep score?”  

“Do you guys want to keep score?” John asked the kids. 

“No,” they called back over their shoulders.  So we didn’t.  The tidy little pencil and its accompanying card stayed buried in my bag.  It was a good thing, because right off the bat at hole #1, Sophia’s sent her ball flying directly into the water.  We laughed and, noting how hot it was and how far away replacement balls were located, fished the ball out of the water.

“Can I try again?” she asked.  Of course. 

And so it went.  Two gawky kids in new sneakers and two almost forty parents spinning along through 18 holes of minor mishaps and triumphs.  We took turns, mostly, and refrained from “walking the ball” when a shot proved too tough, mostly.  Solomon consistently sent other people’s balls flying with inadvertent taps from his big, new shoes.  He tripped over his own club at least twice and, around hole #10, sent his own ball arcing though the air into the water.  We all gave-up at one point or another and then, at the next hole, got back into the game again.

We had fun, which was the point.

Around hole #15 it dawned on me that perhaps, because we weren’t keeping score, we weren’t really trying.  Then I got a little tense and tried to focus on the shot at hand.  It didn’t seem to make a difference.  

I realized then that I was trying, only my effort was turned in a different direction – away from perfection and accomplishment, toward fun and enjoyment.  As far as I know, there isn’t a score card for that.  

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Only 10 spaces left!  I'm super excited to be joining with Andi Cumbo-Floyd and Shawn Smucker to organize a weekend writer's retreat this summer at God's Whisper Farm in the beautiful mountains of Virginia.  Visit Andi's website for more info!

Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.  

What if we chose to deliberately look for small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?  

That's my proposal - that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  You're invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.  

While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.   


  1. I'm sure I would have enjoyed that round of mini-golf! There are plenty of opportunities in life when we don't have the option of living without the score card. Sounds like a good deal to keep it in your bag whenever possible!

  2. I love miniature golf. Don't get to play often.

    Thank you for the link-up.

    1. We don't play often either - I think this was my first round in 10+ years!

  3. Hmm...you may be on to something, Kelly. Not keeping score may be the way to play lots of games! Although my competitive spirit has lessened a lot as I've gotten older, it can still get in the way when I think there's a score to be had. I'll have to try this strategy instead.

    1. Oh, I have a terribly competitive spirit and two kids who've just entered an extremely competitive stage, so not keeping score was for the best for all of us!

  4. Fun and enJOYment trumps perfection in my book any day, Kelly! I haven't played mini golf in years - looking forward to a round or two on our upcoming vacation. I don't think we'll keep score ;) Have a blessed week!