In the Legand of Bagger Vance, Matt Damon returns home from the war in 1936 to a hero's welcome and the hope of the townfolk that he will once again pick up his golf clubs to resume playing the game at which he was so spectacularly good. But Matt (Junuh) is suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from his war experiences, has lost his self-confidence and self-esteem and is unable to pick his life back up and move forward. He lost his direction in life, what the movie calls his authentic swing. His golf game sucks, too. And if you haven't already guessed, golf is an analogy to the game of life...both in this movie, and each day we live.
Luckily for Junnah, a wise old caddy named Bagger Vance (Will Smith) ambles into town and offers to carry Junuh's clubs. But this is no ordinary caddy, and certainly no ordinary man. Oh no....Bagger has come from on high to help Junuh through a spiritual metamorphosis. Listen as he describes to another character in the movie how to think of the golf course and the way we play the game. I love this scene, for it is such an eloquent description of the game of golf, which my kids tell me is a 'mind game'. So too, life.
Did you notice how he describes the course (life) as a living, breathing thing that follows the sun and changes throughout the day? He practically hypnotizes this little guy as he talks so softly about how unnecessary it is to worry about hitting the ball (succeeding in things). Our real efforts should be focused on standing in who we know we are and finding our authentic swing. Watch to see how Junuh finally understands how to get out of the woods and step into his authentic self.
We can either believe that life happens to us, or we can commit to bringing our authentic self to the course of life and play the best game we can. As Bagger said, "This is a game that can neither be won or lost....only played."
"You are a Deity in jeans and a t-shirt, and within you dwells the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was.” – Anthon St. Maarten
The Legend of Bagger Vance is on Netflix right now. Or, you can get it at Amazon.com.