Bagger Vance and finding your one true authentic swing

Aaron McHugh

Junuh Finding His One True Authentic Swing
Junuh finding his one true authentic swing

“Yep… Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing… Somethin’ we was born with… Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone… Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned… Somethin’ that got to be remembered… Over time the world can rob us of that swing… It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas… Some folk even forget what their swing was like…”

The Legend of Bagger Vance
Steven Pressfield

Finding Your Swing Again

Do you know where it went?

How long has it been gone?

What took its place?

Do you even believe that you have it anymore?

In the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance, Will Smith’s character Bagger Vance, counsels Rannulph Junuh, played by Matt Damon, that all that is standing in his way of winning history’s greatest golf match is finding his swing.

Author Steven Pressfield must have read our mail when he wrote this scene. Junuh was lost. He was lost beneath a heap of personal debris. Life had crushed him by its relentless and violent persistence. He used to play golf. He used to love the game. He used to smile. He used to be the town hero. Now, after a decade of disappointments, hardships, and consequences from character defects, he lost his swing.

Bagger Vance was right

Inside every one of us there is our one true authentic swing, the swing that only we can make. The swing that was installed into our DNA upon inception. Some might call it our sweet spot. Some might say it’s our gifting.

I think Stephen Pressfield was naming something deeper than gifting.

Our one true authentic swing is that thing we do that only we can do the way we do it.

I’ve watched surfers, singers, pianists, speakers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, carpenters, artists, writers, athletes, and chefs, each swing in a way that can only be explained as authentic – somethin’ we was born with.

I’ve tried to explain this phenomenon before. I called it The Illusion of Ease. Pressfield’s explanation through Bagger Vance is better.

Read it again

Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone… Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned… Somethin’ that got to be remembered…

Don’t the chill bumps on your arm provide you all the proof you need?  Something that is ours alone, that can’t be taught or learned, but has to be remembered.

What would it take for you to remember your swing?

How long would you have to search through the archives of your soul’s memory to find it again?

Do you realize how the world needs your swing?

No one else has what you have. No one else swings like you swing. No one else can replicate it.  You couldn’t teach someone to swing like you if you tried.  You have to remember.

You have to pull it out of the bag, the closet, down off the shelf and try and find it again. We are waiting for you.  How long must we wait?  How long will you deny the world your swing?  Please reconsider.

I know that your second grade teacher, your mother, your father, your Boy Scout leader, your coach, your boss, or your ex-wife made you believe that your swing was not special.

They were wrong-dead wrong.

As Bagger Vance instructs us of the pending tragedy,

Over time the world can, rob us of that swing.  

Tragic the idea remains if:

  • Michelangelo had not painted the Sistine Chapel
  • Steven Pressfield never penned a book
  • Wes Anderson never stared through the lens of a camera
  • Kelly Slater never got in the ocean
  • Bill Gates never wrote a line of code

I’d love for you to reconsider.

Stop denying it.

Stop burying it.

Stop pretending it isn’t that great.

Find your swing.

Offer it to the world.

Gift us with your one true authentic swing.

5 thoughts on “Bagger Vance and finding your one true authentic swing

  1. I love this movie and own it. Watched it 3 nights ago with some of my kids. Isn’t that the dream…to discover and participate in your ‘one true authentic swing’.

    There are some things I do where I lose myself. I find a groove. Things that give me life and fill me up. But there are also areas where, and I wonder, I can’t say if it’s my ‘one true authentic swing’. Others tell me when they see it in me. I may not really notice.

    One is a feeling, one is an effect.


    1. Kevin-stoked that you just watched this movie. I need to watch it with my kids. When I watched you on a bike….I’d say that is one of your “one true authentic swings”. Keep going bro.

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