As a youngster who metaphorically hacked his way through the bunkers and unoffending trees — without always dutifully replacing his divots along the fairway — in the game of life, I often found sport a great fix.
Never mind the homework, intense heat and humidity or lack of sporting gear, my friends and I had the knack of conjuring games that ensured boredom seldom ever took hold.
I often played outdoors so late into the night that I lost track of time, missing dinner.
When I was lucky, mum greeted me at the doorway, hands on hips, scowling and threatening to dob me in to my father if I didn't shower smartly, eat and bury myself in school books.
On the unlucky days, the old man returned home early from work and that meant fetching his leather belt or the colourful skipping rope to instil discipline and address my indifference towards academia.
It's enough to make millennials cringe but in my time there was no such thing as if you eat all your greens I'll give you pudding or pocket money. Sport was detrimental to carving a niche in employment, end of story.
Oddly enough, I was prepared to endure the consequences, including the strapping or caning at the Roman Catholic Brothers' schools, to whet my sporting appetite.
I recall the perplexed looks on the faces of my mother and elder brother on why I couldn't comprehend something as simple as sport equals welts and tears.
For me, sport and discipline — as much as I hated it — are the foundation of my constitution. It is who I am to this day. Sport is the escape clause from the humdrum of daily routine. God knows what I'll do when the hip and shoulders eventually rob me of my pinnacle pleasure — golf.
Those tenets I inflicted on the two girls I raised — cricket in summer and soccer in winter.
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They were at liberty to engage in any other codes, provided school reports were commendable.
Adults now, the older one prefers frequenting gyms to outdoor sport while the younger still relishes her two main codes and everything they offer, on and off the field.
All of which takes me to Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi who has declared in his just-released biography, Game Changer , his four daughters — Aqsa, Ajwa, Asmara and Ansha — will not be allowed to play outdoor sport.
It was, Afridi wrote, in keeping with "social and religious" principles.
"Aqsa is in the 10th grade, Ansha is in the ninth. They're both great at sports and even better in academics," the veteran said. "Ajwa and Asmara are the youngest and love to play dress-up. They have my permission to play any sport, as long as they're indoors. Cricket? No, not for my girls. They have permission to play all the indoor games they want but my daughters are not going to be competing in public sporting activities."
The 44-year-old, who the media dubbed as "Boom Boom Afridi", reveals his wife endorses his decision.
"The feminists can say what they want; as a conservative Pakistani father, I've made my decision," he wrote.
Culture and religion again have become pivotal in defining the boundaries of life in a different part of the world.
As parents, it's the prerogative of the Afridis but I believe his daughters will be poorer for the edict in a country where New Zealander Mark Coles is mentoring the national women's cricket team who have just won their opening ICC World Championship ODI series in South Africa when they dismissed the hosts for 63 runs.
I must confess, my wife had concerns, as our daughters became tumultuous teenagers, whether too much sport would rob them of their femininity.
Going to gyms to strengthen and tone muscles didn't sit too well with a former flight attendant who was into her grooming and etiquette. It was at odds with removing soil stains from cricket whites or finding out someone gave the team the "brown eye" in the soccer bus.
I allayed her fears by impressing the need for children to be exposed to certain stimuli that would ensure they didn't have too sheltered an upbringing.
However, while we may be smug about our "progressive" Western values compared with the Afridi types, are we, at times, tripping on venturing too far on the other end of the scale of liberty?
Are we guilty of affording our children so much leeway in sport that they are left stranded academically when things go awry?
Parents often grant children the licence "to chase your dreams" only to find they don't have a career when such pursuits are rendered delusions of grandeur.
The sad reality is only a finite number of youngsters go on to become All Blacks, Black Caps, Football Ferns, Black Sticks or Silver Ferns. Ditto the knock backs from competing at the Commonwealth Games, never mind the Summer or Winter Olympics.
Do parents have the responsibility to not just impress but help graft a safety net in case they free fall? Is neglecting that tantamount to child abuse?
Dare I say it, defaulting to a saturated market of sport-related caeers isn't always an insurance policy, either. It's merely embarking on another chapter of a journeyman's beaten track.
No doubt, sport builds character and can aid in enhancing the quality of individuals, no matter what walk of life.
But there must come a point for parents, or even coaches, to recognise dreams are fast becoming false promises.
At such times, to be cruel to be kind appears to be the most humane thing to do rather than let their offsprings drift like flightless souls.