Monday, December 17, 2007

Just Play. Just Play Golf


I love to golf.

I suck at it.

But I play anyway.

What's funny about golf is what a metaphor for life it is.

My friend Dan (who I was dating at the time) taught me to play golf, back when he was still a Republican and I was newly divorced.

He took me to a driving range once(where you only hit a bucket full of balls to practice your swing), then his sister Suzi got wind of it and she said "NEVERMIND the driving range, get out there and PLAY!"

Suzi is one of those people that you hoped you could stay friends with even if/when things didn't work out with her brother. She has an exuberance to life, and expectation of adventure, despite having been burned by love in the worst way.

Anyone who makes fun of golf has obviously never played it. Like life, golf is harder than it looks, takes more coordination and concentration than you'd think, and you better darn well learn to laugh at yourself while doing it, or your game will go downhill, and FAST.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the things that we hang onto -- you know, that baggage we all have. Lost relationships, things that didn't work out, deals that have been dealt us that we weren't expecting.

I remember once early in my golf game hitting the ball with a severe right turn (called a "slice" in golf) and off into the woods the ball went.

I found it and with my first hit expected the ball to pop back out onto the grassy fairway. Instead, I lined it up, hit it really hard, and the dang ball hit a tree and bounced back at me, nearly hitting me in the head.

Unfettered, I tried it again.

This time, I got hit by the ball.

Then I got mad.

I started hitting the ball harder with less concentration and increasing frustration that turned into outright rage. I can't ever remember "losing it" like I did on that ball.

And after about 10 or 20 tries and me hacking through the woods, the rage turned into laughter. I doubled over as I realized how ridiculous it was that I was so angry at this little tiny golf ball.

This is supposed to be a GAME, I realized.

After that, I never got mad at my golf game again. Of course I wish I could be that light about life. But it's just a metaphor, not the actual thing.

I just realized today that sometimes I do take things way too seriously. Stuff that is either not mine to worry about, or even the stuff that is, sometimes that ball in the woods just needs to be thought of as "I'm happy to be out playing" instead of "I'm so BAD at this, why can't I play better?!"

And like golf, if life is always taken too seriously, it steals all the fun out of it.

So I have to ask, what good is it if it's all seriousness and discipline and responsibility? Sometimes it should just be enjoyed. No rules to how much fun should be had and when.

Just play.

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