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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Acceptance

In golf, as in life, one has to learn to accept. Things will not always go your way. The best game plan in the world won't be worth a dime if you suddenly find the ball wanting to draw, or hook, when you've always played a fade. Or suddenly those three footers look to be impossible to make. Some days, as my old father used to say, you just can't piddle a drop. Golf is like that.

If you can resist the urge to get discouraged, and just accept that you are going to hit some lousy shots, sometimes more lousy shots than usual, you have a chance to play your best. And, if you don't, at least you'll enjoy the walk. Yesterday, I went out with the best of intentions and shot a very untidy 80. We were playing three hole matches for a dollar. I won the first three holes with two pars and a bogey, my opponents having troubles of their own. On the second three hole stretch, I missed a two footer for birdie that would have won me another buck. My eyes were watching the putter go back and I hit the putt so badly it didn't even touch the hole. It was so pathetic, I had to laugh.

But, while I laughed, inside I was also disgusted with myself for resorting to watching the putter go back again, a fault that has seen me often resort to putting looking at the hole. Still disgusted, I hooked my next tee shot into a pond and parlayed that into a double. I had not accepted and put to bed the miss on the last hole, made another lousy swing and I was on a the fast track to an 80. 

When I lose my patience, and fail to just accept my limitations, I turn what could be, and should be, a fun day into absolute drudgery. I drove home wondering why on earth I continue to put myself through it. My back was aching. My left arm was burning from my neck problems, and I was about as low as I could be. 

My wife recognized how discouraged I was and, seeing me grimacing from the pain, encouraged me to take my Dilaudid. She asked what she could do for me and, upon being told there was nothing to be done, left me to wallow in my misery. The medication took effect, and eventually I found myself sitting on the deck watching the Baltimore orioles eat the grape jelly from the feeder. I saw a hummingbird at another feeder, noticed the rose breasted grosbeak at yet another feeder, stared at the pond, with the plants coming to life in and around it, and thought life is pretty damned good.

Later I decided to put my old irons back in the bag. Today, I'm going to be a different man out on the course. And, if I do play like a bum today, at least the hummingbirds are finally back. I love hummingbirds.