The Perfect Game

I don’t play video games, I no longer hang out in taverns so I don’t play pool, I don’t want to commit – so I don’t play soft ball or bowl.

What I do is play golf. Golf is the perfect game. Golf is self discovery, anger management and some of the deepest psychological therapy you can get. If you’re a human being you might consider taking up Golf.

First, or at least for me, there was the feeling inadequate deal. Oh, not just feeling inadequate in this case, being inadequate. The thing about me and golf is, first I’m there because I like to hit the ball.

There’s also the room you get to play golf in. We get to go to a park for four hours and one of the park rules is that every one, not in your group, is told to stay away.

But first and foremost, I like to hit golf balls.

I like to see them fly, see them bend and land in the spot I’m aiming at. I like to hit them long, I like to make them stop fast or roll out. I like to hit low shots or high shots depending on what the situation calls for and I know how to do all those things. But half the time, or more, I don’t do it.

It’s not that I can’t hit the ball right. I just don’t. Then I feel inadequate. I feel like a failure. It’s frustrating, confusing and maddening.

There are 18 holes. That means if I hit the ball good 70 times I’ll have done excellent. I have at least 70 opportunities to do the right thing. 70 chances to hit the ball like I know I can. I know I can. But I don’t.

No golfer is as good as they want to be. Even if they say they are.

Pro golfers are always seeking to improve. These are guys a gals that, for the most part, have played all there lives. They’re always practicing. They hire coaches, they hire sports psychologists. They aren’t satisfied with their games. They “Know” they can play better. But most of the time they don’t.

At some point we all, if we don’t want to suffer unduly, learn to deal with our own failures and inadequacies. Our short comings.

I’ve also got to see a lot of people on the course deal with their own performance issues in a myriad of ways. Some have gotten quite healthy, found some inner peace and self acceptance. Some just throw tantrums, cheat, make excuses, some pout, some tell lies. Some can’t take it and run. Some drink beer.

I knew one thing shortly after I got out on the course. I knew I needed to deal with my head or go nuts. Golf brought up every feeling I ever had about not being good enough. I confronted self-esteem issues, “Performance Anxiety”, and their origins. Remember, “Whenever I react poorly I’m reacting to some threat: Security, Self Esteem and so on”.

Because of the physical aspect of golf, namely that knowing something is not the same as doing something. Or, just because I know how to hit the shot I want to hit I still miss about half the time.

For example, I know how I “have to” grip the club. I know I “need to” follow a pre-shot routine. I know that if I don’t stand in the right place when addressing the ball: If I’m to close, to far back and so on, the chances of me hitting the ball like I want to, like I know I can, dwindle exponentially. Why would I ever do anything but everything I know I should?

Sound familiar? This, knowing but missing, brought up a big opportunity for me.

Every time I go to the golf course I have, at least, 70 opportunities to do what I know I should do. These are things I can do to that me feel good. I feel good when I hit the ball how and where I want. I get a good feeling. When I don’t, I get a bad feeling. That bad feeling bordered on self-hatred, at least disgust. I’m better now. But I’m not well. I’m still a little sick, still have some lingering symptoms.

And amazingly still don’t do what I know I should. It’s amazing to me. You can see why this is the perfect game for me to play. As expensive as golf is I’ve gotten tens of thousands in free therapy.

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writing about my life after addiction

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