Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Upon Discussing The Lebron...a side tracked post from my other side...

I shall not rant against the Lebron.  I will share my thoughts on him though...

He has taken much criticism recently, and over the past year for the mistakes he made, or may not have made.  I've heard talk show hosts and their guests discuss his performance in the Finals, and the past year, since his departure from Cleveland.  A few people work to defend Lebron, claiming that he never asked to be a role model, while others appear to pin the weight of an entire team upon him.  I'm not so sure, but we Americans find this concept a bit difficult to hold in our Westernized brains...perhaps they are both a bit right and a bit off at the same time.

Did he ask for "it"?  Depends on how you describe "it" Mr. Senator.  

Is too much being put on his shoulders?  Probably.  We tend to mix emotions with facts, and our remembrance of history.  We also tend to blow up like Darth Vader when we are hurt...practically destroying everything around us.  

Did he bolt for a better opportunity?  Don't think we know just yet...but here's my take on the Man-Boy-King...

I was told, growing up, the following adage:  "High School teaches you to be a good citizen, College teaches you how to think".  I would adjust it a bit, through my own experience:  "High School teaches you that you have super powers, and College teaches you how to use them".  

Lebron, to me...above all else, represents a stereotypical American product.  He's a great player.  He's stayed out of trouble, and he's a solid product of a system designed to produce excellence at basketball.  He's used the capitalist system to his advantage, taking care of himself and his family.  He has won the game already...no matter what he does on the court.  

He's not well rounded, balanced, or overly achieving in other parts of his life (now that's my opinion, i.e. Bill Gates giving away billions).  Hold this thought:  "Higher education, as a descriptive term, represents something "higher", or "above" the normal standard".  

In college, I began learning that the world remains full of gray...High School taught me right and wrong, but the gray areas...that's a different story.  Navigating life, making a living, and having meaning in your life...well that's more art than science.  I know a few folk that learned how to make a living in college, but living a life...is different.

I could go on, but I'm really trying to get off my butt and write...I've been out of a job for a few months, and the depression side of me has been void of thoughts and desire to write.  This has been therapeutic, at the very least...

I could erase it all and sum it up concisely, which means my exercise has worked, my brain is finally working upon command...except for all the passive sentences.  Somewhere...the perfect English teacher, Ms. Stokes has just suffered a sudden chill, without knowing why...(I must maintain a sense of humor, or I'd have to edit the post for hours)

Lebron, I don't think, ever had a situation where the coach didn't care how good he was...or where he had to perform off the court, in order to earn the right to be on the court.  I'm not saying college athletes are brain surgeons, but they have to learn some discipline.  

Lebron, I don't think, ever had a coach say "just shut up, and sit your ass down, until I say get up again".  

Michael Jordan did.  To me, that makes all the difference....learning how to use your super powers.

He can learn, I hope he does.  Any actor stepping upon the stage takes the risk...so, yes, Lebron has asked for it all, he can step off the stage at any time.  I wish him success, but I also would rather see him be more like David Duval...fat, happy, with a family and never needing to win another game again to be happy.

I don't even think college teaches that...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Church League Basketball and Why I'm not a Contender anymore...

Middle of the third quarter, we are winning...and a guy bumps me underneath the goal while I'm up in the air for a rebound.  I don't fall, but I get really irritated.  Next time down, he bumps me again...

I go to center court, as they bring up the ball.  "That's my ball", I said, pointing to it.  I took the ball from him and made a layup.  

Back to center court...scene repeats itself.

And....again....

My team calls a timeout.  One of my best friends in the world, at the time, meets me on the court and says, "Why don't you sit down and rest a minute."

I look back at my team, and they are all down on the defensive end...looking at their shoes, or the lights, but not at me.  

Walking to the bench, a guy from the other team, Jim, stops me.  "Scott, you're good, but your up 45 points man, give me a break."

The score was 65 - 20.

As I sat down, my wife leans down to me and says, "Look over there...".  The other team's stands were filled.   My wife was the only person sitting on our side.  "I've never been more embarrassed to be your wife....that kid is thirteen."

So I was 30.  What difference does that make...I thought.  

The fact that I was overly competitive had dawned on me once or twice, but never had I seen it bare it's teeth like that night.  Something inside of me broke.  I was ashamed.  

Fast forward 10 years later...

I haven't played basketball for over 3 years.  Of the last 2 games I've played, I wound up having micro-fracture surgery on my right knee, followed by 6 weeks on a couch...and 9 months of rehab...only to come back and get undercut and break my wrist in the next game back.  6 weeks in a cast, and another 2 months of rehab.  

"I'm not gonna lecture you Scott, but you might think about slowing down just a bit", the doctor had said.

I'm not against competition, not at all.  But I couldn't answer a question I'd come to ask myself, "What, exactly are you trying to accomplish?"  I realized that I am against a rabid need to win.  I see it in college athletics.  I see it in high school athletics.  I see it in little league. 

I wonder if we've seen the death of true competition.  To compete is to put forth your best, lay it out there and see...check, or test yourself, on faring against others.  Combining a need to win with competition creates an imbalance in your life...you're trying to feed yourself on something intended for enjoyment.  You compete, you win, you lose, you shake your opponents hand, or give him a hug.  When you need to win, and don't, you  turn inside of yourself...if not checked, you can turn hateful.

I turned to athletics as a coping mechanism, for some dark years of my life...couple that with the Lord's blessing of a fairly athletic body with good coordination, and you wake up one day as a beast of sorts.  

Sports should be fun.  I could cartwheel onto a soapbox about professional sports, or little league select teams, but that's not my bag.  I don't know how to fix things of that magnitude.  

The last few years that I played basketball, I focused on the latter part of Michael Jordan's career.  He became an excellent leader, and a player who made his whole team better.  The days of Michael taking the last shot, in a clear out situation were long gone.  He spent time on the bench as well.   

Life has so much to offer, if you actually go and live "the life" part of a life...  Tucking yourself into a cocoon of  minor league, or neighborhood league, or city league stardom simply isn't worth it...if, that is, it costs you as much as it did me.  

I play golf now, and run (or at least I say I do).  I play against the course, and against myself.  Only rarely will I actually admit that I'd like to beat the person I'm with...  I'd also be honest to say that in golf...it is fun to want your partners to hit good shots, and to make putts...everybody can enjoy it.

It isn't that I subscribe to the notion that we can all be winners, though I think it is true of me.  When you enter into the ultra competitive world of athletics, Who you know, or Who your dad knows, or What team you are on, and a whole host of other non-sports related issues factor into the game.  I long for the days of my youth, when my country town had a little league, and we played the other towns around...nobody switched teams, nobody drafted...there were no select teams....just a bunch of 8-10 year olds wishing their uncle would give them some chewing tobacco...and that they wouldn't get caught.  

I've never beaten myself at golf.  I've never beaten a course...even one that's only 13 years old.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In God's Country

Bono rings out the words early:

Rivers run, but soon run dry, we need new dreams tonight.

I suppose it doesn't really matter who you are, or what you do, the river will eventually run dry....just ask Charlie Sheen.  I gotta love Charlie, but he's a total basket case.  Why do we love watching the freaks?  I might not know why, but I do.  I would, however, report to all you duffers out there that I would have said I had the blood of a Chupacabra, rather than a lame old tiger.  Charlie needs a new dream...and...I do too.

My wife completes her third year of medical school in a month or so.  Soon, probably sooner than I'll be ready, she'll be applying and hopefully gaining a residency.  To those of us that won't be doctors any time soon, that means that she'll become an income producer, which would be the next step to having Adonis DNA, on her way to making millions per hour (or so I like to keep the dream going in my head).  

Regardless of what she winds up doing, or where she winds up doing it...she'll be a fantastic doctor, you should come see her sometime...I will have an opportunity to chase a dream.  Whatever I want to do, I'll have the opportunity to branch out, and seek a new adventure.  I won't be able slack...much, if you've ever met my wife, but I will be able to chase different opportunities that were previously not within my grasp.

What will that be?

I've no friggin clue.  I started this journey believing that I had 5-6 years to decide what I wanted to do.  Time's a-wasting Speedy.

I have found myself in a situation, where I have to begin to define, and act, upon my dreams.  

I need new dreams.

A friend asked me a very eye-opening question earlier today,  "Are you having a hard time with this, because maybe you haven't ever gotten to choose?"

My life has been filled with adventure, mistakes, successes and tragedy.  I wouldn't trade any of it, but there's truth to what he's pointing at.  I've never chosen.  I've always lived my life seeking opportunities, and took them, when they opened up.  Not discriminately, mind you.  I graduated from college, yes, but that was a mission in itself.  I've had jobs after college, but that was because I had to work.  I've never started with an idea, researched it, and made good on acting it out in real life.  

Perhaps, I've lived my life passively, under the guise of being quick on my feet. 

Perhaps, it's time I got off my ass and figured out what I want to do with my life.  

I don't think you can do it for me...and I'm passed the point of believing that God will deliver a package, or a fortune cookie with a job title treasured within it.  I do believe that I have God's support...that is, as long as I don't start my own porn company, or something stupid like that.  I have permission.  I have a commission.  I have opportunity.  

When all you've done with your life centers around surviving, what do you do when the danger is gone?  No fight or flight...just an open road, full tank of gas, and a good set of tunes to serenade you...which road do you take?

I've got some boundaries, and a family to take care of, but other than that, I can do pretty much whatever I choose.  

How does the choice get chosen?

I could keep re-describing my situation for hours...I'd better get to doing some research.  

No 3-wood here, no iron off the tee...gotta take out the big stick and let her rip.  Head down, watch the ball, knees bent, follow through...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bring Out Your Dead

I spend quite a bit of time thinking about people who have died.  Recently, ages ago, people I knew, complete strangers, co-workers, I think about them all, when they have passed through that final doorway into the "next".  Some could say I'm fascinated by death, and it's inevitability to eventually track us all down.  Perhaps that explains my natural tendency to communicate with Jesus on a daily basis.  He's been dead, and is supposedly back alive, and more than that, He remains responsible for dragging my sorry butt into the here-after.  I'll admit that I'm fascinated with death, but not in the macabre sense...I've not desire to see the actual death of a person, although I have.  I'm interested in their "place".

We are so scared to honor our dead.  It is uncomfortable, unnerving, and sometimes confused with depressing.  Grief and depression, certainly have their place...read my last blog.  However, honoring your dead should not always remain depressing.  Finding their "place" can be the most important aspect of moving on with your own life, when you've been forced to do so without one you loved, liked, or remembered.

People die.  Simple fact.  All you have to do, in order to accomplish that task, would be to remain where you are...doing whatever you are doing.  Living, on the other hand...that takes balls.  Living in the context of those you've let move on to the "next", well, I think that takes even bigger balls.

People matter.  If they didn't, you wouldn't shed a tear when they took their eternal exit from this world.  Where does grief come from?  The space that has been left, bloody and oozing inside of your soul...a valuable piece of you has been ripped from within you, and you have to deal with the void.  That hurts.  I'm amazed when people, who have recently lost a loved one, say things like "I'm doing ok", or "as good as I can".  I'm impressed with people that can acknowledge some aspect of reality...like "I've had a part of me forcibly removed without my asking, I believe in God, but somehow He has allowed me to be violated by the removal of an important and vital part of my life...I wasn't asked, I wasn't consented, and I feel no divine comfort... frankly, I'm not doing very fucking well, thank you".

We remember.  How do we honor our dead?  Let me explain how I do it...

My dead represent volumes inside my head, like encyclopedias on a bookshelf.  Those volumes contain my life and times with my people that have moved on.  I can no longer sit and have coffee with them, my father, my mother, my brother, my friends...but, I can talk with them through reviewing the volumes.  I allow them constant access into my life, so that my every day experiences can be connected with them.  A small thought here, brought on by a KOA campground on the side of the road...I remember the incredibly cold pool there, with my mom and dad...camping, good times.  I remember the not so good times as well, but those must feed me in a different way...when I look upon my son, daughter, and wife.  The pages of the books of the dead remind us of where we come from, who we are, and sometimes...where we are supposed to be going.  I have to stop once in a while, on my pursuit of ultimate perfection, upon my path to greatness, while climbing the ladder of success...to remember that I was the first child of my family to grab a bachelor's degree...yes, I can pause for a moment and know that if it all ended today...my daddy would be really damned proud of me.  I can't sit there for long, and I may not be able to explain the almost-tears welling up for just a moment...but, it helps me focus on the happiness of others, having accomplished a goal myself.  A richer sense of being, enhancing the lives of others, rather than being focused upon the hungry self.

I can always revisit the books on my shelf, sometimes with soft remembrance of what was, sometimes with the thought of the tragedy because of what is not.  As I do, my dead come with me, I remember them, and as I do...they can never be truly gone.

My dead have a place, and I'd recommend that you find them a place on your shelf as well.  They don't have to dominate your life, or drag it down...but you will have to put some work into replacing that void inside of you with the joy of the memories of those gone from you.

I don't blame God anymore, although He would tell you that I'm still a little pissed that I didn't have some folks a little longer than I did.  That's a part of life, just like dying.  Let life be a little more lively, live a little more tomorrow, by bringing out your dead from time to time.

Hit it in the fairway, and don't leave eagle putts short.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bad rounds of golf get me depressed....well, actually good ones do too

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours"    -- Gordon Lightfoot (The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald)

I am generally not one to dwell upon past mistakes, or to revisit the past as a way of punishing someone for long gone ills, hurts, and injuries.  The forgiveness and graciousness of God has embedded in me a concept of constantly wiping the slate clean, always ready to give someone another chance.  To look upon others as though I had a pair of their moccasins on my feet...to try to understand, empathize, and relate to the decisions they make...good, or bad.

Except when it comes to me.

I have clinical depression, and having lost both of my parents at a young age, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know why the head doctor diagnosed it that way.

I hate medication as a way of life.  I love medication when it comes to potions and salves that do their jobs to alleviate suffering for the ills that come with life.  I utterly despise the existence and marketing of drugs that I'll have to have in the budget for the rest of my life.  My company uses a monthly recurring revenue model for its revenue tracking and sales pipelines...so I know all about getting 10% market share of someone's wallet for the rest of their life.  One more note, while I'm wandering off topic:  If drug companies are for-profit companies, then why would they be motivated to create medicines that resolve symptoms?  Particularly when they could just abate the systems temporarily and get you hooked on their legalized crack for the rest of your life.

So, back to the depressing thing:  At least once in my life, I would have told you that depression, ADHD, and a host of behaviorally diagnosed conditions were completely bogus and that you were full of crap if you had one.

Not anymore.

The song lyric above touches a part of me that nobody else really knows.  I've been taking medication for depression for about 7 years now.  It is a misconception that anti-depressants are happy pills.  People who get them unnecessarily really don't benefit from their work...I promise you.  The medication has helped me identify what plagues me, it does not, however, help me escape or overcome my adversary.  It helps me recognize and identify...not defeat.

The only thing more frustrating than being beaten by something that you can't see...is being able to see it, but not prevent it.  You see it coming, and you fear.

Depression IS NOT a bad feeling, laying around lazy-like, being in a bad mood, or having a doom and gloom attitude.

Depression IS being dogged by a slight sense of negative emotions that never really stop.  I coped with this for years by smoking and being extremely active...even if I was just mentally masturbating.  Action gives you the illusion of production.  I could keep the negativity at bay, as long as I kept up a good pace, shifted a bit this way, nursed my addictions and employed a "smoke and mirrors" strategy once in a while.

Killer whales will track baby blue whales for hundreds of miles, chasing them...waiting for them to tire...and you will get tired.

Depression is about the ruthless, merciless thoughts that crowd around you when you do get tired...when you can't fight any longer.  You win the first quarter, and you win the first half of the game...but depression remains patient...it has all day to wait for you.

Sometimes it doesn't hit me until I'm ready for bed..."what if that's the last time you ever kiss your kids goodnight...you know the best you can hope for is to die in your sleep."

It never occurred to me that not everyone fears their own death when they go to bed every night.

If I rated myself on different aspects of being a man:  fatherhood, employee, being a husband, being a friend...  I would never rate myself higher than a C.  I know the thoughts I have...and I know the shortcomings, at least most of the time...and the guy waiting for me at the end of the day always carries a knife.  I can cut into myself quicker, deeper, and more effectively than any surgeon ever could.

It never occurred to me that I might be a good worker, and a good father and husband...or that other people didn't always think they were horrible.

During seasons of my life, like now, the weight of the long run of 2010 has caught up with me...I can no longer run.  I generally go through introspective bouts around holidays, birthdays and anniversaries.  I'm in one now.

When she prescribed the medication...she said it would take years...I saw an effective marketing plan.

When I'm exhausted, I only go to bed when I have to...  I only get up when I have to...  There's no getting up early to drink coffee while watching the sun rise...which I think I'd love.  I wait until the last second, then I wait some more.  I'm acutely late to most things, but try to make up for it with my charm.

When I'm exhausted, I don't want to work, why would I?  Why would I push forward, I know I'm going to get caught anyway...and be dragged back into the morass of self doubt and self flagellation.

Where does the love of God go...when depression turns the minutes to hours?  I can't really answer that.  I know that God remains faithful, but where do God and my psychological and psychiatric issues connect?  I've no fucking clue.  I really don't....for love of all things holy, I wish I did.

But I'm not without hope...I've an incurable case of hope, and sponsorship of that hope remains to be Christ.

She said it would be years...and she was right.

This time, it is a little different.  I see it.  I see that I've no reason to hate myself.  I have learned to ask myself the question "and just why do you think you'll die tonight Mr. Downer?"  it is comical in a way, when you can step outside of it... I'll have to continue learning, taking short steps to manage my own brain and to dispel the demons...I can take the knife away from that guy waiting for me...he's a coward anyway.  But, I cannot be arrogant, because he'll be back tomorrow when my bravado has faded.

Now, I'm furious. I've seen what dogs me.  I believe it to be real.  I've no idea why it happened...I know how it could have happened.  Years of elevated stress, wondering about my well being and safety...in the absence of the two people God sent to take care me...(you can see why God and I have some issues).

I'm furious because I'm a talented and gifted man.  But, I've been running this race with a backpack full of bricks...wondering why I can't keep up with anyone else.  I'm furious now, because my life is half over...hopefully, and I feel behind.  What could have happened?  Who could I have been?

But, I'll take what HAS happened, even if I'm only a bit "ok" with it for now.  I truly do have a wonderful wife, and two fantastic kids.  My friends are good, and hopefully I'm a good friend back.

If you know anyone that has depression, or might...do something to help them.  I understood at a young age, why some people take their own life...Now I understand as an adult why some still choose to do the same.  Our world is broken, and mostly so are we...

Maybe shooting 85 isn't so bad after all...perhaps I should feel good about not 3 putting once.

FS

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Evidence that Demands a Verdict...My Style

The days old toothpaste that has affixed itself to the side of the basin of the sink, in a bathroom in our house, is evidence enough.  The white striations of flouride, mixed with scope (supposedly) that run down the slopes of the sink, retell the story of non-detailed little people slashing away at their teeth, in hopes of eradicating that final germ of plaque.

I have kids.

They leave their clothes laying around their rooms, but probably not quite as much as I did.  Maybe they'll take their dishes into the kitchen, and I'm sure Vegas will give them really good odds that they set them down without rinsing those dishes...  And, the underwear, towels, hoodies, and jewelry that I find in the bathroom, in the middle of the hall, retell the stories of mornings gone by, and searches engaged upon, for "this", "that" and the "other thing".

My kids are cave people.  They rarely speak in complete sentences, and often respond to you with a singular grunt.  They are beasties of the worst kind when it comes to reminding you of homework, or the "really big ass project" that's due this week.  (that might be my favorite:  "Hey Dad, have we started on my autocad-design of the next NASA space shuttle...because its due tomorrow!")

Have I mentioned that I love Bourbon and Dr. Pepper.

I watched my son, today, run around the basketball court...playing against a team that was bigger, faster, leaner, meaner and just plain better than our team.  My son, became a different creature, reminding me of myself, at a younger age...he didn't understand "couldn't"...he could not hear "losing"...wouldn't withstand "not good enough".  He barreled around the court chasing loose balls like they were diamonds...he got a look of determination on his face, as he "backed down" his opponent towards the goal to shoot.

We lost.  But, I realized that the Cave Boy was a hero, and I loved that hero.

My daughter read more minutes last year, than anyone in her class...logging more than 6,000 minutes of reading.  Now, to those of you that might know my wife, you'll understand that to be like Houdini escaping from a paper bag...reading is in their DNA.  However, it was an officially recognized accomplishment...and one that I didn't learn of until this week.  My daughter casually mentioned it...as we discussed another topic.

I fell in love with my daughter all over again...she didn't need anyone to know.  She knew, and it was enough. She didn't need your praise, and she didn't need your approval...she knew damn well she had kicked some major reading ass and didn't need anyone to really tell her about it.

The little cave people that inhabit my home have some sort of spell, or magic upon me.  They leave the light on in the shed out back, but I still can't seem to be really upset with them.

I've drank a bit this evening, and decided to write this when I saw their toothpaste art in the sink... what a tribute to two kids that are surely the glory of their parents.  Toothpaste on the side of a sink...

FS

Friday, January 7, 2011

Redemption

Redemption becomes the ultimate success.  I have found myself in the company of many people, who tend to know drastically more about things than I do.  I know a Rocket Scientist, an extremely well educated and knowledable Meteorologist (and brewmeister), A sports information specialist, A restaurant owner, an investment specialist that overseas an entire state, Chairman of a board at a bank, several lawyers, a couple of doctors...you know, lots of people that know lots of stuff.  I suppose I can ride along with my industry knowledge of financial and check fraud...but I'd rather not.

I've noticed we sometimes have to define the positive through the negative.  Instead of celebrating what has happened, we tend to celebrate what has not happened.  This excites my curiosity. Why do we do this?

It's like we seek perfection by scrutinizing the negative, or lack thereof.  This becomes more apparent for me when we talk about the other fields where we are not experts.  When we become highly educated in a particular field, it tends to make us a world acclaimed critic of many other fields too.

Plus, The Internets makes us all experts at all things instantaneously anyway.

Where does redemption come in, you might ask?

I like redemptive stories.  I feed off of them.  If we are all experts at everything, there's nothing to redeem, nobody can be wrong, we're all "right".  I can tell you now...when everybody's right and we all know everything, something's wrong.

Redemptive stories that affect the soul, focus on loss prior to win...Imperfection.  It is necessary.  No instant expert, nobody's 100% right all the time.  Look at it this way...I'm not familiar with any awesome stories where the children or parents have all they need and an abundance of love, and a grounded attitude of love towards others and then something awesome happens.  That would be a foreign story wouldn't it (not to mention boring)?

Doesn't really happen that way, does it?  Redemptive stories we like start with loss, or need, or lack, or depravity...

Many times, redemptive stories pertain to the shortcomings of an individual, or a family...and then some mysterious act of revelation, provision, or grace transforms the picture completely.  Redemptive stories are a valuable part of our lives, here's a few reasons why:

1. We aren't good people.  We try to be (some of us), but in the end, we all look in the mirror and see lack, want, or the need of being a better person, father, mother, business-person, etc.  Redemption in the real world provides permission for us to hope.  They allow us to dream of a better tomorrow, even though today looks like hell.  A better tomorrow, in which, we get to play a part...to belong and contribute.

2.  We all lose.  Nobody remains undefeated for their lifetime, in the end, we are all worm-food.  We connect with people when they lose, often times absorbing the loss into our own sense of personal tragedy...whether it is the loss of a loved one, a failed marriage, failed high school athletic career, or simply being a failed person.

3. We get to see the sun tomorrow.  Redemptive stories remind us that the world doesn't have to end as it now seems.  We can see the sunrise tomorrow and believe that we can attain to something better...like hope, but more like belief in that hope.

4. We enjoy winning.  Deep down inside of the most selfish bastard, remain the seeds of joy excited by seeing a loser become a winner...waiting for the right connection, to relate in someway and be connected, and then succeed.  Nobody heckles Special Olympians...people who give their all, and retain a sense of pride and determination regardless of how they appear to be doing... determination we wish we all had...many of our disadvantages are internal and not so visible.

We can once again believe that we are a character in a great adventure, and be important to the completion of the story....if that's a bit cliche for you, then we can once again believe that we don't have to live and die an asshole, but we can find compassion and help others in peril, regardless of how awkward we look in the process.  We can search, work, and find around us the stories of people that have suffered, lost, and maybe even don't deserve to win...and yet, the world turns upside down sometimes and victory can be attained.

Reminds me of a saying given to me once, when I was down, out and about ready to check out permanently.

"Hey, cheer up, I skipped to the end of the book...we win!"

Hang in there...remember that every lost ball, wayward tee shot, shanked chip, and horrible round can be redeemed...and we can smile just a bit more today because we know that.

Monday, January 3, 2011

That was yesterday's round, year, and season...

No matter whether you play golf for fun, for serious exploits, or even for a living, the mindset from course to course, and from day to day never changes:  New day, new course, new round...forget what you did yesterday, good or bad, you need to focus and play strong today.   We can dwell upon the past laurels of success, or pine away the shoulda-coulda-woulda's that escaped successful execution, but regardless of how long you consider yesteryear, today stares you straight in the face.

Successful performance on the golf course comes from mental preparedness, practice, and a strong resolve to your chosen strategy.  Interestingly enough, sheer talent often gives way to the dull droll of the persistent.  Talent doesn't make 4 foot putts...practice makes 4 foot putts.  We all have talents, and we all have wonderful beliefs about how the world operates...but when you tee the ball up on the first hole...your talent must be translated into consistent execution or it doesn't matter what you believe about the world.  

It is a new year, 2011, stocked with new joys and fears, both of which I seem to not be ready to tolerate at the moment.  That's not a good time to tee off...strong resolve to your chosen strategy.  See, to digress a bit, I have a relationship with God, and I enjoy it...although I've been remiss about worship and attending church over the past several months...er, year.  I have a few of choices in front of me, of which I must choose if I will be successful this year.

Tobacco or no tobacco, does tobacco really stop with me?

Control:  shall I fear death because those around me have, or have had cancer and some have even passed on to the next life?

Faith:  shall I attempt to waltz through the year with a childlike faith that God will simply push me into success?

Work:  will I work hard?  hard enough?  or, will I slack when I have the chance?

Presence:  will I bring all that I am to the course?  or, again, will I slack and let others do what God has put before me?

Golf is a very fickle mistress, and she forgives none when it comes to proven performance.  You can get a lucky bounce here, or there, but successful golfers know that hard work remains the best tool for successful scoring on a golf course.

My chosen strategy has been to walk the course with the One that has gotten me this far...and I will stick to a sense of hard work at being a father, husband, and employee, and I'll have to trust that when I can't take care of my worship life, that God remains big enough to take care of me.

Keep your thoughts on the course to a minimum, it ain't pracice anymore, pick your 2 or 3 thoughts that get your head in the right place and stick with it.  Keep it in the fairway and practice your 4 footers...and I'll see at  the 19th.