So last week I had some fun with some stuff I hadn't done in a while. I went golfing for the first time this year. Sure, I'd spent a lot of time practicing. I spent 3 hours one day at the chipping green and a couple of more at the putting green. But this was the first time I did the whole 18 holes. I went with a buddy of mine whose pretty good. He's great to go with because I know he is good for one good meltdown throughout the round. And by meltdown, I don't mean shooting an 8 or a 9. I mean where he strings together 2 or 3 bad shots in a row and cusses, swears, throws a club, and finally stops talking for a good 10 minutes altogether. See, he goes golfing about 3 times per week. He's a teacher so he has the summers off. His expectations are that of someone that is an avid golfer and someone that should shoot in the upper 70's or lower 80's. He isn't like me where I go out there about 5 to 6 times per year and hope to break 90. Expectations can be both hindering and motivating. They can motivate you to succeed in that you know exactly what's expected of you and you go out and do it. They can hinder you because when you fail, you start to snowball a bit and things can get out of control real fast. I have often wanted to be a great golfer but with greatness comes the great expectations. I enjoy going out, hitting around 90, getting that one-putt, hitting that drive 280 yards down the fairway (once), and chipping from 25 yards to within 2 feet of the cup (once). Those are the shots that keep you coming back. But I also love the 3-5 hours spent with buddies, talking sports/girls/music/whatever else comes to mind. I enjoy the pursuit of improvement and knowing that if I can improve by just one or two strokes from my previous score that is was all worthwhile. I enjoy knowing that no matter how bad I am, I'm better than Charles Barkley at an athletic event (better at CrossFit too). I enjoy remembering every single time I go how my dad used to take me to Duck Creek Golf Course when I was a teenager and I had no idea what I was doing. Thanks Dad for all of those times. For all of these reasons, I love golf. I love knowing that the game presents a different challenge for me every time I play regardless of what course I am on. It's the endless pursuit of improvement that keeps me coming back for more punishment. Great game, great times.
The other thing I did last week is I ran in a track meet. The Clarksville Parks and Rec. in Indiana has a summer running series in which they have open meets at the high school for both kids and adults. Of course I took my kid, Abe, there and he ran the 400. He's getting better every time at that event. They had a 300 for adults there so I jumped in. In my race was a kid that appeared to be fresh out of the U.S. Olympic trials with his spikes and USATF singlet. There was another guy in my race that was a 55 year old man preparing to run in the Master's World Championships this week. Well USATF guy blew everyone out of the water and smoked the race. I finished in third about half a second behind a guy that I know I'll beat next time. But at least I beat the 55 year old. Hey, I'm proud I beat a guy competing in the World Championships, I don't care if he is 55.
These events are the reasons why I write this blog. To show that at no matter what age or ability you are, you can always compete. In the course of 2 days I raced a young guy at the prime of his abilities and a 55 year old holding on to that last thing that keeps him young, and I golfed with a guy much better than me and our difference in abilities didn't matter at all because the point was to have fun. Yeah, I want to win every time I compete and I want to show everyone I am the best. But I also want to have fun, make friends, tell stories, and hold on to that kid inside of me for just a little bit longer.