Golfing with a Champion
Yes, I got to play golf with a champion. Do the names of Tiger, Phil or Sergio come to mind? Or perhaps Vijay or Ernie? No such luck, or maybe I wasa
ctually the lucky one… I got to play with Bill, just plain old Bill.
You see, Bill was far from a great player, a mediocre ballstriker at best and capable of producing non-impressive scores. But, Bill’s greatness was far more rare than long drives and low scores. Bill was a patient and compassionate old gentleman, and carried an air of dignity with him that didn’t rise or fall with the most recent flight of his ball. Bill is unfortunately a dying breed of golfer… as interested in your game as well as his own.
Bill is a champion whose attitude was as good on missed shots as well as great ones. He understood the lesson of golf, the lesson of life: nothing stays the same, we move up and we move down – just as the game of golf, just as life itself. To accept one’s misfortunes with a sense of grace and humility, to be humble when good fortune shines upon you, is truly the mark of a champion and is indeed even more rare!
Bill knew his value as a person, he knew his value as a father and as a husband, and that the trivial consequence of the outcome of his next golf shot did not hold judgment on his self-worth!
You can be sure that he sought to play his best , but the outcome of his round didn’t forge his self-concept. His head and spirit were held high throughout the round, a simple concept that most never grasp.
As teaching professionals, do we exemplify similar values? And, if so, do we allow ourselves to help our students truly understand the greatness of the game and the social values and skills to “play the game like a champion”? Or, are we, too, mired in the success or failure of each shot, and lack the courtesy and grace of a true champion whether or not our golfing performance is up to our assumed standards?
Unfortunately, we witness far too many role models in professional golf and professional sports in general that seem to be gracious and content with their riches only if they are winning. Such attitudes are disturbing and far too abundant, probably signaling a general malaise with our materialistic society in general. We must bring back some of the old traditional values. Restore the word “gentleman” to the gentleman’s game.
The world and the game of golf for sure need more champions like Bill – people able to accept the consequences and outcomes of any given day, able to have trust and confidence in their self-images and self-worth, and who are able to withstand the slings and arrows of misfortune as well as the lush rewards bestowed by the golfing gods. Be aware that yet another tomorrow is soon to be, be it par, birdie or bogey… the world will not stop for thee.