Golf Archives

How I got started with my terrible addiction

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. Been pretty busy lately but I do have some posts in the works. Couldn’t decide which one to post first so I decided to talk about my favorite aggravation (ahem, pass-time)…golf

Who/What got you interested in golf?

This question was posted in an online golf forum I participate in. Got me to thinking about how I came to be so attached to a sport other than the one I grew up with (tennis) and the one I thought I would make a career out of. So I decided to share what I posted there…here.

Well it all started with my college roommate and best friend. We used to buy each other a gift on each others birthday and the gift would be something that would try to “one-up” the previous years gift AND the gift from the other person. Well at the start of the Tiger craze years ago he really got into golf but had never played. He got a starter set, and read magazines and went to the driving range and learned. He told me to learn it with him but I was really into tennis at the time, playing in two adult leagues and being a certified professional (Certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association! Boo-yow!).

I told him that even if I wanted to play (I didn’t), I couldn’t find a set of clubs because I am left handed and stores just don’t carry left hand sets in stock. He is also left handed but decided to learn right handed for whatever reason. He told me why, but I have long since forgotten.

Anyway, one day he calls me and says that he got my birthday gift and I need to go to his cousin’s house to pick it up. I was thinking “what could he have come up with this year?” but I went anyway. I get there and his cousin is laughing and hands me this HUGE box. Inside was a left hand starter set (Northwestern….remember those clubs?). All of a sudden, like planned perfect timing, he calls me and says: “Now you have no excuse to learn with me and play!” All I could do is laugh. Remember that commercial where the guy just goes around saying to his friends “I love you man!” when they do something good for him? Well, that’s what I was thinking at that moment.

He took me to the driving range, and I tried to hit the ball and was immediately hooked. One week later, reluctantly I went to the course with him, complaining all the way about how I will be embarrassed at how bad I will do. He says that everyone starts somewhere and that I shouldn’t worry about what people will think. I shoot 135 that day and the next day we go out to the same course and I shoot 125. The next day, I went looking for lessons. Thinking “this game is hard enough WITH the fundamentals, then it certainly will be no fun WITHOUT them!”

Long story short, 11 years later, I have quit tennis, have had 4 personal coaches, played in two national golf leagues, played in one world-wide amateur tournament (the World Amateur Handicap Tournament in Myrtle Beach), gone through 5 custom golf sets, spent close to 20K on golf (equipment, balls, trips, tournaments, etc.), and have played in more states than I can count. The only thing I haven’t done is played with the guy that got me started. He has since gotten married, had 4 kids, and has NO TIME to play. I playfully curse him when we talk for giving me this addiction and he just laughs. Maybe one day we will play again but he says I won’t enjoy it because he hasn’t picked up a club in years, and me…I can’t put them down.

Finding Silence (and Solitude) in a Sea of Sound

“Find your Happy Place, Happy!” said Chubbs.

You know I had to get my first golf reference in sometime didn’t you?

There is a time each day where I reach the point of no return with external stimuli.

When so much noise, talk, emotions, and elements of the job reach the boiling point.

I was watching the news recently and a story came on which said that our brains need some downtime during the day for us to stay alert and effective. That our brains and bodies are not equipped to be “on” for long periods of time without stopping.

I certainly agree.

As any administrator knows, we are “on” 24/7 and are expected to keep going non-stop no matter what is thrown at us. However, try to take a moment to yourself and it is almost frowned upon. On the other hand, how about you just try to take a moment at all.

Good luck with that.

I get to work early just to be in my office and have some  “me” time. I almost have to sneak into my office because once people find out the time you as the administrator gets to the office, that’s the time they will be there to “discuss” something with you. If you come in earlier, and they find out, they will be there earlier. Parents. Teachers. Students. Etc.

Yes students (By the way, parents, don’t drop your child off at 6:45 a.m. thinking someone will be there to greet them and supervise them when the school opens at 8. We are a school, not a day care).

Sometimes I wish my brain came with an off switch. That way when I am in my “Happy Place” I won’t think of anything except what I want to. That is if I want to think of anything at all. Not the school, children, life, or whatever.

Nothing.

Silence is an unappreciated gift these days, one that students don’t appreciate either.

Why is it that when two students are talking, they are screaming at the top of their lungs even though they are right next to each other? Also, why do they seem to go crazy in a silent room? It’s like their brain suddenly goes haywire and forces them to make noise as if the silence is abnormal.

Teachers who are parents themselves also have my sympathy. How they get though the day with 24 hours of stimulus and sound is beyond me. One high school teacher I used to work with used to say the funniest thing about not being able to find his “Happy Place.” He used to say: “I teach first through eighth period each day and when I get home with the kids I have to work through periods ten through fourteen!”

So I try to find my “Happy Place” during the day to give my brain a rest. Sometimes it’s possible, many times it isn’t. Are we as workers, and not just in education, reaching the point where taking a break during the day is not possible? How many times have lunches become working lunches, if there is a lunch at all? And how many times are we expected to not take lunch, work straight through the day and somehow remain alert and effective?

I hear teachers say all the time: “Sometimes I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom!” I certainly sympathize though many people don’t. They really believe that people, and especially teachers should be able to go non-stop all day and not be worn out at the end. No matter what the students have done all day, no matter what was thrown at you all day, when they come to you at 6 p.m. (after the 100 people who came before them) they look at you and say “what’s wrong?” (and get irritated at the look you give them) not knowing or realizing that at the end of the day we just need some time, just a moment, for ourselves.

People seem to forget that educators are people too.

It is at those moments, many times where it seems like my office is the designated complaint center that I sometimes threaten (privately of course) to put a sign up in my office that reads: Your crisis is not my emergency!

I envy those people I know who can take a lunch or even a break and find their “Happy Place.” I used to know of a teacher whose school was three blocks from a golf driving range and he spent his lunch break there, hitting balls, enjoying his “Happy Place.” He would then come back to the school, refreshed, re-energized and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Two of my other friends are able to find their  “Happy Place” too. My friend Phil finds his place on a treadmill at 4:30 a.m. and Kim finds hers sitting at the Friday Club with a glass of wine, reading a great book (How she can do that with all the noise around her is beyond me but highly impressive).

Mine is sitting in total silence. For about 30 minutes when I get home after being “on” for 12 hours straight.

No sounds, no talking, no phone, no computer, no television, no lights…and no people. Just sitting and thinking about walking the perfect golf course, overlooking an ocean. Nothing but me, the ball, perfectly cut grass in the fairway, the hole on the green, and plenty of sunshine.

Bliss.

So no matter your profession, no matter what you do, you should find your “Happy Place,” go there, and give your brain a rest sometime each day. You will be much happier and healthier for it.

Trust me.