Have I mentioned I can be a total douchebag?

Hubby and I golfing

Anyone ever tell you that your competitive drive makes you miserable to be around? I have. I had no idea my competitive drive could be…so…well…ugly! It’s kind of embarrassing to be quite honest. But where better to bare my soul than here, a la blog, with all of you. Therapeutic?

Now don’t get me wrong, competitive drive can be a very healthy and good thing. It can be motivational gearing us to push ourselves harder; to learn more; to be better; to reach higher; to move faster; and to strike hotter. But it can also turn us into blithering jerks.

Four years ago, hubby introduced me to golf at a fun “best ball” tournament. Having been a golf lover for many years, he had always dreamt of having a life partner that enjoyed it as much as he did. He was both stunned and thrilled when I did. I mean, I took to the game like a fish to water. With my newfound golf enthusiasm, I read websites, watched videos, got all the gear, outfitted myself appropriately (a la pink) and off we went…hand-in-hand, waltzing into golf heaven.

But towards the end of last year, it all started crashing down around us. My competitive drive started to turn me into a miserable golfer, no joke. Unless I was having a perfect game, a relative rarity in my third season of golf, I would turn into this psycho golf bitch. I would loudly self-criticize every missed shot. I would get blood-red angry, curse, lash out, threaten to wrap my club around tree, and would bash my club into the ground. You get the picture. It wasn’t pretty. It was downright nasty. I am not proud.

One time in particular, hubby and I were playing a fairly prestigious, tough 18-hole course. It was hot. I wasn’t having a great game. I was frustrated. And there I found myself cursing up a red-letter-storm as I attempted to sock the damn ball up the fairway for what felt like the 99 lack luster attempt when I looked up and saw the course marshal not 10 feet from me, staring. Not impressed.

I grinned, sheepishly. I hung my head in shame. He drove off. I was embarrassed.

Hubby, who had been putting up with this behavior for weeks finally had enough:

“Golf is supposed to be something we do together to have fun, connect, get outside and enjoy life. You are obviously not enjoying yourself. And it hurts me to watch you so upset and angry. If it’s not fun, I don’t see the point of golfing anymore.”

Ouch – touché – so true!

When did winning and playing perfect become so important that I forgot the real point behind the game? Although I like to pretend that someday I’ll be invited to join the LPGA tour, the truth of the matter is that I play golf to enjoy life with hubby! I play golf to get some exercise, have some fun, share in some laughs, and to connect with him (and the people we play with). And in the end, my competitive drive was making me (and everyone around me) miserable!

Happens to the best of us, I know. Whether it’s cooking the perfect meal, having the best cleaned house, being your idea of the perfect mother/wife/friend, or writing the perfect book/blog post/short story, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the urge to be perfect. So much so, we make ourselves miserable doing it. We end up trying so hard that the joy is lost and we forget the real point of anything we do in life is to be happy and to live life out loud and to the max.

Perfection is a matter of perspective and it doesn’t equate happiness.

With golf, I had to get back to the basics of having fun…so I stopped keeping score for awhile. By taking the competitive element out of the equation, I was able to get back to golfing for the sheer fun of it. And this year, when I kicked off my fourth season and I found myself reverting to “Natalie Golf A$$hole,” I immediately threw away the score cards for a couple of rounds and let golf joy fill my soul.

Now, my definition of the perfect game is one where I have a blast. An improved golf score is simply gravy.

How do you get back to the basics? What scorecards (metaphorical or real) have you tossed out the window?

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Comments

  1. Well it WAS a valid concern…
    You were getting pretty frustrated-standing there – red faced and holding your club like a ninja warrior princess and even though it was a pink club – didn’t make it less of a threat!!

    We’re in a remote area surrounded by woods, water holes and open sand pits…after a while I started looking for the pink shovel and pail full of lime!!!

    We’ve had WAY more fun this year – I only fear for my life occasionally now!!! Ah the stress of being a semi-pro(fectionist)

    Now I know why they have those big foam covers on the drivers! They were built to protect the Hubby!!!

  2. Oh Natalie! As a fellow golfer who strives for the “perfect” game, I very much enjoyed this post! Thank you for being so honest about yourself and sharing that honesty.
    My golf goal this year was to break 100…which I did 4 times this summer…and was ecstatic each time I did. The times I didn’t…well…not so happy. What I did realize when I broke the 100 was I immediately told my hubby that my new goal is to breaking 90….This Year! Seriously!? Instead of celebrating my four-time achievement out of 50 games or so, I set an unrealistic and frustrating goal for myself while still scoring over 100 most days. Talk about putting pressure on yourself/myself. After a few games of not having “fun” and calling myself names, I also chose (well most days anyway) to just go out and have fun…with my hubby and whoever else was golfing with us. (Pssst….my other goal has to beat hubby at a game and I came very very close…one stroke to be exact…that was a good day. Teehee.) What I have learned is that for most golfers…not sure about other sports as I don’t play them…we set new goals as soon as we reach the previous one…break 100…new goal…break 90 (I’ve chosen 95 as my next one)…then 80 and so on and so on. Oh yes, I will be joining you on the LPGA, Natalie! 🙂
    My hubby says that you can tell a lot about people by the way they golf…competitive…honest…perfectionist…etc. and I guess he may be right (don’t tell him I said that though).
    I have learned something new about myself recently! I am a bit of a perfectionist (OMG! I know I was surprised, too!) and that I may have some control issues. (I know…hard to believe isn’t it? And I am very aware that I used the word “may”!) I wanted to be the perfect wife/mother/friend/daughter. Thankfully, I am now more aware and little by little…letting go. I am a work-in-progress….but aren’t we all?!
    To Natalie’s Hubby: Thanks for the laugh! Can picture all the pink! And your concern! 🙂
    With all that said, would love to get out for a game with both of you. I ain’t scared of you! xo

    • I am so happy to hear that I am not alone. It’s great to be motivated, push harder, and want to always grow and be better but not at the expense of loving the game and enjoying yourself. You nailed it. I suffer from trying to be perfect in so many aspects of my life and all that does is suck the joy out. The main point is to just live and enjoy! I found I am getting a lot better with things but it takes effort and awareness. It’s an ongoing struggle for us perfectionistic control freaks. LOL! Keep at it, you are doing great!
      Broke 100 and nearly beat your hubby is FAHHHBULOUS!!! I only played an 18-hole course a couple times this year (we do mostly a cute 9-hole near the house) and my best was 135ish. Considering the year before it was 170ish, I was happy! LOL!!
      Here’s hoping one of these days we get out with you two – I always behave WAY better when other people are around! LOL!!!
      xoxoxox

  3. Just an FYI! I have been golfing for 7 or 8 years (can’t remember which) and we golf a LOT! So cut yourself some slack, Girlfriend! You are doing great and I am proud of you on so many levels…not just golfing! xoxoxoxoxoxo

  4. First off, what a great picture! And I’m the same way – my competitive nature has been know to destroy Uno and Sorry games. I tend to pout.

    • Thank you – it is one of my fav photos of us! 🙂

      Yip, I can be a very sore loser and way overly competitive. Sad really. LOL! Oh well, we like to win, what can we say!

  5. We all love you, Natalie, no matter how violent you get with your pink golf club! Kudos to your hubby for pointing out to you to remember it’s supposed to be fun. Most guys wouldn’t. They would just simmer and let resentment grow til they have a full-out screaming match that would end badly. You’re so cute together!

    • LOL…it’s a good thing Marcia – thank you! 🙂 Yes, I agree I am very lucky to have hubby who is not afraid to just be straight with me…even when I am holding a golf club. LOL!

  6. Elena Aitken says:

    Super cute picture of you two!
    I don’t golf. I did once, ended up in surgery, totally a story for another day…BUT…I do tend to get a bit competitive at times with my running. Usually, I’m just competitive with myself and trying to beat a ‘time’ or some imaginary record in my head.
    To get around this, I’ve taken to running without my Garmin. I know…big woop right? But really, it allows me to unplug from the numbers. It doesn’t matter what my pace is, or how far I’ve gone. I’m just running for the sake of running!
    Love this post!

    • Thanks so much Elena!!

      Exactly!!! It’s about finding a way to unplug from the numbers and alleviate our natural competitive drive that makes us a tad crazy. It’s good to push but not at the expense of enjoying the sport/game/whatever! Sounds like you’ve found a great way tape into the simply pleasures of running. Woot woot!

      Hubby also reminded me that I’ve always played my best games when I am relaxed and happy. As soon as my blood boils – so does my game! LOL!

  7. I think the fact that you got back to the joy of it is remarkable. Lots of times it’s easier to go on the defense and not accept the fact that we’re being bitchy or perfectionists or douchegbags! That’s been my biggest learning point this last year — if someone (whom I love and trust and not just some a-jack) says maybe I’m being crabby — I listen, and then I think, and then I adjust.

    • Thank you Amy! I will say that perhaps the first time or two that hubby mentioned my insanity, I wasn’t very receptive. OK, I was down right defensive. I think one time I actually screamed at him “what…I don’t look like I am having fun…trust me, this is FUN!!!” LOL!! But yes, after a couple of discussions, I had to face the truth. I was making mine and his game miserable. You are sooo right. We should always try to be open to hearing what the people who we love and trust have to say. Hubby is only ever looking out for my best interest and would never steer me wrong unnecessarily. Sounds like you are doing wonderfully at that as well – kudos because it’s not easy!

  8. I like how you got back to the joy. One thing I threw away a while ago was the keeping score writing card — I also had to grow away from other people who were keeping score too. Truth is, writing is such a personal thing, all our journey’s are different. Maybe I can’t write 10,000 words like Annie Sue but I can create deep rich characters. Maybe a good friend of mine will get a stellar book review and I’ll get a crappy one, it’s all relative, we all have ups and downs. The trick is to find the people who remind you of the joy and why the heck you started this journey in the first place. I think you found your “joy” person. LOL! Fun post, gorgeous picture. I just knew you had a beautiful smile!

    • I love it Kate!! I agree, it’s important to veer away from “score keepers” or people who just bring you down. We all have ups and downs but if we surround ourselves with people that help fill our lives with joie de vivre and richness, it adds to our experience instead of taking way. What I like to call, a mutually supportive environment. I am a HUGE believer in living by your own rules and for your own happiness – whatever that may be. I have definitely found my “joy” person and I couldn’t be happier. I am a lucky lady, that’s for sure!
      Awwwww…THANK YOU!! It’s the 2 years of braces I had…at 32!! LOL!!

  9. Lol. I love that your husband comments on your blog. I’ve never been competitive in sports or games. In fact, I remember a traumatic time playing Spoons–I will never again play any of those grabbing or slapping card games–that ended in a wrestling match on the floor. I feared for my life as well.

    • Isn’t he just adorable. I love that he comments too and shows off our fun, playful nature!
      Spoons…and a game that ended up in a wrestling match on the floor – oh my – it’s a good thing you’ve given up on those. LOL!

  10. What a cute couple! I just knew it! I’m a golfer too, Natalie, and can absolutely relate to your post. I’m compulsive about keeping my score and won’t take a mulligan ever … after all, who am I kidding? If you swing it, score it, I always say … and sometimes want to throw myself into the nearest water hazard for saying it! As you say, it’s a great game, a fab way to spend time with the hubby and friends and, no matter what, there is ALWAYS the 19th hole!

  11. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    I don’t like to play games I can’t win, so I pretty much gave up at golf. I decided its a game you just can’t win at. Now when I play, I just enjoy a few drinks, the weather, the company, and I’ve found I play a little better 🙂

    • Love it!! Yes, golf is not a game you can ever really “win” unless you are a serious pro maybe. I agree, the more relaxed and fun I am having, the better I play to. It’s like when we don’t “try so hard” things happen more natural. 🙂

  12. I already know that this post is going to demand that I answer over on More Cowbell – I can see the whole post in my head…

    Anywho, the only game I get really pissy about is Scrabble. I like to win me some scrabble!

    • LOL – I can’t wait to see it Jenny!! 🙂 Woot woot!!
      Scrabble – interesting – I didn’t know it could get so “heated” but I guess our competitive spirit can get us with anything. LOL!

  13. Stick with golf and don’t lose your competitive fire, either.
    As you begin to realize how much golf can be a metaphor for life, you learn that anger and frustration only serve to link the past to the future in bad ways. As in life, the terrible result you just produced must not be allowed to contaminate your next event. A big part of golf (as in life) is focusing entirely on what you are doing (in the moment …) not on what has happened, or may happen.
    Don’t lose your anger to play “fun” golf with the hubby. Lose your anger to play the best golf you can possibly play.
    Cheers,
    Pete Grimm

    • Sooooo true Pete! Hubby often reminds me that once I get fired up, it hurts my entire hole/game. He encourages me, like you just said, to stay in the moment. Focus on this shot, this moment. The past and the future don’t matter. It’s just the here and now. It helps if I can stay centered in that but it’s hard! I love your analogies to golf and life – sooo very true and poignant! Thanks so much for visiting and your wonderful comment. I am off to pay a visit to your blog! CHEERS!

  14. Such a cute pic of you two! And he totally looks like that gravatar he posted a link to last week (or the week before, I seem to have lost September).

    This is the reason I haven’t started golfing with my son. I get way too competitive. Maybe if I don’t use score cards we’ll be fine.

    I have to admit, I’m having a hard time picturing super cute Natalie getting THAT angry.

    • Isn’t he adorable. I know…seriously, the avatar honestly didn’t do him justice, eh?! LOL!!!
      Yes, playing without a score card definitely helps. My Mom actually never, ever keeps score. She says she golfs for the pure joy of it so she heads out with a group of ladies and no score cards. She even said that when she gets tired or isn’t enjoying the hole, she just picks up her ball and moves along. WHAT?!?!?! GASP!?!? How do you know how your are doing??? She says “you know…cause it’s always a GREAT game and that’s all that matters!” Love that – I could use a dash of her “ease”! 🙂
      It’s not pretty – I gotta be honest – it’s downright nasty! I get all red in the face and I swear like a sailor. Kind of nasty. People avoid me and cast their gaze downward. But in my defence, I am MUCH improved!! LOL!
      Thank you for the lovely compliment!! 🙂

    • Hey hey hey! Easy Now!
      Golf courses tend to frown on me wearing my leather coat, tight jeans with my perfectly manscaped chest exposed while I “bend and snap” while tee-ing up my ball.

      So did I tone it down a bit – YES! But was the gravatarness gone – hell no!

      FORE!!!!!

  15. I’m with Tameri here – it’s hard to imagine our cyber-socialite making a fuss on the course. 🙂 I’m sure the course marshall was just admiring your bling-bling. lol.

    Btw, Natalie, do you write chick-lit?

    • LOL!!! Maybe…that’s definitely a nicer way to look at it!! 🙂

      Chick-lit – actually I don’t write anything as of yet. But I love that you asked because as I venture into ROW80, I’m going to be starting my FIRST EVER WIP and I’ve been toying around with a few different story ideas – unsure of what direction to take. I think chick-lit fits more my natural tone and interest. Do you see that as a good fit for my style? 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] here at Glitter, Bliss, and Perfect Chaos, don’t you think? She posts on relevant things like being a douchebag when golfing,  the new trailer hitch stripper pole, and her Urban Word (where she teaches us words like […]

  2. […] “Have I mentioned I can be a total douchebag?” by Natalie Hartford–Natalie talks about how competitive attitudes can ruin good ole fun. […]

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