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?

%d bloggers like this: