After a beautiful breakfast at Bruno’s, my friend left for work and I sat back to savour the last of my morning coffee. In the corner, a tv played golf with no volume. I don’t follow golf and my knowledge on it is purely what I have gleaned from polite conversational questions when sitting with those who have a strange passion for the slow walk around a beautiful park while hitting a ball in front of them.
Despite my limited knowledge, it seemed like a countdown of sorts; golf’s near misses or strange incidents. In one, a golfer putted the ball up a small steep slope just off the green, only to have it narrowly miss the summit and roll back down to him. In another, a fantastic shot brought the ball just to the tip of ground above the hole, and no further would it drop.
Why is it the closer we get to getting it perfect, the more painful it is to miss at the final second, final inch, final putt?
Nobody clapped these men on the back for almost making a hole in one, for almost putting a difficult shot, for almost winning it all. Obviously when they have their shots screened on television, they are not simply Sunday morning golfers but tops in their game.
When I went golfing, or rather to play pitch and putt, which I may add I hated, I danced up and down when a) I hit the ball b) it went in the direction of the hole and c) when it ended. Barr c), which may be considered unsportsman-like, the other 2 seem to me like perfectly legitimate reasons to celebrate. These were successes in my world of golf.
When you look at it, the bigger the stakes, the more damning it is to fail. The better you are, the less forgivable it is for you to mess up. It makes me wonder, why do we even try?
How often when we really work at something, a great meal, a 5km run, yoga 4 times a week, bigger sales, we play down the effort and motivation behind it. We make out we aren’t really trying: “It’s just a few things I threw together”, “I usually just take it easy”, “I skip runs all the time”, “I’m still unfit”, “it was just luck”. We have every excuse ready to whittle away any evidence we are actually trying, trying to get better, be better, do better. We don’t want to try and fail, or rather, we don’t want to be seen trying and then failing.
It makes me appreciate those people who put themselves out there. I will run this marathon, I will lose this weight, I will get an A in this test. When you put yourself out there, when you show the world that you are working your ass off for something, you should be applauded from the get-go. These are the people who we need to get behind, to support and to motivate.
It never is easy. It is never easy to manage a team, a diet, an exercise regime, a new skill, a country. I am behind those who try. Not those who explain how well they can do it by making it sound easy but those who admit to all the challenges ahead and instead tell me how they will manage the obstacles, the slopes, their own weaknesses, and what they will do right after they miss the final shot by an inch. Because the person who can admit that they may fail, but will try anyway, that is the person I want to be behind.