Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons! (Vizzini, 1987)
I believe this is a world of jackasses and morons but generally we don’t notice it amongst our own inner circles because we have other things in common that bind us. That doesn’t mean we’re not lame in our own ways that others would find unacceptable. Something about golf must hide those aspects long enough to get through a round. This “golf shield” occasionally leads me to believe that golfers are better people than non-golfers. This could be true but there are so many golfers in the world that if it were, that would blow my original theory that people suck. I can’t easily accept that. Maybe golf, even with all its frustrating aspects, will actually make me a more positive person. I know it’s changing me in other ways.
For example, I’m somewhat disorganized. Some would say (and have said) that’s a severe understatement and that I’m downright scatterbrained. Competition, however, has always seemed to bring out my ability to focus. It never seems like a conscious effort, but the results show a level of concentration I don’t have when I’m just playing for fun. This was true when I used to play competitive softball, and it seems to be true when I play in golf tournaments these days. I’ve only played in a few, so that remains to be seen, I guess. However, I recently had occasion to summon my game face at work and was able to concentrate at will when I otherwise might have fallen apart. Without the recent influence of golf and the focus I apply during play even in non-competitive rounds, the outcome could have been disastrous. Then again, overall I guess I’m still a scatterbrain… look how off topic I got. Back to the original topic of the nature of people…
I would venture to say that about 90% of the people I’ve been matched up with at the discretion of the starter have actually been really great people, at least for as long as it takes to play 18 holes. As for the other 10%, maybe they were just having bad days. I know I have been less than pleasant to be around on more than one occasion on the golf course – mostly when I let my hacker status upset me and compare myself to better golfers. My point is, either golfers are better people, or golf brings out the best in people most of the time, or I’m just wrong about people in general and they are actually great anyway at least 90% of the time. However, there always seem to be morons somewhere nearby on the course creating a ruckus or otherwise disregarding golf course etiquette in their shirtless glory (depending on the course), so maybe the golf shield is more like a cone of silence and only applies within each group. It creates a temporary inner circle and makes us immediately forgiving to one another as if we were lifelong friends. What is it “they” say… something like “there’s a [insert choice of descriptions here – e.g., moron, crazy person] in every group or family. If you don’t know who it is, that person is you.” I’ve long suspected it was me, but I’ll continue to point the finger elsewhere to help get me through… at least until golf helps me grow out of it.
Clearly I still have some focus issues … I got distracted from my original point again. I’ve spoken mostly about the 10% and even titled this article “The Golf Shield,” but the heart of the idea is Reason #3: The great people!