Monday, February 27, 2006

A weak and neurotic moment

I could probably also title this "Confessions of a wack-job" but I guess personal blogs are often confessionals (and bloggers are often wack-jobs?).

Here it is: Irony notwithstanding, I am terrified of getting better and losing. And what if I never can get as good as I want to or expect to get? I think my biggest fear has always been failure. It has stifled me many times in the past. I'll start something and devour it with a passion until I can see the point where, upon completion, the project could fail, which will make me a failure because I put everything into it. Oh, and I do have something of an addictive personality what with the way I throw myself into things. I've also been known to half-ass my way through something so that when it's not the best I can claim I didn't really give it my all. That's me in a nutshell: one great big ball of potential that never really lived up to it. (Perhaps my attack on what I called Bode Miller's subconscious lack of effort was just projecting.)

As I get better, I'll be facing tougher competition. I'll be getting fewer strokes and will be expected to deliver like any other seasoned player. I'm afraid that as expectations rise, my performance will fall. Maybe this fear is what causes me to play better under pressure than in any ordinary round. But it's also what makes me quit before I find out the worst. Novels, screenplays, business ideas, career moves, art projects... all left unfinished.

I also tend to get bored with projects either after time or once the challenge is gone, so maybe golf is just the ticket for me since it'll always be challenging no matter how good I do or don't get. Unless that particular challenge gets boring, too. Argh. So far I'm still determined to finally follow through on something. But boy, does that sound familiar.

I don't go around dwelling on this feeling or fear 24/7, it just reared its ugly head on Friday and I need to shake it off. I played on Saturday and Sunday and both rounds STUNK.

Um... do I really want to post this?

Next post.


Greg said...

Did I write this post? I sure could have! I'm very much the same. I jump into things with everything I've got.

I used to hunt quite a bit with my Dad, Brothers and friends. Once I moved away I gave it up. I took up target shooting and went from a Class "C" shooter to "AAA" in a single season. I qualified for the Regional Championships but I could not attend since it was midterm week at college. I didn't fire a single shot the following season.

I guess for me, I'm consumed with stuff while I'm making considerable gains. When the progress slows, I tend to be easily drawn to the next "thing". I have often asked myself how long will the golf ride last?

My goal has always been to beat my father-in-law. I'll have a chance to meet that goal when he arrives in June, just one year from the time he introduced me to this game. Will I drop golf if I beat him? I doubt it. It'll be on "my turf", and that will diminish the victory a bit, but we're going to "his turf" in August. If I take him to school both times I'll have undoubtedly met my goal.

I'm hoping to get my kids into the game. At a minimum, that should keep me playing.

Sorry for the drawn out comment GC, I guess I just needed to think that through. I'm not sure if "Dad" reads my blog (he is aware of it), so I wouldn't want to post these words there.

One other thing: Blogging adds a new dimension to our obsessions that may make quitting more difficult. How can we give it up when our fellow bloggers are along for the ride ...and saying stuff like, "And what happened in the tournament???
Come on, come on... :)"

And yes, you should post about the bad rounds too. Those are the ones everyone relates to :)

Stay the course GC,

Golfchick said...

I really appreciate your comment, Greg. If nothing else, it eases the burden of feeling alone in my neuroses. :)

Blogging is all part of it. It's just one more thing I've thrown myself into and who knows how long it'll last.

Will said...

fwiw, rapid improvement is usually followed by a longer period of leveling off, and perhaps getting worse. In your case, you've probably picked the low-hanging fruit, and further improvement will take a much greater commitment to the game.

All the really good players I've known either played a lot when they were young, or really dedicated themselves to the game at some point.

I enjoy reading your stuff, your experience is similar to mine.

NothingMan said...

Woooooo. You guys are weird! I know nothing of what you speak.

Doh! I can't lie either.

I can totally relate. I quit playing hockey because it got "too easy" and I actually came into golf thinking (what an idiot I was) that I could master it in a season or two. Now I've come to the conclusion that it's just not going to happen.

Like you two, I also get frustrated at the fact that I improved so rapidly at first, and now I just can't break the 80 barrier. No matter what I do, I just seem to play the same, or a little worse than my average and I'm getting to where I can't see improvement, so I get completely frustrated. It's is good to know that you can play golf until a ripe old age, because it just may take that long before I'm content with whatever score I put up.

See, aren't you happy you hit the "Publish" button now?

Golfchick said...

I'd be all over the "dedication" angle if only I didn't have to hold down a job and earn the money to pay for my golf habit. What a catch-22!

Thanks for reading and posting. :)

Nothingman, you devil. Hey, I still think you can master the game. Hurry up and get it done and tell us all about how you did it. ;)


mediaguru said...

Golf is like nothing out there I've ever experienced. The better you get, the more difficult it becomes. It's an exponential curve. So improving from a 3 handi to a 2 handi is about 20x harder than say from a 15 to a 10. I've been trying to go from a 2 to a 1 or 0 for two years. It's damn near impossible. Talk about frustration.

Golfchick said...


If you're trying to get me to quit so I don't whoop you later on, it's working. ;)


GolfNomad said...

You sound like one of my best friends. He has a very addictive personality..great guy. He also gets into stuff rather quickly too..he was one of those guys that never, ever studied (I know we went to high school together) and pulled off A's and B's..no joke. He was bored with the world and took on alot of pecular jobs..around the world. His latest was refinishing vintage sailboats in Italy. He's the only person I know that is banned from the country of Hungary (I swear he showed me this letter that said he would be arrestedif he came back to Hungary)..anyway..you sound normal.

dave said...

Sounds like many people I know. I have one friend who has taken up the game and her only goal is to beat her neighbor/friend. She told me when she does that she will probably quit playing. I played myself down to about a 12 and got so frustrated that I quit playing for 4.5 years. I am back now and only play for the enjoyment.

B.F. said...

You need to play primarily for enjoyment otherwise you will not beat the frustration. Play as much as you enjoy. You will only continue to improve if you enjoy the game. If you don't like the game why bother playing? I have had similar thoughts, you have to remember golf is a game even though it can be all consuming. Enjoyment is paramount.

mediaguru @ hookedongolfblog.com said...

b.f. What if you enjoy playing well? Viscious cycle...

Golfchick said...

I've had some bad rounds lately, but this post was less about frustration and more about obsessive behavior and personal demons.

The frustration post is coming, though! :)

B.F. said...

Good point media but my thought is that everyone who gets to the point of playing well must enjoy the game, otherwise why invest the time? I guess it depends on how you define playing well.