Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Importance of Having Swagger

"I'm the pinnacle, that means I reign supreme
And I'm notorious, I'll crush you like a jellybean
I'm bad."
-LL Cool J

Not surprisingly, I am a huge basketball fan. And when I was a wee little lad, I was always excited to watch the Los Angeles Lakers play. I especially idolized Magic Johnson.

Magic Johnson was not only an incredibly versatile and highly skilled basketball player, but he also managed to add a tremendous amount of excitment and flair to the game. He had a dazzling array of spin moves, behind-the-back passes, and fake-outs that often left a hapless defender completely bewildered.

But one of his patented moves that always stuck out in my mind was the infamous "No Look Pass." I don't know if he invented it, but he certainly claimed it as his own. I also remember doing my best to emulate this move at various opportunities on the basketball court. (Many times, without success and much to the chagrin of my teammates.)

While it does take a tremendous amount of skill to throw a basketball at a moving target without actually looking at the target, it also takes enormous "Cajones" to even think that you can pull it off.

Interestingly enough, I've found that a "No Look Pass," while potentially hazardous on a basketball court, is absolutely essential for a golf swing. Hear me out: It's fairly common knowledge that you are supposed to keep your head down during a golf swing. But many times, a golfer with lift his/her head in order to see where the ball is going. And that's bad.

However, it you step up to that golf ball with a little bit of attitude and swagger, you'll say to yourself, "I'm so good, I don't NEED to see where the ball is going. I KNOW where the ball is going."**

**Please note: Flashing gang signs while making the aformentioned statement is completely optional.

The moral is, you have to know where you're going and you have to trust that you can get there. You have to step up without fear. Otherwise, you lose your balls.

(See what I did there?)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Misery Loves Company (Revisited)

Princess Leia: Are you crazy? You're not actually going IN to an asteroid field.
Han Solo: They'd be crazy to follow us.
C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field in approximately 3,720 to 1
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.

Although the season has essentially wrapped up (I still hold out hope for the occasional Indian Summer or two before December) I promise you loyal fan(s) that I will keep the blogs coming fastly and furiously. You see, it turns out that there's a whole bunch of stuff that I left out over the past few months. Stuff that I just couldn't get to in the time that I've allotted myself. So rest assured that despite the off-season, I have PLENTY to say about this wonderful game that we all know and love.***

***Please note: Sarcasm may not translate in written form.

You know, Facebook is an interesting thing. Because of it, I've connected with people who I could not have possibly connected with. One of whom is a guy I went to high school with. Let's call him David...Rosenberger. (Anonymity is for wusses.) A little while ago, our schedules lined up and we were able to play a round of golf together.

I also need to mention that David had a shiny new Iphone. (Jealous and not eligible for an upgrade until February...But I'm not bitter.) And on this shiny new Iphone was a lovely app that allows you to track your golf score very easily.

Well it just so happened that around this time, I was going through yet another epiphany. (I think it was my 87th of the year.) This one was, "I don't have to worry about the score. I just need to focus on one shot at a time. I won't even look at my scorecard until the end of the round." And it was working out for me. Until...

After the 13th hole, David looks at his shiny new Iphone app and says, "If we stopped now, you'd be shooting par."

Translation: I had shot a 70 after 13 holes.

Uh-oh. Here comes the thought spiral. It went a little something like this, "So I'm at 70, that means that I have 5 holes to play and 25 shots to reach my goal. If I just score and average of 5 shots on each hole then I'll reach my goal easily."

Well, needless to say that didn't happen. And it was totally his fault. I'm mean clearly that was the day that I would just suddenly be awesome at golf. But because I was told the score, I was immediately condemned to eternal mediocrity.

But let's not dwell on David's betrayal. Let's focus on some positives. For instance, I actually had a nice time playing with him. Typically, I go by myself and am usually paired with a random playing partner. Sometimes it works out, most of the time it's someone who annoys me in some way.

But this time was nice. We were having a nice chat the entire time. We talked about golf...we talked about life. And I have to say that it made a difference. Not in my score of course, but in the general vibe and experience of being out there. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be less of a lone wolf and run with the pack once in a while.


Not that we were competing but I shot a 103 and he shot a 102. However, he may have taken a Mulligan or 2 or 7 sooooo....I'm just saying.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winding Down

"Although we've come to the end of the road
Still I can't let go
It's so natural
You belong to me, I belong to you."
-Boyz II Men

It is autumn here in lovely New York City. And the despite the valiant efforts of global warming, it will soon turn colder. There are a couple of options: 1) Move to Florida and keep the saga going 2) Venture out into the sub-artic temperatures and keep the saga going or 3) Wrap it up. I don't think my wife would approve of the first option since she grew up in Florida and has made it quite clear that she doesn't want to return. The second option...well, that's not off the table. It's highly unlikely, but then again when you're a junkie a lot of things seemed unlikely before you ended up doing them. Option 3 is probably the safest, cheapest, and best bet.

It's been about 8 months since I started this blog and now that the season is wrapping up, I think this is a great time to reflect.

Many, many years ago I played a round of golf with a friend who I will refer to as Douglas Herman. (Nobody reads this blog, and if they do they damn sure don't know who he is.) Anyway, I was first starting out and just had absolutely no clue about what I was doing. But of course, I was still competitive and was trying to score a low round. But rather than use skill, I decided to use a highly effective strategy known as cheating. Doug finally said to me, "If you cheat, how will you know if you're getting any better?"

I never forgave him for that.

It has occurred to me that during this whole masochistic journey, part of the pain and been caused by the idea of a number. That if I reached a certain number that I would somehow be deemed worthy to grace the hallowed grounds of the golf course.

But I have gotten better over the years and over these past few months. I've learned a lot and my confidence level is much higher. I mean, when I really think about how bad I was 10 years ago it kinda makes me cringe. In fact, I was just playing yesterday and I hit some really excellent shots that I wouldn't have even considered years ago. And that is something to be proud of.

So why hasn't my score improved over the past few months? Well, it's because a jerk-faced, weasel-boy told me many years ago that it wasn't "right" to cheat. That by cheating I would be robbing myself of a true victory and the feeling of real accomplishment. So what's really happening is that because I'm not cheating, my recent scores are a more accurate reflection of where I really am.

So, when I inevitably and truly break 95 and 90 and 85, I will be able to confidently, proudly and sincerely tell the Golf Gods to go suck it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Burn in Hell You Rotten Trees

"This parrot is no more. He has ceased to be. He's expired and gone to meet his maker. He's a stiff. Bereft of life. He rests in peace....His metabolic processes are now history. He's off the twig. He's kicked the bucket. He's shuffled off his mortal coil...This is an ex-parrot."
-Monty Python

I'd like to think that I have respect for the environment. I certainly enjoy all of the beauty that nature has to offer. The green grass, a babbling brook, and the fall foliage are all wonderful phenomenons that should be honored and cherished by everyone.

But when a damned tree is getting in the way of my golf game, I say cut the sucker down!

A little while ago, New York experienced a hurricane. (More of an windy rain storm but still very scary.) And as a result of this tempest, a couple of trees fell victim to its awesome might. Most specifically, trees on the 3rd, 7th, and 14th holes.

I honestly don't remember the tree on the 3rd hole. I don't recall it ever being in my way. But hey, one less tree for me to worry about. Buh-Bye.

The tree on the 7th didn't actually fall down but rather one of the limbs did. It was a massive tree limb that I always seemed to find a way to hit my ball into. I will not mourn for it.

But the tree on the 14th hole was the doozy. This is the tree whose grave I will be dancing on. This was the tree that has caused nothing but problems since the golf course was created. It was ugly and mean. It was cruel and harsh. It was stingy and unforgiving. And now it's gone.

First off, it was gigantic. I mean GIGANTIC. Second, and more importantly, it was practically planted in the middle of the fairway. (Which, for you non-golfers, is a really fucked up place to put a tree.) You could literally hit an amazing shot that could end up out of bounds because of that tree. And even if you hit a good tee shot that didn't hit the tree, your second shot had to magically go around the tree. (Seriously, you had to actually invoke the power of magic. They sold eye of newt in the Pro Shop specifically for that purpose.)

To conclude, I do not miss that tree and I am not sad to see it go. Its death has made the 14th hole much, much, much, much, much easier to play.

The only downside is that I now have to come up with a new excuse for why I play that hole so poorly.