They Can’t All be Winners

Photo by canonsnapper via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Golf has taught me a lot of life lessons.

Probably most importantly is this one: Since you’ll never be perfect, success or failure is defined by how you respond in less-than-ideal circumstances.

I’ve always been a recovery golfer. Even when I was playing my best golf– my playing partners always complimented me more on my ability to make a recovery shot than my ability to hit the ball a long way off the tee into the fairway or sink a 5 foot putt for par. As we drove home or hung out at the clubhouse it’s always the recovery shot stories that get told. “Adam hit his  tee shot into the next fairway, than pulled out an 8 iron and hit a sky ball over the tree line and into the middle of the green.

When I played on a golf league these stories annoyed me a little. I’d play 6-7 boring holes, playing from the middle of the fairway, hitting to the pin side of the green, and score a long series of pars. But these weren’t remarkable. I heard other golfers tell me I was a bad playing partner. “All he does is make pars.” What made the other men talk were my stories of recovery. Ending up behind a tree. Or missing the green badly with an approach shot. Scrambling for a decent score when most guys would go double bogey or worse is worth talking about. But being “good” isn’t.

You should have seen when Adam hit it in the water on the par 5 and only made a bogey.

He snaked his second shot from under some trees than over the pond and onto to the green.

Never mind the fact that being in those positions qualified as horrible golf!

I think this is why Christian make such horrible story tellers.

We’re boring. While our struggle is the most interesting thing about us it is the thing we hide the most. We like to emphasize the boring parts of our story. Worse yet, we like to pretend like we don’t ever miss life’s green.

We like to pretend like we magically stopped sinning when we became believers.

Like it or not, Americans are intrigued by stories of imperfect winners.

I guess that means that in order to be interesting we have to be more open about who we really are?

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.


  1. But if we did that, we would have to be . . . authentic . . . and admit we are still works in progress despite being recipients of an eternal dose of amazing grace.

  2. this is really well written. I love it. And it is true, our imperfections are what make us interesting, fascinating and wonderful

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