hmm... thoughts

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?

hmm... thoughts

Your intentions don’t mean squat

It’s taken me a while to recognize this truism. People don’t care what my intentions are, they only care about my actions.

My intentions don’t mean squat.

What matters is what I actually do.

Sometimes I get this right.

And sometimes I get this wrong.

OK, most of the time I get this wrong.

What that was is a defining moment. And the thing about defining moments is that you either define the moment or the moment defines you. – Roy McAvoy

Whether I like it or not each day is filled with many defining moments. And in each of those moments I try to remember…  either define this moment with my actions or this moment defines me.

Church Leadership youth ministry

My 3 Caddy Rules for Ministry

CC 2.0 jenni40947 via Flickr

I’m a golfer. I’ve played the game off and on most of my life. More importantly, I love being around golfers.

There is a joke among golfers that there are just three rules to a caddy’s job. “Just show up, keep up, and shut up.

That’s really how I feel about our burgeoning youth ministry. I’m just trying to show up, keep up, and shut up.

Show up

Let’s be real. As a volunteer that is 85%. I want to get there on time, be ready to join in whatever needs to be done, and be present emotionally.

Keep up

I’m learning. Tonight I came home feeling good because I felt like I learned a bunch of the kids names. I feel like I have a ton more to learn so that I feel like I’m actually contributing. I’ve got to keep up.

Shut up

The kids in our ministry could care less what I do for a living, how long I’ve been in ministry, or anything else. I just need to shut up and be there for them.


Can Tiger Come Back?

It’s Saturday at the U.S. Open. Tiger, along with half of the field, have drawn the worst possible lot. Half of the field has played the first two rounds in near ideal weather while the other half has played with sloppy weather.

So, here we are. The leader is 12 shots ahead of the world’s #1 player. Is it possible for Tiger Woods to come back?

I don’t know if he can win. But this is likely Tiger’s gameplan for rounds 2-4.

Tiger’s goal for Round 2 will be to get to even par. He’ll attack the front 9 to try to get back to even as soon as possible. The back 9 will likely be tougher with thunderstorms rolling in. So there won’t be a chance to go low… but he’s a very talented golfer who can bear down and play par golf.If he can get it to even par, that will secure his position in the top 40 and he can start to let the conditions benefit him.

Tiger’s goal for Round 3 will be to get -2 and hope the weather turns on the leaders. The pressure and the golf course will start to weed out some who made it to the top after 2 rounds. Sad, but true. He knows if he can just hang out there he will land in the top 20 with one round to go. Of course, if anyone is capable of a 62 in Round 3, it’s Tiger Woods. That’d make for great TV but I don’t think it’s possible at Bethpage.

If he can get in the top 20 for Round 4, it’s game on. Time and time again the field comes back on the last day. You never know… he could shoot 68 and be right there late.

Can it happen? It can. Will it happen? That’s why the world is watching.

golf hmm... thoughts

Two Rounds of Golf in 6 Days?

That hardly seems possible. Having not played much over the previous 3 years the thought of playing twice in a week is a complete novelty.

The truth is I really love golf. If I ever won the lottery I’d buy a golf course and live right in the middle of it. When I retire (just 40 years from now!) I’ll be that crazy guy in the golf cart who plays all day and drives his cart home.

Sunday I played with a co-worker at Steele Canyon. The company for the round was clearly the best part of that day! That type of golf course doesn’t match my style of play. It’s a novelty course which is unbelievably hard. Lots of elevation change from the tee, blind shot after blind shot unless you are in the landing area the designer envisioned, and greens that are elevated and sloping. Even when I’m playing my best this type of course eats me up. I wonder what the course designer was thinking when he made this course? “I want a course that costs a lot of money, makes people lose a tons of balls, and reminds people that they need a day job to support their golf habit.” We had a great time but the course was much harder than I was ready to thrive at! I never play well in a scramble because I’m always hitting shots that don’t fit my game… for whatever reason I just never got anything going. Maybe when I get in better golf shape I’ll go back and it won’t be so hard?

Yesterday, I got invited to play with Kevin. I really like playing with Kevin… we can relax and just have a good time. Plus, he likes to play stroke play… something I enjoy much more than best ball. We met at a little course called Cottonwood. This course is much more to my style of play. It’s pretty much wide open. And even when there are trees and stuff you can almost always muster a recovery shot. The greens are big and its a course that is forgiving! That’s really the only hope I have for having fun on a golf course right now.

I don’t know if I’m finding my game just yet, but last night there were shadows of it reappearing. A few shots actually did what I expected them to do. I’ve wrestled to have a draw on my shot without resulting in a hook… or even worse, a snap hook. As usual, iron play is returning before the woods. I feel kind of stupid pulling out a 3 or 4 iron off of every tee. But I’d much rather be 200 yards out in the fairway than “maybe 260, maybe 60… it could go anywhere.” In order to get those shots in play I’ll need to spend some time at the range. Yet there were a few holes yesterday where I strung together some shots and got things going.

Eleven. That’s the number that sticks out to me. I took an eleven on a par five. That is the result of not playing within the limits of what I can do right now. I got buried off the tee and tried to play a recovery shot over a maintanence shed and a line of trees. I hit that shot as good as I could… just not high enough and it clipped a tree and ended up OB. I hit another tree with my next shot. Then tried to make up for it and hit a shot fat. You know its bad when you are lying 9 on the rough next to the green.

On the course you try to foget an eleven as soon as possible. But when I’m thinking I need to work on my short game or go to the range and hit a bucket… eleven is a good number to remember. That and the knowledge that I had to chip and putt for par on the last hole to break 100. That’s a long way from grinding out the boring 82′s in Romeo.