“It’s not about the win or loss. It’s about the absolute joy you have in pursuing it!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
This moment in time, a moment in time that happened yesterday is everything. The context of this story will make no sense without the video.
I have never quite laughed so hard!
The context might be helpful. It’s Father’s Day, and I’m playing a match play against my youngest son.
28 years old, he is close to being a scratch golfer – that means he is among the very few who can go out and shoot a round close to par. I’m not – I currently have a 14 handicap, meaning that of my last 20 games, 10 had me coming in at 14 strokes on average over par. That’s not bad for a guy my age. It means on average, I have a decent chance of posting a score of 85.
Match play allows two golfers to compete against each other based on their current rating. It’s a fun way to test your abilities and focus a bit. It works like this – in a match with my son, we take the difference in our handicaps – he’s a 0.5, I’m a 14. And so in a match, I get ‘strokes’ – that is, on 13 of the holes, I get an extra stroke.
With that idea in mind, it means that on all but 5 of the holes on the course, I get an extra chance. And so if a hole is a par 4, and it’s a stroke hole, and if he shoots a 4 (expected), and I can do it in 5, we tie the hole. If I get a 4 (par) and he gets a 4, I win the hole. And so on. It’s a fun way, but since I never played any competitive sports in school, I sometimes struggle with the ability to stay focused and enjoy the fun!
Yesterday was not that day. We were having a marvelous round, and by the tenth hole, I had kept the score at ‘even.’ That means, given my abilities, I was playing as well as he was, adjusted for my handicap. In fact, I shot 37 on the front, which is pretty darn good. The fact he shot 31 tells you just about everything you need to know – he was playing to the top of his game, not prepared to give me a win simply because it’s Father’s Day.
Keeping it even at 10 was pretty darn good- and up to that point, the score had gone back and forth. He was up 1, I tied it to get even, I was up 1, then lost a hole, then we were even again. It was a wonderful match! And the fact that I had kept it even to me was an accomplishment – I fully expected to lose rather quickly.
And then came the 12th hole.
It’s a long part 5, currently playing as a 4 due to the fact that the green is being rebuilt as part of a massive renovation of our course. My drive hit the fairway, as did his (although he has the magic of youth and distance.) My second shot was fantastic, and the one after that had me on the green in 3. My son? He was on the green in 2 .. meaning that our competition now came down to our putting on the hole. With some good putting, I had a chance to win the hole and go up 1 again, since I get a stroke on this hole.
And then … as we walked up to the green, we noticed the raven. The next bit in the video explains it all – it moved his ball, again, and again, and again, further away from the hole … and then, in. a moment of hilarious glory, flew away with it, dropping it some 30 yards further away!
There is a rule in golf that you ‘play it as it lies.’ You hit your next shot where you find the ball. In jest, I argued that he should now have to play it from where the raven (or crow) dropped it — which would surely give me the win. This is farcical of course, because another rule would indicate that he gets ‘relief’ – the ability to place the ball back in the original position. I have suggested I would call one of my friends in the PGA of America to get an official ruling.
He took ‘relief,’ putting out in 2, as did I.
We tied the hole.
But my gosh, did I ever have the most wonderful bellyaching moment of laughter!
That’s what joy is all about – pure, unadulterated, relentless laughter.
The match continued on, and I was still even at 15. Sadly, although I had a great bunker shot on 16, my 4-foot putt missed, and I lost the hole. He was now up by 1. The moment got into my head, and I totally messed up the shot on the next hole with a dreaded ‘shank.’
I lost the match.
But we both won the day – having a moment in time that I am sure the both of us will share for your years and years to come.
Because it’s not about the win or the loss. It’s the absolute joy that comes with pursuing it!