Keep the Fire Inside

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After reading about the recent fire in Shady Canyon that was caused by a golfer, all I could do was roll my eyes, take a deep breath, and laugh it off.

The golfer struck his club against a rock, which caused a spark, while trying to retrieve his ball from the rough.  Look, I understand that sports can be frustrating, especially golf, but there’s no need to burn down a golf course because you can’t get off the bogey train.

Maybe it was just an innocent mistake, or the club slipped out of the golfer’s hand, but it had to take a pretty strong strike to cause a spark and ignite a brush fire.

And aggressively taking out your frustrations isn’t a new concept in sports.

You see it all the time in baseball, where players will sometimes have tantrums in the dugout and throw things on the field, or batters will break a bat over their knee after striking out.  The NFL had to adopt a rule making it a penalty to take off your helmet, after several players threw their helmets across the field in anger or took them off in a form of protest. Technical fouls are routinely given to basketball players after swinging elbows out of anger. It seems like there’s a new melodrama in NASCAR on the track every week due to bumping cars.

What is it about competition that brings out the pouty babies in us?

Is it that we’re upset with ourselves, or with others?

In golf I suppose it would have to be that we’re upset with ourselves since there’s nobody else out there, but I have been on a golf course and heard, “What’s with this bunker?!”

Nobody likes to lose, but most sports are a marathon, not a sprint (unless you’re a sprinter).  It’s a long road from being bad at something to being good.

Frustration can get the best of us, but it’s better to be angry, learn from it, and move on than to dwell on something longer than necessary. I’ve seen people reduced to tears in the middle of private golf or tennis lessons because they just can’t get it right and they’re afraid they never will. But as Yoda so eloquently put it, “Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”

Perhaps Yoda wasn’t a champion squash player, but you get what he was going for there.

I apologize for the “Star Wars” reference, but the message is very pertinent.  The bottom line is that to be successful you have to fail.  It might be cliché, but it’s true.  Most professionals in any sport practice every day.

Venting and displays of aggression get you nowhere, and sometimes they even set you back.

So don’t get frustrated, and don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes.

And certainly don’t slam your golf club on a rock and cause a fire!

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