Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Challenger Within

Easter Sunday.

Masters Sunday.

Having played golf since the age of 8, I typically pause on a day like Masters Sunday to think of how much sports, and in particular golf, has meant to me. The sport of golf and my participation in it is as close to a second nature as there is for me. I've been golfing so long, I barely remember a time when I didn't. Masters Sunday typically gives me a chance to recount great moments and players of Masters past and also allows a moment to reflect on my own fleeting moments of brightness and gloom. This one was no different.

One thing that I find fascinating is that no matter the era, location, sport, or circumstance, the result will always, always be determined not by the best physically or most lucky, but by the one who can overcome the battle within their own mind. To overcome self-doubt and ignore the demons, to belay insecurity and the question of worth. To calm the mind and exhibit the greatness that lies within. There are very few places this is more apparent for a golfer than on Sunday at the Masters.

One of the most coveted championships for generations in all of sports, there are few equal events with the richness of history, legend, recognition and circumstance than the Masters. That greatness is also what provides the gristmill heft that can grind so deeply a contenders' psyche.

In life, we dare, we risk, we desire, we fail. We rise again and again and again to best our greatest foe - the challenger within. It seems no one can challenge us as capably or directly as we challenge ourselves, for no one knows us as well as we know ourselves. Such it is with me and golf and life.

Golf has taught me more about desire, effort, failure, and success than I've found anywhere else. It is one place for me where memories live, for better or worse, and keep adding to the color of my life. Many have said that golf is one of the greatest metaphors for life. I find also that life is a great metaphor for golf. Golf is and life is. What we do is up to us. Along failures we'll find successes. Moments of great agony will reveal the depth of our character time and time again. Golf has plenty of them as does life.

Let our response to these all too frequent moments reveal the best in our character. Let our innate goodness outshine the gloom of failures and misfortune. Let us be human and, in our humanness, find the divine.

No comments: