Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The 18th Hole and Why I Didn't Care

Isn't it funny how we often look at things (even people) we don't understand, and label them as abnormal or even sometimes to the extreme as dumb? Think about it. You're introduced to some new thing or new idea and often the instinctive reaction is to label it as errant, too complicated, or ignorant.

"I don't understand! Therefore it must be absurd!"

As I've grown older, I've tried to train myself not to have such knee jerk reactions to the unknown. Yet as a human, it still kicks in every once in a while.

I grew up believing golf was boring and uninteresting. I didn't understand it and I didn't want to. I needed a sport that was fast paced to catch my attention (with the exception of baseball, which had strategy. Of which I was positive golf lacked as well). I called golf an old man's game. I labeled it and wrote it off continuously. I even attempted to claim that it was not a sport! After all, I reasoned, shouldn't you be running in a sport?

At the age of 21 I set foot in St. Andrews, Scotland. Just in case you didn't know, St. Andrews and its famed Old Course is the holy land of the golfing world. I was there, I was young, and I didn't care. In fact, I barely remember it. It's just a blip on my memory's radar from that trip to the United Kingdom. I didn't understand the game of golf, I didn't believe it worth my time, and therefore St. Andrew's was just another Scottish village with winding roads and homes built too close together. Oh, and there's that golf course there where they invented the game of golf hundreds of years ago.

To this day, I regret that I didn't care. Because there came a day just a couple of years after that when I allowed someone to teach me the game of golf. Suddenly it looked fun. Suddenly it was no longer boring. I dove into it, like I do most sports when they catch on with me. The next thing I knew I had my own clubs, I went nearly every week (at least to the driving range), and I started seeing some improvements in my game!

Then I studied some of the long history of the game of golf. I learned about that Old Course I didn't care anything about just a few years before, and I wished I hadn't been so quick to write off something I just didn't understand.

I think my point here is an obvious one. When it comes to learning new things, maybe we shouldn't always be so quick to give our opinion. Maybe, just maybe, we'd learn something wasn't as complicated or odd as we initially thought.


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