Grumpy Old Man

I have recently come to the realization that I am becoming a grumpy old man, something that I said I would never become. As you age you begin to hear phrases like Hon, Dear, or my personal favourite Sweetie. I just about puke up my Boost nutrition drink every time I hear those phrases. My hearing maybe not what it was, my eyes need a little help, but my mind is still sharp with insight and reasoning.

You see, I belong to a golf club and have been an active member within the Club for 25 plus years. I got bounced off a Committee basically because of politics. My tenure on this committee was lengthy, but the progress that we made was outstanding. It was viewed that a fresh inexperienced face would benefit the committee, so I was asked to step down. Reluctantly, I did. What made me grumpy was for my years of service a one line thank you was written in the Club’s newsletter. The General Manager, Club President, Club Professional, never reached out with an e-mail or a conversation to thank me. To me that speaks to lack of respect, courtesy and character. I was not looking for a bronze statue or a plaque, just a simple thank you and a hand shake.

Good judgement is an acquired skill. Sometimes we over estimate our competence because we are incompetent. To become more competent we must recognise it when we see it in others. By doing so we become good adjudicators of ourselves on what we know and do not know. This is pretty deep stuff for grumpy old men don’t you think?

David Foster Wallace in his 2005 speech at Kenyon College tells the story of two young fish swimming upstream and they meet an old fish swimming downstream. The old fish asks them “how’s the water today?” The young fish keep swimming and then one asks the other “what’s water?” I am an old fish and am surrounded by young fish who know jack crap. They failed to recognise competence.

Over the last few years I have had conversations with a player who wants to improve his level of competition. A competition was approaching and he said he wanted to be in the mix. I asked him a very basic question. What are you doing to prepare yourself? Well, he said I am going to practice a little more, work on my game. I asked him again “What you doing to prepare yourself?” It was a what’s water moment! He did not understand the question. It was all about the physical game to him. How can you physically prepare if you are not mentally prepared. I let him go down his perceived path of preparation because my words would have been wasted. His scores reflected his mental preparation. 

The mark of a champion is the ability to win when things are not quite right, when you’re not playing well and your emotions are not quite the right ones. Carol Dweck.

That is what this old fish will continue to do!

Until Next Time.


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