It’s a Head Game

Last night Eldest and I had a tough conversation.  He played poorly at golf and wasn’t happy about it.  Worse, he had to come home and tell his father (a nearly scratch golfer) about his bad game. 

Golf is my son’s favorite sport, but messing up is easy to do when you let your mistakes get under your skin.  For example, the two water balls on a par three.  It just sets the tone for the rest of the round.

Needless to say, Eldest doesn’t do well under pressure like that.  “You can’t imagine how hard it is when the three guys you’re golfing with say things.”

“Dude, I totally get it.”  Isn’t that what submitting is?

We put ourselves out there for someone to judge.  We take our feedback and internalize it.  Sometimes we do a good job of keeping our heads up after a rejection.  Other times, we almost fold. 

It takes guts to tee off in front of others.  It takes emotional fortitude to duff a shot, shake it off and hit the next one straight.  Golf is a head game.  And in a lot of ways, so is writing.

“Mom, writing is a hobby.  Anyone can do it.  Not as well as you, but they still can.”  Whoever says teens are horrible doesn’t know my son. 

“Yeah, well I’m trying out for the PGA.”

Who wants to be my caddy?

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12 responses to “It’s a Head Game

  1. Nice analogy! He’s a smart kiddo. Okay, for some writing is a hobby, and some of us are trying to be the next Tiger…okay maybe not. It is tough to keep your chin up sometimes. Great post! Hang in there (I know you’re picturing a little kitten clinging to a tree branch right now). ;)

    • Lisa,

      I wanna be Tiger–without the infidelity. I wanna win the Master’s!

      And yes, I totally saw the kitten in the tree. Did you have that poster too?

  2. I’ve never thought of the similarities between golf and writing before, but you are right. There is a huge amount of “psyching” one needs to do for each.

    I see crit partners and beta readers as the caddies. :)

  3. Each writer is her own caddy. ^_^ And I do think that anyone can put pen to paper, but not everyone can write a story.

  4. When I learned to play golf as a teen, I never played the first hole. I’d walk with everyone else until we were out of sight of the clubhouse. It is indeed a pressure filled game. Can’t imagine doing it with an actual audience.

    I feel kind of the same about writing – I love it, but it scares the bejeepers out of me too! :)

    • Jemi,

      I concur with those sentiments! I can read my writing all day to kids and love every second of it, but the minute I think of a big person reading it, I get all twitchy.

      I never learned to play golf yet. I think I’ll stick with one nerve-wracking hobby.

  5. Ugh. How did he old enough for insight like that?

    Also, you should come down and we will play disc golf instead! Vastly superior. :p

    • Yes, I should come visit. Maybe this summer, as it appears as if our big sis is not longer moving. We’ll have to make the rounds.

      RE Eldest, they have a way of growing up. I seem to recall you doing the very same thing!

  6. At last a subject about which I feel qualified to speak!

    Golf is much more than a head game, because along with the mental aspect, there is an enormous amount of physiological response to pressure and competition – this serves to magnify the mental aspect. So that shot in the water isn’t just an “oh, no” moment. It creates an adrenaline rush, an increased heart rate, jangling nerves in the hands. I used to refer to it (in golf) as The Basketcase Syndrome.

    I don’t think the average teen is capable of the mental discipline to think his way out of that. It comes from experience and maturing. But it’s great that he has these experiences NOW, because it takes a lot of practice to learn how to control yourself under pressure.

    • Peter,

      Thanks for stopping by and posting. Golf is a mature game. It takes a lot of practice and skill to master yourself when playing. I must still be too young to appreciate the nuances : ) I loved your physiological description of what happens. Now I know why I feel like puking when I have to tee off!

      My DH, however, just golfed a 31–with a bogey on the first hole. I know you’ll appreciate that little tidbit, cuz you know golf.

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