The game of Character

Zachary - Marietta, Ohio
Entered on April 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

The Game of Character

I step up to a wondrous scene of pure beauty. An early morning sun peers over the tops of the trees, and down over the landscape. The smell of freshly groomed grass dances with my nostrils. One of the most beautiful landscapes in the world is 18 perfectly manicured holes each with their own character; the golf course itself seems to be alive. When my head hits the pillow on summer nights, thoughts of the perfect 18 drift through my dreams. My mouth virtually watering, knowing that I will be on the course in the morning. However it is more than just a wonderful image, it’s about striving for self perfection. No one can ever beat the game of golf; it is a pursuit of an unobtainable goal. I believe that golf is the game of character.

Almost every summer I can remember the majority of my time I spent on the golf course. One day I may leave with a triumphant grin the next with a broken club in my hand. It is this duality that relates so well to my own life. If I execute a good shot, or post a good score my mood can be gradually or instantly be raised. On the other hand, one bad shot can ruin an entire round. This is very similar to how certain events in life trigger mood shifts.

Over the years I’ve been through many highs and lows on the golf course. After 4 years of varsity golf I was faced with a tough decision, do I want to try and play golf in college or not. If I was even going to have a chance at making a collegiate team I would need to qualify for the state tournament. To make it to the state tournament you must be one of the top 3 teams to qualify out of your district. Or you must be one of the top 5 individuals whose teams hadn’t qualified. I had trouble sleeping for a few weeks because of the pressure I was putting on myself for the biggest golf tournament of my life. It was kind of poetic, literally holding my destiny in my hands.

As we arrived to the golf course that morning, you could tell which of the teams, and individuals wanted it the most. People so focused that you’d have to repeat yourself 4 or 5 times to get a point across. I remember the feeling I got as I watched my twin brother tee off 2 groups ahead of me. He stepped up with what looked like all the confidence in the world and cracked the ball right down the middle. Watching him hit that tee shot gave me more confidence than the months worth of preparation I had put into this.

When I got to the 8th hole I was 2 under par. I stepped up confidently and hit my tee shot. As I made contact with the ball I felt like the head of the driver had twisted. I walked off of the 9th hole at 1 under par and I handed my driver to my coach. I told him what had happened and he checked my driver, it appeared as if nothing had happened, so I shrugged it off and played the next 7 holes hitting errant tee shots all over the golf course.

When I hit my tee shot on 17 the driver head flew 50 yards forward and landed in the fairway, unlike my ball that had been pulled about 30 yards left. If it hadn’t been for my driver being broken, who knows I could have been playing college golf somewhere. Situations that occur on the golf course can effect one’s life.

With my dreams of collegiate athletics crushed I remember the drive home took substantially longer and I was silent most of the way. I had been on the verge of tears when I walked of the final green, I wanted it so bad. I have never worked so hard on something just to watch it crumble in my face. I have never put that much effort into anything and failed. It was devastating.

Other than a test of mental focus or athletic ability golf is a test of one’s character. Golf is the only game in the world where one must call a penalty on them self. Golf in an essence is a test of how honest someone is, not just to others but to them self. There have been countless opportunities where I could have cut strokes, or not called penalties on myself. It may improve my score for that day, but it takes away from my game and my character in the long run. 33% of all verbal communication is a lie, Growing up with this special game has helped me reduce the number of lies that I tell.

Golf also gives a good spin to the normal competition that people are exposed too. It is easy to play against another person, but how often do you get to play both yourself and the golf course. A game where one faces two opponents but at the same time no opponents. I can be my best friend or my worst enemy, if I let my nerves get in the way of what I know I can do, the result can be devastating on that particular round. Not to mention the architecture on most golf courses maximizes the difficulty of the hole, just to get your nerves a little advantage.

Golf has been a game that I have played my entire life. Being on or around the golf course and the people who have played beside me have pretty much taught me everything I know outside of school. The golf course and atmosphere has built my character into what it is today, and I honestly do not know who id be if I had not grown up playing the game of golf.