Friday, July 29, 2011

Life IS the distraction

One of the best perks to playing golf, besides the game itself, is the fact you get a few hours to block out the world and concentrate on one thing and one thing only. You tee it up, let it rip and move on to the next shot. With any luck you get some good shots in and start to feel good once more and remember what its like to smile and feel good again. With all the stuff that’s happening in the world it’s nice to be able to get a break from all the crap that’s going on. In today’s world we seem to have to multi-task just to keep up. I used to feel that I was really great at it, I mean as I write this blog, I am working, on the phone helping a person with their computer issue, writing this blog, listening to ITunes and streaming hulu! The thing is you never seem to get ahead just stay afloat. And you never give 100% to any one task its best 15 to 25%. You are bombarded with so much information and so many things each day it’s no wonder people stay sane at all!

Life has become so much more complicated today. Why and how did it come about? I have no idea but it does seem it has. Their will be some that say it always was complicated, others will agree with me that we have become a society of selfish self involved cry babies. We want everything now and we want it on our terms. Just in the last week I have had eight different what I would call big issues come up, nothing life threatening but big enough to cost money to fix or cause some sort of delay or run to the doctor. My life has turned into one big triage session. I am always trying to figure out some form of a list that can prioritize these issues by importance. I can’t imagine the energy that I have spent this week alone handling these pop up emergencies. And the sad thing is I’m not alone, my wife goes through the same things, heck my kids have it happen to them as well. Now granted the issues the kids have are just a tad simpler by comparison but to them they are just as real and just as much as an emergency as any of mine.

The funny thing is Life waits for no one. So as our busy lives snowball out of control with all the issues that come up, we do still need to take a breath slow down and pay attention to Life. It’s going on all around us, and it’s not ALL bad. I know it may seem to be as you watch the nightly news and see the doom and gloom right before your eyes. But really it is the simpler things that should make us happy and prove to us that we will be ok, that life does move on and we can either embrace it or hold on because it’s moving alone regardless.

I know there are times for all of us when we just get so overwhelmed that we don’t even know where to start to work on things. Just try to remember keep it simple. Just tee it up, let it rip and move on to the next shot. We can’t worry about he last shot just the next one. Live in the moment, looking to the future. We are headed there now so come on lets hitch a ride…

Friday, May 13, 2011

One Shot at a time

As I made it to the driving range for the firs time this year, I was warming up with a few stretches and swinging a couple of clubs to try to get a little flexibility in this overweight underworked and just downright out of shape body, when I began to really think how much I have missed playing golf. Winter is over and spring is here. It has been a crazy year so far weather related, it’s rained a lot and its been cold and really hot as well! Welcome to Indiana! With a full time job, two kids and my better half it’s hard to get any time to play or get to the range but add weather to the mix and you have a recipe that seems to cook up disaster in the time category. None the less I’m here now and want to make the most of it. I started out hitting a few wedge shots trying not pull something and it went pretty well. I moved to my small irons and again not to bad. I went on to my long irons and had a few good shots but this is a area which seems to need a little work. I hit my hybrid club a few times and got really frustrated with it. I mean don’t get me wrong on the range I hit this club maybe better than any other club but on the course I cant hit it to save my life! I chunk it or skull it like a fumbling dork on his first date trying to undo his date’s bra. I then move to the woods. Same results as in recent years. Hit my five wood pretty well but my three wood for some reason I really struggle with. I then move to the big dog, the big Kaunas, what ever you call your driver. After hitting about 15 balls I would say two of three would have been fairway hits. Not to bad after a long winter off. The distance is not real good but at least I can keep it in the short stuff!

One of the things the last couple of years I’ve been working on is a good repeatable pre - shot routine. One of things I have come to realize is you need to stop, slow down and focus on each shot. It’s the only one that matters. It doesn’t matter what just happened, if you just shanked a shot or you hit one that looked like banana slice on steroids it’s in the past you cant change it now. That’s when it hit me. Life is the same way. You can’t focus on the past. You can’t dwell on what was done to you, the mistakes you’ve made. You have to let it all go and worry on the here and now. Make the right decisions’ with what you have now. You can however learn from the past and try to predict how this decision will affect you in the future. But in the end all you have is right now. I guess this is a lesson I am still struggling with.

My wife bought me a book several years ago called Zen Golf. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me over the years. I have read it from cover to cover at least three times. You think after the first two it would stick, but it hasn’t! So it appears I will need to pull it out and give it another read. Maybe this time it will help me stay focused on the here and now. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I would like to break in this blog with a special blog report of an important time in my life of which I feel compelled to blog about….you will be return to the normal blog at the conclusion of this blog.

As I sit here at work just hours from completing my term as Commander in Chief for the Indiana Consistory for the Scottish Rite Valley of Indianapolis. I have taken some time to reflect not only on my year but on my time spent as an officer. Now I assume this is a natural process that most people go through at times like this. Someone once told me as I started this journey that is was going to be the best times of my life. I’m not sure I would say I have had that experience. Please don’t take me wrong there have been a lot of very good and positive things that have happened over the last several years. I was fortunate enough to play the part of George Washington in one of our more popular degrees. I have met and become friends with people that I hope will be in my life for years to come. I have also learned more about myself over the last few years and that I think is the greatest gift. I have learned that I have always been a Mason in my hart. No membership card I can carry will ever take that from me. I have always tried to live my life in a positive manner and give back as I could. I have also seen the negative in some people that I have been associated with. It’s been very disappointing seeing the actions some people take all a while standing on a soapbox telling everyone how they are so good and you are all wrong. The word hypocrite comes to mind. For the longest time it left a bad taste in my mouth and I found myself becoming very dissatisfied with the entire fraternity. Many times I would lay awake in bed and agonize over whether I wanted to even be associated with these people. But I made a commitment and I wanted to live up to it. It was hard at times to work with people who I know didn’t support me or even like me but pretended to in my presence. Who I knew behind my back talked about me in I’m sure not the most flattering manner. Again I think I learned more about myself through all of this. I found that I will never be able to change the mind of some people even though those people never took the time to even get to know me at all. I learned that I am a reformer type of a person. I seem to look at trying to make things better and “fix” that which is broken or wrong. I think I learned the hard way that some people not only don’t want things to change but the reason they don’t want change is so they can gripe about it. I also learned that change is really scary to some people. I’m not sure why but it sure seems to scare them! Also some people want to make change just for the sake of change, which to me is worse than not changing! But that’s just my opinion. I’m thankful that I have family and friends that I can talk to about these things and I owe them a debt of gratitude for talking me in off the ledge several times.

Someone once told me that if you didn’t make some mistakes you were not trying hard enough. Well I must have REALLY tried pretty hard then because I have made some good ones! I have said some things that I would love to be able to take back but as we all know once said they can’t ever be taken back. Try to learn from me, think before you speak! Plus not everyone may share your opinion and those who take offense and never tell you they just sulk and let it fester without trying to make it right with you. But I learned I can’t help that some people do that, if you cant be a man enough to disagree and be ok with that then you have the problem not me. I have no problems disagreeing with some and still respecting them as a person. Not everyone does….

Someone once told me that the higher you go in a Masonic organization the more UN-Masonic people tend to be. Enough said.

Now that it is all over and I look to a future of less involvement with the fraternity I do have some regrets. I wish we could have done more with membership, we seem to be on a good trend now, I just hope its not to late. I know this blog may be taken wrong by some people and for that I am truly sorry. If you have questions please feel free to look me up and we can talk for hours sharing thoughts on it all…if you really care to know them! Some like to talk but they never take the time to ask your opinion. Do they just assume yours is the same or do they just not care to hear it?

I do want to clarify one important part of this blog. I do believe in what the fraternity has to offer men and I do think I am a better person for joining. I feel that is the whole point of the fraternity. It should be a journey of self reflection for improving yourself as a person. And for that it has been a huge success! I am thankful for that.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life Lessons

It’s been a long time since I have taken the time to sit down and write a new blog, but it was time I did. Since my last blog over 3 years ago a lot has happened. I had a surgery that took longer to recover from than anyone would have guessed and my son has gotten older and we now have a daughter as well. Those of course are just the highlights….

I have had not had the chance to play golf as much as I would have liked with all that’s happened, but I have managed to make it out to several charity events that I normally play in. I do always enjoy these events for many reasons. First of course is the charity they help with and I get to play golf and most of the time I get some quality time with my father and what better way to spend time with your family but on a golf course. The times we spend on the golf course will no doubt be cherished memories for both of us. I hate to say it aloud fearing it will now go in the opposite direction, but my golf game has gotten a lot better in several areas but has taken some bad turns in others. I’m sure if you’re a golfer you know exactly what I mean.

As my son gets older, (he is now 4 and we are getting him prepared for preschool), and I am doing my best at teaching life lessons to him but never seem to come up with the right words to show him why he should or should not be doing something. It’s like pulling out a pitching wedge with 120 yards to the pin and I visualizing the swing, the path of the ball and it one hoping up close to the hole. But what really happens is I chunk it and it goes about 80 yards and comes up horribly short! I mean I think what I am going to say will somehow be so profound that I can see it in his eyes that he really gets it! As parents we all want to teach our children the life lessons we have learned the hard way to help them avoid making the same mistakes we have made. I try to create times where he and I are alone and we can talk about the day and how things affected him and how well or bad he handled his situations he found himself in. But what I would really like to teach him is how to avoid those situations altogether. So once again I fell back on the game of golf and tried to teach him some course management. At four he doesn’t yet understand that when daddy has a narrow fairway and it’s really important to keep it in the short grass that its not always the best decision to pull out the driver. Yeah sure there is always a part of all men to get out the big dog and let it eat! But even though its your first impulse its not always the best or correct decision. No one hits the fairway each time with driver. The best players in the world hope to be 80% at best. So that means 20% of the time they don’t make it. So how do we cut that percentage down a little more to like 5%? Well take out a long iron or maybe a hybrid. Sure its not as glamorous, but it gets the job done and the point is the next shot not the drive. That’s management. Play for the next shot not the current shot. So many times we have a narrow focus that we make choices that are regrettable in the long run.

I’m sure you can come up with many reasons people do this, from a society that seems to promote instant gratification to lack of or bad parenting at an early age. I’m not so sure the cause is as important as the solution. We all must take time to think about the consequences of our actions and how they may affect others. I think the perfect example is the Charlie Sheen train wreck as of late. This poor guy just needs to take a step back and look and listen to his words and see that once those are out they can never be taken back. And to make matters worse think of all those poor people that have depended on his television show for money to support their families with. What are they to do now? Oh I’m sure they will find new jobs on other shows or on new shows coming out. I mean come on its not like TV shows don’t come and go!

I guess the point to all this dribble is I would like to teach my children to think before they act. I’m not so sure I’ve done a great job so far but he is only four and she is only 8 months old. I have plenty of time to make more mistakes!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

That’s par for the course.

Why is it when something happens that’s predicted people always say “that’s par for the course”?

Now I don’t know about you but I have never shot a round of golf at par! And what is par and who comes up with par for each hole? I have stood on a par 5 hole that’s 525 yards and think how in the world do they expect me to get there and in the cup in 5 shots! Well I guess if I could keep it in the fairway on my drive that would be a good start wouldn’t it?
According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, par is a predetermined number of strokes that a golfer should require to complete a hole, a round (the sum of the total pars of the played holes, also called the course rating), or a tournament (the sum of the total pars of each round). Pars are the central component of stroke play, the most common kind of play in professional golf tournaments.
So if par is the predetermined number of strokes to reach a hole then how does this translate into life? I think it means average. And who wants to be average? Don’t you think it would make us all feel a lot better to make par 10 and then you get a score of 7 you think hey I am getting good at this game! Well that is not what we really need is it. If bar is set too low for us all then you have nothing to strive for do you? That’s a fundamental thing in all humans, to strive to better our selves. Some don’t show it as well as others but we do all have it within us. Don’t you think that most of what life is about is the journey itself? We all should attempt to make ourselves better in some form or another. For some it’s a better golf game for others its power or wealth. Regardless of what it is you want out of life you must work for it. Its how we move along that path to achieve those goals that’s the most important part of life. That’s how we learn by our mistakes its how we gain wisdom and knowledge. Please take this advise to hart and try to live by it each and every day. We only have so long on this earth; so as we endeavor to travel the path to our goals, keep trying new and different ideas. We will make mistakes and that’s ok. It’s important to make them and learn from them. After all that’s how we become the person you are.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Golf is such a sociable game

As a gift for my father on his birthday I decided to take him out for a round of golf. We got there with plenty time to spare and as we got our gear ready and loaded on the cart we talked about his recent trip to California to see my sister and her husband. He was excited to see her cause its been a while and they weren’t sure when the next time would be. After we got the gear loaded we drove around to the first tee. The morning tee time was early to avoid not only the traffic that our public links seem to have but the temperature as well. It was going to be a hot day in the mid 90’s so we felt it was a good idea not to put our over developed bodies through more than we needed too. As we got to the first tee we got out and talked with the foursome in front of us getting ready to tee off. Not about anything important mind you, it was just about the how hot it was going to be and hoped everyone was going to be properly hydrated with their favorite beverages. As we stood there warming up with stretches and swinging clubs around, like it makes any difference in the game we play, the starter came over and informed us that they paired us up with another twosome that should be there shortly.

After a few minutes it was obvious the other twosome was a no show. I thought great some good quality time with the old man. Now don’t get me wrong I really don’t have any problems playing golf with anyone. Lets face it, it’s a great game to play but just a little boring to play by yourself. Who are you going to brag to when you kill your tee shot and it goes by the guy you’re playing with by 20 yards? Or get a high five when you chip in from a greenside bunker or make that long put to save par. The thrill you get even when your partner hits that one shot that keeps you coming back time and time again. We all make that one shot in every round that shows us we do know how to play and that we do have the ability in there some place! I always tell my wife that my golf game is moments of brilliance that would make the best players look at you and say man that guys got game, followed by the shots that make you wonder why you even own a set of clubs.

Our round went great for the first 9 holes. Now we didn’t tear it up but we were having fun and it was a great day to play golf. The worst round of golf is better than the best of days not on the course. We made it to the turn and decided to press on instead of head to the clubhouse to grab a bite to eat or grab a beverage of choice. Once we made it to the 10th tee we had to wait just a bit for the group in front of us. Not a big deal we just chatted more about the baby and how fast he is growing. And much I look forward to the day all three of us and, if I can twist her arm his mother to come out and make it a foursome. Now that’s a day I can’t wait to happen!
Before we teed up a guy comes driving up and asks us to join us. He said he has tried to join several two and threesomes that were behind us and no one wanted to let him join up. Being thoughtful people we said sure thing you can join up with us. We introduced ourselves to him and he to us. As we played the next 9 holes we got to know him a lot better, he was a member of this club and he played there quite a bit so his insight to the holes were very valuable. I guess it was about the time we got to the 15th hole I realized something about Golf that I had always heard but never really got. Golf is a very sociable game. Think about it for just a second. What other sport do you play against a person the entire time chatting about lord knows what, going from tee to tee? Having a pleasant conversation with the same person you’re trying to beat at each swing of the club. In Basketball can you imagine running up and down the court talking about the kids and how they got their first tooth the other night? Can you just see in football the wide receiver catch a long bomb and then run it in while telling the safety that he just smoked about the nice dinner he cooked for his wife on their anniversary? Golf is the only game played at a slow enough pace that not only could you enjoy each shot but enjoy the company of a competitor. It is the game of gentlemen and that’s just another reason I love the game as much as I do. Our world should take a lesson from golf. Maybe our world leaders need to play a few rounds with each other? Maybe if that would happen we might all find that common ground. Everyone enjoys a nice round of golf.

Friday, July 6, 2007

From a Golf Bag to a Diaper Bag

For me the look from the first tee as sunrise comes up over the horizon exposing the due on a well-manicured fairway is a breathtaking view. Golf to me is not only a great game to play but it is also relaxing as it teaches us many life lessons. Now some may argue after playing a round with me that I’m anything but relaxed! The way I clinch up after a bad shot is comparable to what it must feel like to jump out of a perfectly good airplane for the first time and you realize you forgot your cute! Even with that said I really do feel more relaxed on the course than it would seem. Sure I get upset when my nasty banana slice sneaks in and robs me, like a mugger in central park at night, from a good shot. But that’s why this game is so fun to play. Even the best players in the world hit poor shots now and then.

When it comes to my golf bag I do my best to only have what I need in it and no more. With all the clubs that I carry, just incase I need them; the silly thing gets pretty heavy. With 15 clubs, a few sleeves of balls, tees, gloves and other needless stuff that goes onto a bag you can see how it adds up pretty quick. It cracks me up when I watch a caddy carry a pros bag around and see all the food and snacks they carry through their rounds. It came to me that they must not have a beer cart running around or make that fun but quick stop at the turn to grab a drink and a quick bite or snack. Speaking of which, what does a PGA pro do when he or she has to use the restroom during the round? Do they run behind a tree, or into an outhouse carefully placed alone the cart path in the most unlikely spots they can find? I have never thought of that till now but it must be tuff to play a round and never be able to hit the bathroom! That must explain why after the 18th hole they quickly tip their hats to the other players and caddies and head right to the scorers tent. There must be a restroom in there!

With the birth of my son I don’t get the opportunity to play golf as much as I would like. The time it takes to play a round on one of our public courses seem to take an eternity. Lets face it given the choice I would rather spend that time with him than waiting on some goof ball trying to play a round while giving lessons to all his buddies before he hits his shot. I guess it would be a different story if he played that well, but he wasn’t any better than the people he was trying to help! I guess that a classic sign of do as I say not as I do.

The other day my wife and I were getting ready to take a small trip to see some relatives and as we got ready I was given the task to get the diaper bag ready. Now I am pretty helpful husband so I agreed and proceeded to check out the bag and see what we have. Our Son is seven months now so his needs are growing about as fast as he is out growing his diapers! But what I found in that bag was nothing more than amazing! We had two more outfits, just in case he decides to spit up all over himself or has some type of accident, a blanket, several diapers, wipes, formula a bottle and several toys. And I know I missed several things too. We must be nuts to have all of this stuff packed for a trip that will only last a couple of hours. It’s incredible how much stuff you need to have to care for a child today. The bag is stuffed to point of blowing the zippers out almost as bad as I feel after a good Thanksgiving meal. As I got it all packed up and threw it up over my shoulder as I walked out the door to load the van, it came to me that this is as heavy as my golf bag and is a fourth the size! With less time playing golf and more time with the family it seems I carry the diaper bag a lot more than I carry my golf bag. And you know what that’s ok with me!