Chasing Whales

Each of us very likely has one or more persistent challenges that we think about on a daily basis. Last summer, I set a goal for myself that was concrete and measurable: I wanted to score an 85 at Mill Cove Golf Course from the white tees by August 30.

I played twice a week and I pined after that score. I mean, I'm not a great golfer, but I'm not horrible either. I can hit it a little, and I think I'm still improving. 

June and July passed. I was grinding out there. I think I had at least a dozen 86s in that time.

August flew by and I didn't get it. It became a running joke at the golf course. Everyone was asking me if I got my 85. 

Yesterday, I finally did. 

I'm superstitious and a little OCD, so I try to do certain things in every round. I have to use a very particular quarter for a ballmarker. I'm pretty careful in my pre-shot routine. And sometimes I have the bad habit of keeping the score in my head.

Yesterday I didn't. I wrote them all down, keeping track of fairways and putts along the way, but I didn't tally the figure, even when I made the turn. I knew I had a special round going when I chipped in for birdie on four. I had no three-putts, and my highest score was a double. I parred three in a row and five of six. It was looking good!

But I still had to make a knee-knocker on 18 to card that 85! One more putt and it would have just been another 86. It's amazing how slim the margin can be when it comes to chasing our personal white whales. 

Whether it's a four-minute mile or a big old silver tarpon or a word count, it's easy to become obsessed with the object without appreciating the process. I think that happened to me, and now that I've got that score out of the way, I think I'll be going low more frequently.

It feels good, but now I'm moving back to the gold tees. Time to start over again...

So I suppose the lesson I'm taking from all of this is simple--stay the course, but enjoy the journey. Nothing profound, to be sure, but it's easier said than done.

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