Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rory McIlroy Offers One of Three Life Lessons from Golf

Make no mistake about it. Golf, like many sports affords many life lessons. Here are but three that you will understand whether or not you chase a 1.8" ball around the greens. 

1. Injuries Are Part of the Game...or...err...part of life.

The Open: Golf::Wimbledon:tennis. The analogy is a good one—as both tournaments played in Great Britain are considered to be the most prestigious of the four majors. And for the first time in 61 years, the defending champion will not be on hand to reclaim his title. Why? Rory McIlroy, the number one golfer in the world, announced today that a ruptured ligament will keep him from playing. 

Whether or not you are a McIlroy fan, this is a bummer because right now, the number two golfer in the world, Jordan Spieth has won the first two majors. Last year, McIlroy captured two of his own. It would be very exciting to see these two compete against one another at St. Andrews. But, McIlroy  injured his ankle while playing soccer with friends back home in Northern Ireland.

No Jeff Kent comments about acquiring an injury from washing one's truck (It's largely understood that Kent was on his motorcycle, attempting to do stunts). As written on ESPN "He was hopeful that he would recover in time for The Open, but decided two days later it was not worth risking a full recovery."

Injuries are part of the game. The physical demands that athletes put upon their bodies is tremendous. Ligaments tear, bones brake, and bruises run deep. Time, rest, rehab and PT are a necessary yet alternative form of training. And yet, sometimes injuries just happen in life. Bad luck, bad hits, bad breaks. We are all human and prone to fatigue, illness and injury. 

For McIlroy, this was just bad timing. He was probably home before heading to the Scottish Open. A natural competitor, he probably has one speed, and that speed took his ankle down. Sad to see it, but hoping this puts him in a good space to defend his title at the PGA Championship in Whistling Straights. 

Let Golfers Play Through
We arrived at Rita's Water Ice in Philly as a group of ten. Of this San Francisco bunch, all but one person—me—had any idea of what water ice is all about. Two women entered at the same time and had a long and unfortunate wait. I should have perceived the delay we would hand them. As golfers know, this was an opportunity to let them play through. 

As a golfer, I hate waiting too long; it can kill momentum. I am also not a fan of being rushed by the golfers behind me. Letting someone play through is the right thing to do. And according to the rules, the group in front should make the offer. The group behind should not ask.

But it can also be tricky. Sometimes there is already a delay on the course. Or maybe you speed of play is appropriate. My advice: use prudence—make the wise decision…maybe even the generous one.  People are usually glad you ask and I've been impressed with how folks respond. "No, we are having a great time together, don't worry about it." or "Thank you so much, that's much appreciated." 

Maybe those women at Rita's enjoyed the extra time together. Regardless, at the end of the purchase: 8 students and 2 adults, I apologized for not letting them play through.

Sometimes it's not about being "politically correct"'s about being correct.
On Monday, my friend David and I joined two grumpy old men for a round of 18. They wanted to know if we would all play from the same tees. They looked at me and I said "no problem, I will play white." They acted impressed.
Throughout the round, they referenced the fact that I wasn't hitting from the women's tees. At long last, I said "isn't the correct term the forward tees?" Someone came to my defense and said "that's right." Another chimed in by saying that "where he grew up there is no time for terms that are P.C." 

My response? Sometimes it's not about being politically correct, it's about respect. Other times, it's about being correct. Technically, anyone can play from the forward tees, but a some golfers shouldn't. The tips exist for a reason: when you drive the ball 330 yards off the tee, you should play from a different tee box. Counterpoint: new golfers should play from the forward tees to keep the pace of play appropriate to their level of the game. Even seniors can benefit from playing from the forward tees. We think of them as women's tees, but I know a lot of women who play green/white combo or with their playing partner as they see fit. That's correct!

The list of life lessons from golf and other sports is long. These are the three I have thought about in the past two weeks. Send me yours!

Photos Credits
PC Cartoon

Play Through

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