Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Play better

My life as a golfer -- spanning 30 or so years -- will be complete if I never play another hole or see another 392-dimple ball. I'm fried on the tail of 90 holes this past weekend in La Quinta. We -- a group of eight clowns, including my uncle Clif -- had a blast, but I'm glad it's over.

My uncle is a former professional baseball player who is nearing 60 with the golf game hovering in the high 70s. He knows how to score and loves to compete; I savor the competition. One of his favorite lines (delivered, of course, when his opponent is down): It's real simple. Play better. Drives me nuts, but I owe him royalties for stealing and echoing his words.

In the midst of consecutive cactus-bound shots and a desire to do anything to play better (and beat Clif), I contemplated whether I was insane, negligent, insanely negligent, or negligently insane. It was like a scene from Groundhog Day.

Somebody once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome (e.g., taking the same bad swing, but expecting the shot to soar optimally). Another unattributable definition: Negligence is doing the same thing over and over even though you know it is wrong (e.g., shitty irreparable swing after shitting irreparable swing with full knowledge that it's not going to work).

Analogies? Politics are easy; think Bush et al and their Iraq fiasco (or most anything their administration has endeavored to do). Entrepreneurship too. At one point or another, entrepreneurs of all walks are insane and/or negligent. Successful entrepreneurs have fewer insane or negligent moments. They're able to change course and shift strategy when they hit a wall, before it's too late, before the hole is too deep, before they become insanely negligent.

All of which means little if you simply play better.

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