In one week, just 7 days, I’ll be packing the car and heading to Emporia, Kansas for the 13th annual Glass Blown Open.
If you’ve been following along on Facebook, you’ve noticed that I’ve been struggling with my performance lately. Not only have I not been improving as of late, I’ve actually gone backwards in several areas. I’m guessing most of you can relate. You work your butt off for something. You do everything you can think of to be successful. You think you are making progress. Then, BAM! Your results are the same as if you had actually done nothing at all.
Maybe it was blanking on a test you crammed for. Maybe it was forgetting your lines in a play. Maybe it was striking out in the bottom of the 9th when your team really needed you. No matter what it was, most of us have been there.
It’s bad enough that it happens in the first place, but our sometimes uncontrollable monkey brains can’t leave it alone. We then have to go through the aftermath. We get down on ourselves. We doubt ourselves. We second guess why we were even trying to begin with. Many people have quit all together after a game day choke.
Why does this happen? I don’t claim to know all of the reasons, but I can certainly point out a big one. Pressure. The interesting thing about pressure is that most of it is self induced. In my case, that is especially true.
I’ve been writing these updates here and on Facebook for months now. It’s been really fun and it gave me something to write about every week. It actually helped me progress in more ways than I can express. Now, with only 7 days until I’m on the literal road to the GBO, the months of public updates have caught up with my psyche. Self induced pressure has descended upon both my brain and my game. Until two days ago.
As many of you know, I meditate a lot. I do it for lots of reasons. I’m recording a 3 part segment for the Disc Golf Answer Man on the topic. A couple of days ago, I was meditating and one of my favorite things happened… You see, sometimes while meditating the answers to some of life’s toughest problems just pop into my head. This was one of those times. It usually starts with me questioning my life in some way. This time was no different.
I asked myself the question, “What if you go to Emporia and finish in last place?”. I don’t expect that to happen, but I was trying to give myself an absolute worst case scenario. One of the best ways to overcome your fears is to imagine them actually happening. The only answer I could come up with was, “At least you will have had a week of fun that you won’t forget… Ever.”
You see, I don’t play disc golf to win tournaments. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to win some tournaments this year. But that’s not why I play. I play because I love this sport. I love watching the disc ride the wind on a perfect line that matches the one I saw in my head before I threw the disc. I love playing with friends, new and old. I love playing by myself. I love being outside. I love a million things about disc golf.
In one week I’m going to a town that just about shuts down to welcome 900 other people who feel the same way! It would be criminal if I let the week be completely about my performance on the course. There are so many other things that this week will be about. Meeting new friends, seeing new things, playing new courses. At the heart of it, I’m going to the GBO for the same reason I play disc golf, to have fun.
With this in mind, two days ago, I hit the course with no thoughts of practice or working on my form or anything else related to doing well in the GBO. I hit my home course purely with the intention of having fun… And I shot the best golf I’ve shot in a long time. Did I have fun? You bet your ass I did. And with every throw, the grin on my face grew bigger.
I hope I can remember that day vividly when I step up to my first tee at the GBO. If I can, I’ll do really well. If I can play to have fun first and let everything else sort itself out, nothing but good things can happen. That’s a big if, but I’m going to try my best to do just that. Just how fun that week in Emporia is is totally up to me.
That brings us to you. Why do you play this great sport? If you are out there on the course, putting a ton of pressure on yourself, do you remember why you play disc golf in the first place? Do you remember the whole point of being out on the course? Have you let something else creep in and ruin the fun? As with many aspects of disc golf, this applies to any area of your life. Remembering your “why” will bring you back around to sanity more often than not. It will quiet that incessantly screaming monkey brain inside your head. It will center you. And best of all, it will allow you to have fun again.
You know what else is fun? Getting this blog emailed to you once a week. Just enter your email below, and we’ll take all the pressure off by sending you our newsletter every Sunday!