“Where were you aiming with that shot Karen?” Gregg asked with a chuckle.

“Aiming? Oh shit, no one told me I had to aim.” I said.

Ted walked toward my wayward golf ball, shaking his head, and laughing. He started digging around in the thick brush almost directly to my right.

“Honestly, I didn’t plan on actually hitting the ball, so aiming was the last thing on my mind.” I said.

“And you have to keep your head down the whole time.” Ted added.

Gregg’s wife looked at Ted like he had just put a big bullseye on his chest. I could see honest fear in her eyes as a husband should never, ever give his wife tips on the golf course.

“OK, honey, I’ll try.” I said as I teed up another ball.

I heard Laura let out her breath, a bit surprised at my reaction. Honestly, I was too as my typical response would be a snarky “who asked you?”

I was amazed that my super long driver had rotated up and behind me in an arc and by some miracle of the golf Gods, had come back down that arc to strike the tiny little ball resting on the tee in front of me. More amazing, however, was the fact that I could genuinely laugh at how absolutely, objectively horrible I was at golf. I smiled to myself, proud of this new-found attitude toward a game I had avoided most of my life.

As I got older, it was easy enough not to pick up something I knew I would suck at. I don’t have to be the best, but I don’t like to suck.

I thought long and hard about taking up golf. You know you are going to suck. I said to myself.

“You know you are going to suck.” Ted said to me, knowing my aversion to suckage. “Oh, and by the way, the worst person on a golf course is one who gets frustrated and pissy about how they are playing.”

Me, get frustrated and pissy if I suck at something? Hmmm. Maybe this is a bad idea.

I really wanted to learn how to play golf, so I started negotiating with myself.

Just try it, and if the sucking is just too painful, you can quit.

Try to have a good attitude. Make a joke about it, but don’t bring attention to yourself.

And then Ted said, “You can do this, but you have to work really hard.”

“Will you help me?” I asked sheepishly, knowing that golf has broken up more than one marriage. “I promise to never, ever get mad at you.”

Next thing I knew, my Mother’s Day present was a starter set of clubs. I literally do not remember ever sucking so bad at anything in my entire life. At my weekly lessons, my pro asks what I want to work on, and I respond, “Let’s work on my drive, like we did last week and the week before and the week before.”

The miracle of golf for me is that I love it. I smile the whole time. I love sucking. I set the bar so low, below sucking if that’s possible, that just showing up is an accomplishment. Golf courses are beautiful. I get a few hours outdoors with my friends or my husband and I challenge myself the whole time. Plus, no one else cares or even notices how badly I suck because they are too busy worrying about their own suckage.

“Gregg, I’m taking a mulligan. I wouldn’t stand there if I were you.” I said to Gregg, who quickly moved from my right to my left as I set up for another drive.

I Gave Myself Permission to Suck at Something was last modified: by

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