Parentheses, just for you!
I’ve only been golfing once in my life. Actually that’s immediately a lie now that I think about it, but the number is low. I wasn’t very good. It requires a lot of technique and practice, and my instructor wasn’t the best either. My instructor was our grandfather, who I learned the same day was racist! But that’s a different story for a different post.
What golf represents to me is an activity that doesn’t ask of you to be a huge, fit, or fast person. It doesn’t ask of you to defeat many other opponents while practicing or competing. Golf only asks of you to beat yourself.
That is what I love about it. Maybe not necessarily the sport itself, but that concept. I realized this while I was playing golf with Racist Grandpa that I can connect that feeling with most things I love in life. Things that make me challenge myself, rather than challenging another person.
When I’m doing my art for work, I’m never thinking to myself, “Man, I really need to be better than Francesco Legrenzi.” I do my craft and think to myself about how I’ll improve this render. How to be better than I was last time.
Its the same reason I loved school so much. Every assignment was a new chance to be better than myself. I’d rather use myself as my bar rather than someone else. Everyone is different and they have different journeys than you. Some people are going to be naturally better, or naturally worse. Is that really a fair comparison for yourself?
Monster Hunter is one of my favorite games. The game isn’t about leveling, and it isn’t (entirely) about finding stronger equipment. To be good at Monster Hunter you need to practice and become better. It asks of you to be consistent and focused. It asks you to be better than you were last time.
I never did sports in my middle and high school. I tried out for basketball once, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I don’t inherently enjoy competition. Friendly competition yes, but for school teams it was so intimidating. You had to be better than them. They tell you to improve yourself, but so you can pummel the opponent into a crumpled form on the ground.
It doesn’t feel rewarding. Sure, it gets your testosterone going, but for me I always felt more rewarded when I found myself getting better at things rather than being better than a different person.
I am currently taking Muay Thai Boxing. I’ve learned a bunch, and its a really fun, albeit stupid fucking hard, way to exercise. I’ve learned to throw kicks that would knock grown men to the ground. I know how to throw punches. I’ve learned a ton. My favorite thing I can do now?
Touch my toes.
I’ve never been able to touch them. When I practice with other students, my body gets wrecked. Its hard, I’m gasping, and I never seem to keep up. I have no frame of reference for my improvements because these nineteen year old boxers are way more into it than I am.
But my toes? Those are mine. I did that. I did the stretches. I practiced the moves. And I have results that are directly related to me improving myself. Beating myself.
Your hardest opponent should always be yourself.