I’ve played sports my entire life. All kinds of sports. Baseball, basketball, tennis, golf. And I’ve always been competent on the field or court or course. Always good enough to do a few good things and not completely embarrass myself. Made some all-star teams. Won three regional high school tennis titles. You know, just your run of the mill 5’7” dominant athlete. And I think one of my greatest strengths playing sports was they never made me nervous. They’ve always been a fun hobby for me and winning and losing wasn’t the be all, end all for my life. I’ve had very few sporting losses in my life that have stuck with me.
Today, that changes. I am truly terrified of what I’ve got to do. For those outside the city of Louisville, each year as part of the Derby Festival, a Hole in One Challenge is hosted at a local course. The contest takes place over three rounds:
Round 1: 100 yards, get to hit as many balls as you are willing to pay for, Top 10 each day move to semifinals, all holes in one move directly to finals
Round 2: 100 yards, each person gets 3 balls, a certain number advance to finals
Round 3: 150 yards, finalists all get 1 ball
Welp, I went out and hit a hole in one in Round 1. Check my twitter for proof. This means that I’m in the finals. And that I am one golf shot away from 1 million dollars. If I can somehow find the hole one more time, I’m a millionaire. And that fact has me freaked out.
I wouldn’t even be able to estimate how many golf balls I’ve hit in my life. 50,000? No clue. But I’m in the really grey area between really good and a hacker. I’m about a 10 handicap. Meaning I shoot in the low 80’s most of the time and can play myself around to a few 70’s each year. I’ve had one hole in one in my life before this contest and now am being asked to make two in the span of 6 days to win a million dollars.
Why I am nervous? It’s not the money. I win that money, most of it is going to charities and investments. It’s the flat out embarrassment of not doing something good. The hole that the finals are being played on has a large creek right in front of the tee box. Could I fat one into the creek? Unlikely but if I do, I might as well just follow the ball into the creek and drown myself. Woods to the right. That’s normally my miss. Now, they are way to the right. If I put it in the woods, then I’ve basically shanked the ball. And the greatest risk of all. A road on the left. A busy road. Other people may be in danger. All of these things combined has me nervous. So many areas to make a fool of myself.
So what’s the answer. I’ve never really dealt with nerves before. How do I overcome before 6pm today? I need advice from the KSR fanbase. My goal is hitting the green and if I can do that, who knows? Maybe the luckiest moment of my life happens. But I have too many bad thoughts right now. Some of you have certainly had to hit big free throws, make the big field goal, or strike out the last batter of the game. What’s the secret? Help!