abk Golf: The New Kid/Old Geezer on the Block

My two favorite shows on TV are Ted Lasso and The Rookie. In the former, a goofball American football coach, amidst some self-reflection, heads over to England to coach professional soccer, despite having zero experience with soccer. In the latter, a forty-something guy from the east coast, amidst some self-reflection, moves to Los Angeles and becomes a rookie in the LAPD, despite no police background and his relative advanced age.

You could say I can relate well to both.

This past week, I played my best golf in the last two plus years aka my life. I’ve shot a few better scores, but my two under par 70 Sunday round and my 36-35 Wednesday/Thursday eighteen hole combo were quite satisfying. I was hitting the ball right where I wanted to, a couple of overly slow putts away from going low for the first time in a minute.

I’ve struggled with three lingering things over the past few months, weaknesses that were exposed heavily at my first ever real golf tournament: first hole nerves, last hole or two stupidity, and errant driving. So I went back to work, and last week finally started to show some results amidst my normal ho hum rounds of 76 and 77.

In the Sunday 70 round I referenced above, I eagled my next to last hole of the day. In the Thursday 35, I birdied my last three holes. All week, my driver was on a rope. Some confidence is finally brewing again. But how did we get here?

At 39 years old, to become the dumbest guy in the room, the worst player in the group, and have a neverending supply of welcome to moments was never my goal. Who in the hell would choose that?

But they have actually been my golden ticket and the secret sauce to getting better. (And better. And better.) Pairing those things with my genuine curiosity and willingness to grind, progress was inevitable. It wasn’t easy. I had to develop real, bona fide patience, and I had to smash my ego for a second. I’m so far behind the eight ball, I just have to get to work here. I can bring the Air Jordans and pink crocodile belts back eventually.

And I did, and I have. And the belts are even wilder and crazier. But I’m better at golf now. Much better.

It’s weird to sit in my new role, a role often reserved for twenty something former college golfers, ready to start their golfing careers.

It’s also weird to shoot a pretty damn good 74, come inside and report it, and no one gives two shits. The world I occupy now lives in under par, or no one cares. But I love that. Excellence.

I do have one real advantage, though, something that is repeated over and over about the lead characters in both shows I mentioned above. I don’t see the world or the industry or much of anything through traditional or conformist eyes. I’m not built that way, and I damn sure didn’t allow myself to be shaped that way.

I had mostly wonderful bosses in my banking career (shout out BQ if you still read along), folks that allowed Benj to be Benj (#abk) as long as I got the job done. Beautifully, my new boss is the same way. A couple of days in, he said, I’m not telling you to do anything. You just tell me what you see.

Have a great week.-Benj

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