“Losing is a massive part of the journey.”-abk
My two losses this week couldn’t have been any different. In one, I was in control, to an extent. In the other, I had none. In one, it was just him, me, and nature. No spectators. In the other, I was in the most electric atmosphere I have been around maybe ever. 71,000 screaming fans for the best rivalry in sports. In one, I was the player. In the other, merely a helpless fan. In one, rural Mississippi on a Monday afternoon. In the other, downtown New Orleans on a bananas Saturday night.
Monday, March 28, 2022
Fallen Oak, Saucier, MS
After drawing the best player in our PGA Section’s annual March Madness-like Match Play, I half-jokingly felt like I got the new kid on the block treatment. Playing a three-time PGA Tour event participant in the first round would be no joke, but I knew I’d give it my best abk St. Peter’s shot.
We chose Fallen Oak for our match, the consistently number one ranked golf course in Mississippi. Usually $250+ per pop and only available to guests staying at the Beau Rivage, it was my third or fourth time playing there, and a treat to be hosted with their southern hospitality.
I knew I would have to play nearly perfectly, but my game, both mental and physical, have evolved so much, I was ready. Long story short, he beat me 5&4, the match ending on the short par 3 14th when I hammered a choke down 9 iron ten yards into death over the green. My opponent won seven holes, I won two, and we tied five. Nothing to be ashamed of here. I hit the ball beautifully, sometimes too beautifully, but my short game hung me out to dry. I had chances, real chances, but I took absolutely zero of them.
It was absolutely fantastic to be around bona fide brilliance and a genuine nice guy (willing to offer some tricks of the trade) for four hours on the 80 degree and sunny day. Three years ago, shooting in the 80s was cause for celebration for me. Last Monday, I went head to head with someone who has played on the game’s biggest stage three times.
Just another wonderful loss to confirm that I am headed in the right direction.
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Caesar’s Superdome, New Orleans, LA
To say that the atmosphere was anything less than completely electric on Saturday night would be the understatement of a lifetime. With the Caesar’s Superdome a quick hour and a half jaunt from my front door, you best believe I would be there. Duke-UNC, Coach K’s last hoorah, Final Four, Saturday night in New Orleans.
When my buddy, Jason, and I arrived at halftime of the Kansas-Villanova game, the place was already packed, but the noise level was just a businesslike murmur. Since my friend was a newbie to what Duke-UNC means, I let him know that as we got closer and closer to the main event, this place was about to get lit.
Having been to a zillion awesome sporting events previously, this one immediately ranked right at the top. Ever been to New Orleans on a Saturday night? The game was excellent, but the energy was absolutely bonkers. Duke hates UNC. UNC hates Duke. Everybody wants to party. It’s an explosive combination.
As a lifelong Duke fan, I left disappointed in the result, but immensely grateful for the experience. It came down to three missed free throws and then a dagger 3 pointer from the little UNC guard, who was exceptional. When that shot went in with roughly 30 seconds left, I thought the building was going to spontaneously combust. 71,000 people, many going berserk, is a lot of damn people at a basketball game.
The great Bobby Jones once said, “I never learned anything from a match that I won.” In regards to the game Saturday night, I’m pretty sure nobody was there to learn anything. They were there to win. UNC won. Duke lost. Bippity Boppity Boo.
But in regards to last Monday (and every other time I have played someone better than me over the past two years), it’s a beautiful idea. I’m only interested in being the best that I can be, and losing is a massive part of that journey.
Have a great week.-Benj
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