The ball doesn’t know

A golf/life tale

I once had a friend. His name was Bunny. Seriously. That’s what he went by… I’m not sure if that was his actual name. I never pried.

Bunny was a tall, athletic black man with a deep voice. He walked with a confident, relaxed swagger and was one of the nicest people I’d ever met.

He was a cyclist. But he picked up the game of golf. We met at the golf course I worked at years ago.

He played quite a bit. Every time, he’d hound me to play with him.

C’mon, Jone.” Yep. He called me Jone — male version, I guess, of Joan.

Ahhh, Bunny, I wish. But not right now, I gotta work.

Finally, he got me. I had an opening to get off work early and join him. So I took it.

After a few holes, he said, “Damn, Jone. You’re pretty good. Ever thought of going on tour?

Ha! Me? Go on tour? No way, man. I barely ever play. I work too much.

What he said next stopped me in my tracks…

“The ball doesn’t know that.”

Boom. Instant zen moment. Much like the scene in Caddyshack with the famous line, “Be the ball, Danny.” I was Danny Noonan and Bunny was my real life Ty Webb.

The ball doesn’t know that. He was right. It doesn’t. It just sits there and waits for you to hit it.

In golf, the ball has nothing against you. It doesn’t take into account your past. It doesn’t judge you. It doesn’t try to predict what you’re going to do next. It doesn’t play favorites. It doesn’t try to read your mind. It just sits there until it’s moved by you.

I’m not sure if you’re a golfer, but if you are, you probably realize that golf is a microcosm of life.

Just like the golf ball that sits nestled in the grass, life doesn’t care who you are or what your story is. It just sits there until you move it.

And then you chase it. And do it again, if you can find it.

What if I told myself a different story? What if I told myself the story that I was good enough at golf to be a tour professional? Would the ball believe me?

Thing is, that’s not the point. The point isn’t to get the ball to believe me much like the point isn’t to get life to believe me.

The point is to get myself to believe me. And then, maybe I can influence life in a way that works better.

Or, I could just hit it in the rough.

Every shot — every breath — is a new chance to decide.

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Jonas writes daily essays and meditations here at Medium. To get them delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.