Saturday, September 26, 2009

4 man scramble

Yesterday I played in a golf tournament to help raise money for the local Lions club of Smyrna TN. The idea was to have several 4 man teams to go out and play their best ball for each stroke of the game. Usually this is a lot of fun because surely one out of the four people on your team is going to hit a good shot and this allows the others to pick up their ball and shoot from the spot where the good shot landed.

I'm not a very good golfer. On my best day I might shoot an 85, but usually I shoot bogey golf and end up around a 90 most days. I just don't play often and as with any sport you have to play and practice to get better and more consistent. When I signed up to play in this tournament I wasn't too worried however about my score or my inability to really score high, because I knew this was a team effort and although I may not be consistent... occasionally I do make some great shots, so I'm sure I could help the team once in a while.

Well, when I got to the tournament, all the teams showed up except for the other three individuals on my team! Ouch! I waited till the last minute hoping that maybe someone else's team would be short a player then I could play with them. No such luck. Everyone showed except for my team. This left me with a unique opportunity. I was my own team.

It was decided that I would be allowed to hit the ball twice and take the best of the two shots to play. Ok, I'm thinking, hey this might be a lot of fun. I mean how often do you wish you could play that swing over again. If I only could hit that ball again there's no telling how much better my score would be! This was going to be great!

One of the Lions club members felt sorry for me riding around the golf course by myself so he decided he would ride around with me to keep me company and be my driver. I got to know Leon very well and I was thankful I had someone to visit with for the next 18 holes of golf.

After about 3 or 4 holes, I realized one very important fact. I don't like myself as a partner! You'd think my partner would have helped me out a little better than he was, but you know what... He shot about as inconsistent as I did. I'd hit it poorly, then he'd step up and do the same thing. I hit a shot to the left side of the fairway instead of the right side of the fairway, and he'd step up there and hit it the very same direction... no help at all to our game. I'd take a stroke to sink that putt and just barely miss the hole, the next stroke he'd leave it short. Yes, I realized that I made a very poor partner for myself. It was funny really. While other teams were achieving scores under par, my partner and I kept getting bogeys! I finally ended the game close to the score that I normally shoot when I'm playing by myself.

The good news was this... I went into this tournament without any false hopes of winning it big anyway and I also had a lot of fun playing golf and getting to know Leon, my new best friend.

As I think about this experience, I realized how important it is to have other people than just yourself on your team. I've always heard that the team is only as good as it's best performer. The team usually can not rise above the level of the best talent among the group. In my case my team was me. To prove that a team is only as good as it's best player... I did that! It's amazing that my score reflected what I was and how I normally played. Shocker? No, not really, but how often do we forget that we need other people to help make us better? I think sometimes we think we can do things on our own. But the truth is, if we want to improve our game, we need others on our team that are better than we are, or it just doesn't work. So what did I learn from this little golf outing today?

  1. If you want to become better, then surround yourself with better players. Maybe I want to be a nicer person, then I should hang out with nice people. Maybe I want to develop a better work ethic, then I should surround myself with ethical people. You get the point, figure out what you want to become, and get people that represent that on your team. When you play with them, you become better. Not only in your own skill level, but in your social group as well.

  2. To apply this to my Christian walk... How can I become a better Christian, if I'm playing all alone on my team? How can I become more like Christ, if I don't walk with him daily, if I don't surround myself with other Christians? The sad truth is... I won't change. There's very little I can do by myself. To be more like Christ, He's got to be on my team. I must watch Him and learn from him, and the best part is... even though I still have a long ways to go with my own skill level and abilities, I win because of who's on my team. Once in a while I get in a good shot or two, but at the end of the tournament of life, I'm going to be better, and a winner, because of my association with Christ.

So I ask you this question? Who's on your team? I certainly hope you aren't playing by yourself. It's not very pretty and the outcome is not good. God bless you in your life adventure and don't forget to surround yourself with other great players.