“Golf gives you insight into human nature, your own as well as your opponent’s.” – Grantland Rice
We all remember those mean girls in high school; sometimes we even were those mean girls. But eventually they grew up, matured and saw the error of their ways and reformed. Right? At least that’s what I used to think, but now I’m not so sure.
Last summer a friend convinced me to participate in the Provincial Senior Games. Since no female golfers had registered from our region and since my husband was going to play slo-pitch (which I admit I wasn’t too excited about watching) and since I was assured that it was all in the name of fun, I relented and signed up.
Now let me first clarify by stating that I am purely a recreational golfer (and not a particularly good one). I usually golf 9 holes at a time, try to stay in the low 50’s and call it a good day if I do. But I was still convinced that the aim of these games was participaction rather than competition so off I went. I should have known better!
After the first couple of holes, I realized that these women were very good and that I was not in their league. I was just thankful that they were friendly and helpful, so the day proved to be quite enjoyable despite my brutal score – that is until we got back to the clubhouse.
As a group of us gathered around to sign our cards, a woman from another group (who shall be referred to as X) came over to chat with her friends. She immediately started to complain about how a gal in her group scored a 14 on one hole, was a terrible golfer and had no business being there. An uncomfortable silence fell and no one from my group said anything. What could they say since I had taken a 12 on one hole! (Oh, and for all of you occasional golfers about to snicker, that means counting every shot – missed swings, dwibbles, everything! It also means no mulligans or gimmes.) Suddenly I felt as if I were back in high school trying to fit in with the athletic girls, all the while knowing my athleticism fell far short of their abilities.
That night I secretly prayed that I would not run into X as I was sure her friends would have told her what a terrible golfer I was. Only the reassuring belief that I would probably be grouped with women of similar abilities took me back to the tournament the following morning.
But, as fate would have it, (you guessed it!) I found myself in a foursome which included X. I told myself to relax and all would be fine, but the more I tried to focus on my game, the worse it became. No doubt stress and fear of embarrassment were largely to blame. (Okay, the fact that I’ve never been a very consistent golfer didn’t help matters either!)
X just looked on – no words of encouragement, no friendly banter, no smile. It was clear by her body language that she wasn’t too thrilled by my play or my presence at this event. Finally I got off a great shot to which she sarcastically quipped, “Well, I hope you’re happy now!”
Maybe I had been a bit down and maybe I had been a bit intimidated, but I was no longer in high school and decided it was time to stand up for myself. “Look,” I responded, “I might be small, but I’m very feisty, so you’d better be nice.”
I have no idea what I would have done, but then neither did she. That’s the beauty of an open-ended suggestion; it leaves much to the imagination. She looked somewhat taken aback by my comment, but interestingly enough she became much friendlier after that and my game improved immensely!
That day I was reminded that although we tell ourselves what others say doesn’t matter, it does; but we don’t have to put up with rudeness. I also came to the realization that not all mean girls grow up, a certain few just grow old!