The East horizon was liberating the sun gradually on that beautiful morning. The grass held onto the dewdrops dearly. Trees basked in the sun, and the flowers yawned to bloom. I fit in with nature with my blue golf attire, and my trusty Taylormade M6 kit by my side. The crew wore nice colognes that blended with the environment perfectly. The young caddie was chipper, and I was planning to play better than yesterday.
While my fellow flyers began their tee shots long and straight, I started with a bad one in the deep rough. The crew tried to keep their laughter at bay, but their desire to mock me was evident. I strolled forward and planned the next shot in my head. Unfortunately, my second shot was no better than the first. Somehow, I reached the back edge of the green in five shots on par four. I made another three-putt finishing par four in eight. During the rest of the round, I kept trying my best but to no avail. This has become a matter of routine ever since I had played a match at Faisalabad. It seems that the game has disappeared on me. My learnings and skills continually refuse to return. After such a performance, even my caddie is unable to hold back his mischievous laughs. What’s worse is that my enthusiasm at the office resembles my spirit at golf. I have a wonderful family, great friends, and a satisfying list of achievements. I am wondering why I feel empty these days? Is it the age? Is the ever-burning flame of my soul dwindling?
One thing I know to be true is that when failure becomes a routine, one begins to rot. When nothing feels right, the game begins to scatter, failing is frequent, hope starts to fade, friends find you boring, teammates look bothered, and the family seems concerned. It is as if the whole world can tell something is wrong when the player is not in the game. It’s a quick giveaway.
I have concluded that I need a stir, a shakeup, a jolt. The thrill is gone. I feel like stagnant water, I am yearning for the currents or a storm. I need to hit thunderbird shots, and I ought to run a thoroughbred race or the decay will lead to dust.
During the fall season, I need to ensure I do not shed like one of the dry leaves. I know it is the time I should hold on to something or someone strong. Perhaps, I should find guidance from books; they have always helped. I can seek help from the people of letters. They have pulled me out of many whirlpools throughout my life. The words of Iqbal, Rumi, Khalil Jabran, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Paulo Coelho, and Richard Nixon have been great sources of uplift for me in my past drownings.
Biographies are a great genre to follow in times of despair. There is something empowering in reading about great people who kept faith in themselves and ultimately converted their odd times into victories. The tales of Nelson Mandela and Genghiz Khan are among many stories that can stir a dead pond of hope. Some characters in biographies have strong confidence in their cause, others carry extreme determination.
Why is my performance at the business shrinking? Why has my social life been squeezed? Why is my glow at the golf course fading? Why can’t I hit straight anymore? Why are there more shanks than the better shots? What causes my ball to turn right before the hole? Is golf a frustrating game? Am I a poor sportsman? Is my mind rusting? Am I losing touch with life?
I left these questions aside and took refuge in my book app. This time I preferred to get back to Paulo Coelho. Having a favorite writer is like having a lifelong friend who knows what you need and when you need it. I chose “The Archer” and strongly felt it was written only for me. Each word in the book was much-needed advice for me. It is a manual on a game that is played with a bow and arrow. This is a must-read for all complaining sportsmen. I found out my answers to all my questions in one sentence,
“It must leave at the moment when bow, archer, and target are at the same point in the universe: this is called inspiration.”
Without fervor, work is just a routine. Without flair, golf is just another boring game. It is inspiration and emotion that adds soul to otherwise ordinary action. It is the passion that attaches spark to a task and turns it into a mission.
“ When you do things from the soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
The Archer by Paulo Coelho
Golfer, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Author, Poet, Wanderer, Photographer