March 21, 2004

Disc Golf, Addiction, and Insanity

Rather than regaling you with Tales From The Trade-Show, or further dwelling on the fact that I'm going to be working this BrainShare thing until my throat turns to hamburger, I figured I'd complain about my golf game.

I love frisbees. They're fun to throw and catch, and hucking those things around is one of the few "sports" that I enjoy enough to play.

Last summer some of the engineers and testers started playing disc golf (not "frisbee" golf, because frisbee is a trademark, and Wham-o frisbees don't work for golfing) and they invited me along. I got hooked on the game.

Well, the weather turned nice a couple of weeks ago, and that means it's disc golf season again.In the last 12 days I've played eight rounds at the Provo Bicentennial Park course (front nine holes only). My first couple of rounds were great. I played five over par and six over par, my drives felt really good, and I actually birdied two holes.

(You can probably already tell that my game isn't that good. Par on this course is 27 -- 3 strokes per hole -- and I've never come closer than four over par.)

Well, my game has gotten consistently worse. My last two games were eight and nine over. Worse yet, every time I played I left the course feeling angry, frustrated, and generally grumpy.

And yet even as I write this I'm looking forward to the chance to play again.

Let's look at that pattern. BEFORE the game I'm looking forward to it. DURING the game I look forward to throwing the disc, and then almost immediately grow disgusted with my drive, approach, or putt. AFTER the game I'm a concentrated knot of anger, biliously marching back to my car wondering why I even bother playing. And yet the very next day (or sometimes later that afternoon!) I'm looking forward to playing again, and am headed back to the course.

This is the behavior of an addict. Either that or it's the behavior of an insane person. After all, one definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." Or something like that.

But hey, what could be so bad about it, right? I'm getting outdoors, getting some exercise, and socializing a bit with guys I genuinely like, and who are willing to pretend they like me even though I'm a product manager and they write code.

I'll tell you what's bad about it: when I play disc golf I'm NOT going to the gym, and then I'm eating out with the guys so I can bury my bile under comfort food. In short, it's LESS healthy than what I'd otherwise be doing.

One of two things needs to happen. I need to quit outright, and never speak of this again, or I need to learn how to throw a frisbee.