Monday, March 7, 2011

The Dark Knight

"The night is darkest before the dawn." ~Bruce Wayne, The Dark Knight

Maybe it's the optimist in me that has shut down the Mark Baldwin golf blog in the off-season -- an identity I've clung to. An identity that wouldn't allow me to write about being broke or barely able to walk because, who wants to hear about that? I've always believed people have gravitated towards my positive outlook on life. A shortcoming of mine -- I've always valued others' perception of me. So, while I set up this blog to keep people updated about my golf career -- for you dear reader ;) -- this is not a blog post, but a journal entry for my own well being.

Developmental tour golfers must see the scorecard half full of pars, even when the other 9 are inked in black. The lack of posts over the winter have led to emails and Facebook messages asking, "you're still trying aren't you?" And I've been trying, and trying harder. But trying harder only reinforces what you were doing when you're trying. The re-birth of this blog as "journal" isn't rooted in optimism, it's rooted in my reality. The sometimes harsh reality of entrepreneurship, of dream chasing, of professional golf: the odds aren't in your favor and there will be more setbacks than successes. But 1 success after 20 failures could get you on the PGA Tour. The odds then must be stacked against me as success is so intertwined with failure.

The Mark Baldwin of the past may not have written the coming sentence: It's been a tough off-season plagued with injury, heart ache, and an empty bank account, maybe the most difficult yet. It started with the ending of a three year romance. I then didn't go to Q-School last fall because I couldn't scrounge up the entry fee. For a while, I was scouring the cracks between seats for enough money to buy a box of pasta, or a gallon of gas to get to a job interview. As I sit here writing this, a slowly healing meniscus tear that has kept me off my feet for the past three weeks is being iced. I tore it landing an unfortunate stride while working a demanding 6-day-a week caddy job I was grateful for.

These types of challenges have become so common place though, my natural reaction is not to react. The goals in my mind are so clearly forged that my commitment to achieving them is unwaivering and unfazed. What many practical, intelligent people with steady jobs may call failure, I don't lend energy towards considering. These occurences are events. The sum of these events equal rock solid determination, commitment and character. I only now have come to honestly study the events of the past 6 months and provide this limited characterization. My occurrences are not uncommon. They are shared by the majority who achieve something that is truly joyous. Because of these occurrences, the smell of cut grass becomes fresher, each strike of the ball is crisper, each painless stride becomes energetic and each friend is more loved.

My grandfather liked to use the common expression, "golf is a game of inches" and the millimeters between those inches determine who gets paid and who has to get another job. My unwaivering belief is defined by disappointment. Without setbacks synonymous with disappointment, I would not be so committed to winning on the PGA Tour. I was able to work on my short game for over and hour today and hit full sand wedges on a driving range. Time seemed to slow. The ball appeared suspended in air. Every second, I was grateful.

From a practical perspective, the night may be shadowed with deathly hallows, from mine, the dawn approaches.