There are two types of people in the world: Those people that want to take the last shot and those that don’t want to take the last shot. Perhaps you can be one or the other, depending on the circumstances or the particular time in your life, but we are all generally one or the other. The present day me would rather take the last shot than not in almost every instance, personal or business, that I can imagine, but I still shudder at the vision of the 9-year-old me, standing nervously in right field, hoping the ball didn’t get hit in my direction so I’d have to make the last out in our Little League finals. “Please don’t let it come this way,” I pleaded to some unknown baseball god, “I’ll do anything you want if you just let him hit it to someone else.”
Movie Quote Thursday is late today because I was watching the 12 best Southern California girls golf teams play in the sectional championship. The golf was amazing to watch, but even more amazing was the looks in the eyes of the golfers. Each had a quiet confidence; an acceptance of the pressure; a desire to be in the spotlight; and a willingness to be the player whose score mattered the most. Each golfer wanted to play, not watch.
Golf, like many things in life, is a solitary endeavor. Out on the course, there’s nowhere to hide. If you’re having a bad day, deal with it. There are not eight other players that might take the last at-bat, or four teammates on the court you can pass to. There’s only you, the course, and whole lot of “last shots.”
Being one –– at least as an adult –– who would rather take the shot than not, it is especially difficult to watch my kid out there on her own. I guess that’s part of being a parent, nervously watching from the sidelines as your kids are in the midst of pressure situations. But it’s pretty difficult to do. Most times in life I can choose to be the one to carry the load; I can make the presentations, make the tough decisions, figure out how to get out of a jam, fight my way through difficulty, and lead the team. In that context, of being the one who is counted upon, who wants to put myself on the line, standing quietly by watching tough shot after tough shot in a pressure situation being taken by my daughter, well, it is one of the most difficult things ever to do.
“Playing is soooo much harder than watching,” she’s fond of saying.
“You have no idea. Watching is a thousand times harder,” I say with absolute certainty. “Don’t believe me? Come see me in twenty years when you’re in my spot.”
Watch or play? Watching is a million times harder, hand’s down, no question about it. But thankfully there was no option that could have me play in this instance –– because every one of those 72 golfers out there was better than me! I wanted to take the pressure off of my daughter, but if I had the putter in my hand on the 18th hole, I knew I would have been talking to that cruel golf god, ”Oh please, I’ll do anything if you don’t make this last three-foot putt count for anything.”
With those thoughts in mind, here are a few movie quotes on the thought of watching or playing. (Oh yes, and the girls did move on to the next round…I’m gonna get an ulcer):
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Whip Hubley in A Cinderella Story
“You can do it!” Rob Schneider in The Waterboy
“I’ll make it.” Maris Valainis (as Jimmy Chitwood) in Hoosiers
“Stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball” Chevy Chase in Caddyshack