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Jerry Fisher: How Golf has Managed my Emotions

by on April 02, 2012 6:00 AM

Friday morning was supposed to be like every other weekday morning in which my wonderful alarm would go off at 4.

I would reach over and hit the snooze button the allowable three times and get another 15 minutes of half-asleep half-awake contentment before rising for my journey into the radio station. After the third snooze button, I muttered the dreaded early morning words of, ”Just a couple more minutes and up I go.”

One hour later, I realized I was on the air in 23 minutes and things weren’t looking good.

I usually get to the station at least by 4:30, 4:45 a.m. at the latest, so you realize how far behind I appeared to be. Was I going to explode with anger for oversleeping? Was I going to brood because I didn’t have my usual time to prepare for my show? Was I going to have a horrible day because of that last hour of sleep I couldn’t get away from?

That’s what a lot of people would have felt or would have reacted, and many years ago I too would have felt that way. Allow me to relate something I love to how I handle things in my everyday world.

I love the game of golf and have been playing since I was 8 years old. I love being outdoors, I love the sights and sounds of a golf course and I love hitting that little white ball around thousands of yards of green grass and try to ultimately roll it into a tiny little hole in the ground.

It was about 15 years ago I realized that doing well, and more importantly, enjoying the game of golf regardless of the score you shoot, comes down to controlling your emotions. If anyone reading this plays the game, then you can relate to what I am about to say.

I would get furious if I hit a bad shot. I would become somewhat enraged because I felt that there was no reason for hitting the shot I did. That anger would then roll over into the next two or three shots, or maybe more, and then would ruin that hole, the next few holes or even the entire day.

I made a conscientious decision to do my very best to not allow that to happen. If I hit a bad shot, take a deep breath, realize it isn’t the end of the world, I am out on a beautiful day, I am among friends new and old and there is no reason to become that angry.

With that attitude, I was able to reduce my handicap (for those that don’t know that is, it’s the scale with which your ability to play the game well is measured) dramatically — so much that I would become rather competitive locally but certainly not at a non-local level.

The ability and desire to control my temper through the game of golf has translated into many things in my world in which I control my emotions, many times anger, so I do not overreact and do and say things I might regret later.

I now make the move back to Friday morning and how I kept myself in control when I got to the station at about 5:36 a.m. I didn’t panic, I didn’t get mad, I didn’t look to blame someone else. As the very popular saying goes these days, it is what it is. I had less time to get my work done, but I kept things in control, shifted some priorities around, the show went off without a hitch, got several calls during the talk show version and had a great morning.

If I hadn’t taught myself to handle adversity and issues like oversleeping or things not going my way, through my experience with a game I love, who knows what might have happened Friday morning?

One thing is for sure, the listeners would have noticed, the show would have been horrible and I would have been totally miserable for the entire day. I am a sports-aholic and believe there are many, many good things that come from being involved in sports. Just thought I would try to give you an idea how this sport has made a positive influence on me.

Thank you, golf, for teaching me to control those emotions. That reminds me, I have to make a tee time for next week, a great excuse for skipping out for a quick 18, isn’t it?

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Jerry Fisher hosts "Centre County This Morning," appearing weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on 970 WBLF. He is now a regular columnist for StateCollege.com, as well.
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