37 years old, and I’d never played a full game of golf until yesterday.

I was invited by a guy who could best be described as a cousin-in-law.  Travis, who had exiled himself to the golf course during his wife’s baby shower, invited a bunch of us buddies to play 18 holes with him.

Truth be told, I was a little uneasy for two reasons.

One, I didn’t know anyone who was going to be there aside from Travis.  I love meeting new people, but there’s some lizard brain part of me that always wonders how that interaction will go.  And “B”, I was a complete golf course virgin.  And I hate looking like I don’t know what I’m doing.

So, that was the setup.  Hello, low-grade anxiety.

I was the first one to the course, and had no idea what to do.  So, I sat down in front of the little shanty shack where you paid for your activities and hot dogs for the day.  With the cool morning air breezing by, I felt that little twinge of nervousness swim through my belly.

I realized that there was little chance I was not going to suck.  And Travis said there were some pretty stellar players coming, and to keep the teams even, he was pairing them with the rookies.  So, I was going to suck around people who really didn’t suck.  And I hate sucking at things.

At that moment, I told myself I had a choice.

I could worry about how I looked in front of everyone.  I could make self deprecating jokes all morning,  hurl excuses back and forth, scratch myself, piss circles around everyone, etc., in a fairly transparent and feeble effort at not looking stupid.  Which would inevitably make me look even stupider.

Or, I could embrace the fact that I was a beginner.  I was there to enjoy a fun day with a bunch of new pals, and I could actively soak up as much as possible so that my golfing prowess would go up a couple notches by day’s end.

I can’t say there wasn’t a little of the first  one through the day.  It was my natural instinct to look like I knew what I was doing.  But when I could let that go was when I really started to learn and have fun.

So, be willing to suck.  It’s the only way you stop sucking.