with Robert Bicknell
If you are reading this, congratulations, the Mayans were wrong and the world did not come to an end on the 21st as predicted. If you are NOT reading this because the world DID come to an end… it was nice knowing you. Readers can get my column on the spectral edition of Viet Nam News once we've mastered the art of printing with space dust.
Personally speaking, will all the turmoil in the world right now, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to kick the reset switch and start all over again. Let's be honest for a moment, are we really going in the right direction?
Twenty kids gunned down by a lunatic with a semi-automatic weapon in the US. As a parent, I simply cannot begin to imagine what the victim's parents are going through, but I know I couldn't deal with it. I'd go straight off the edge.
Yes, this is a golf column and the massacre isn't golf in the truest sense of the word, but it is relevant when you consider golfers are responsible for their actions on the course, just as people are responsible for their actions in life. The difference is allowing a mentally deranged lunatic access to a putter will not result in widespread horror. He'll just quietly three-putt like the rest of us, before throwing the putter into the lake, or wrapping it around a tree.
No, I am NOT making fun of what happened in Connecticut. I am horrified as both a person and a parent. But what I want to do is spark a discussion on the needs of acting responsibly.
Golfers are supposed to take responsibility for their actions. Slice into the trees, deal with it. Hook into the lake? Deal with it. Three putt five greens…deal with it. If you incur a penalty, accept it and move on. Its life, it's not perfect – and neither are you.
But, how many people who play golf actually apply the same morals and ethics to their personal lives? According to surveys, not as many as you would think.
Top businessmen have openly admitted cheating at golf (not in Viet Nam, of course, but worldwide in general). OK, sounds fair… they cheat at golf AND business so you know what you're dealing with from the start. But, not all businessmen cheat, so how do you know if it's safe to do business with them?
Simple, play golf with them a few times and you'll know them better then they know themselves. That is the truth of the game – it's a test of character more than anything else.
As the global economy continues to stagnate, we have also witnessed growing intolerance of other people's beliefs and stances during the past year. While I hate to delve into religion as it is such a sensitive subject to most people, let me just say that every religion on the planet has the same basic tenet:
"Treat others as you wish to be treated."
This is not as simple as it sounds. It is more than just on a personal level, but also on a business level, a spiritual level and even a sports level.
In golf, cheating is so easy that anyone who does it is beneath contempt. Your opponent is 150 yards away, he cannot see you move the ball to a better lie. The only person who would know if you cheated is you and therein lies the trap. You moved the ball, hit a great shot to the green and tapped in the putt for a win.
Did you win? Can you look at yourself in the mirror and congratulate yourself on an excellent round of golf? If you can do that, without shame, you need to work on your character because, sooner or later, that flaw will come back to bite you someday.
Nobody is perfect, we all have our faults.
What we need to think about this holiday season is to find a way to improve ourselves in the coming year. Look for people who need help and give it when you can. Do not turn a blind eye to them or yourself.
That said, I wish you all a joyous holiday season.
PS: Of course, if the world DID end on the 21st as predicted, this whole conversation is moot. — VNS