Never Give Up

Never Give Up

I recently attended the US Open Golf qualifying tournament at nearby Walton Heath. 

It’s a great day out for sports fans, because you can see, close up, around 100 of Europe’s top golfers playing 2 rounds whilst competing for 13 available places in a prestigious major tournament. Best of all, it’s absolutely free – even the parking… 

My friends and I spent some time on the first tee watching players start their rounds. Most players hit fantastic shots, long and straight to the exact place they were aiming at. One golfer though, Frenchman Gary Stal, hit an absolute shocker, a shank into the trees. For a leading professional golfer, it was embarrassing, even I could have done better. There were gasps all around and several people made comments along the lines of ‘well, that’s his chances over’. 

The only way Monsieur Stal could play his second shot, was kneeling down in the trees from where he managed to hit it about 10 feet out of the trees into the rough. Eventually he completed the hole with a double bogey. General consensus among the spectators was that his chances of qualifying were non-existent. 

I had to leave Walton Heath mid-afternoon to go to another engagement. At that point, the (apparently) hapless Gary Stal seemed way out of the reckoning. 

Imagine my surprise the next morning, when after checking the scores in the newspaper, I noticed that Gary Stal had not only qualified, he finished fourth! 

The reason I tell this story is because it effectively demonstrates the importance of not giving up. Setbacks and challenges are an evitable part of life. They’re not helpful or welcome, but they happen to everyone, usually every day. How we deal with setbacks is, to a great extent what defines us as people. 

People who know me, know that one of my favourite sayings is that ‘unexpected events are an inevitable part of everyday life and, more often than not, they’ll be unwanted as well as unexpected’. 

How many people do you know (perhaps you’re one of them) who waste half their life hoping something doesn’t happen? 

Gary Stal didn’t want to shank his tee shot into the woods, but, when it happened he was ready for it and, had a strategy for dealing with it. He didn’t let his brain go into meltdown, he didn’t feel sorry for himself and he didn’t worry about what other people were thinking. He dealt with the unwanted event, put it behind him and got on with the rest of his round – very successfully as it happens…

We can all learn from that