THE ANXIOUS GOLFER
Every disc golfer must deal with anxiety, but some people are so totally consumed by it that, on the course, their personalities are distorted into a specific form that can describe them as the “anxious type.”
The anxious golfer always seems to be in a constant state of motion. As this golfer awaits their turn on the tee, s/he is messing with their discs, tying their shoes, or always talking. S/he is always wondering if their disc is clean enough and has no nicks. This golfer is checking out their grip, looking hard at the placement of their hands as though they’d never seen them in just that position before. S/he seems to be caught up by an endless stream of internal energy that demands immediate dissipation. The golfer acts like a cornered animal not quite sure where to move next.
Finally, when their turn eventually comes, the anxious golfer hurries onto the tee as though pursued by demons, giving the impression that they cannot wait a second longer to throw his drive. They step quickly to the front of the tee, checking for every pebble or twig, jogging back to their position on the back of the tee pad, and focuses on the disc more as a nemesis rather than an ally. The other golfers watch with bated breath, because this person seems on the point of explosion. The anxious golfer winds themselves up into a frenzy and quickly lunches the disc, so fast that if you weren’t watching carefully you’d miss the throw all together. Then, as quickly as the player ascended to the tee, s/he rushes back. S/he has their bag on their back and is ready to start walking down the fairway before the disc even lands. You get the feeling the person never saw where the disc went, but you can be very sure that s/he did. If you play with this person often enough, you may begin to understand that s/he doesn’t need to follow the flight of the disc because s/he repeats the same disastrous shots over and over again. This person knows exactly where the disc is going, even though it’s never where it was intended to go.
The most puzzling thing about the anxious golfer is that they’re totally unaware of his/her agitation. You would think that when something so patently obvious to others, it would be painfully obvious to the victim. However, such is not the case. Anxious golfers are almost totally under the influence of their anxiety-completely helpless in its grasp.
If you follow the anxious golfer down the fairway, you will perceive that s/he moves at the same driven pace that characterizes their behavior on the tee box. S/he carries a disc in their hand all the time, slinging it around like their already on the next tee.
S/he quickly chooses a disc for the shot at hand, but just as quickly the golfer changes their mind, sometimes making three or four choices before settling on the right one. This indecision is not due to any difficultly in judging distance, but rather is caused be fear of their inability to execute the shot. To the anxious type all course hazards are fraught with danger: throwing over or around water turns their knees to jelly; heavy shule along to fairway paralyzes every nerve in their body. This anxious disc golfer will attempt to bypass both obstacles with wild detours, sacrificing a shot or two to avoid any confrontation with these monsters dreamed up by disc golf course designers.
His/her course antics around the basket parallel their behavior on the tee. S/he fidgets with their disc, their mind seemingly blind to all but one thought- to throw the disc as quickly as possible. Setting up into the putting stance is agonizing, as if s/he has sinned and now must be punished for their stupidity their about to commit. Their hand is so charged with energy that you feel their putter’s going to leap out of their hand if s/he doesn’t hold it in a vise-like grip. When the putt does drop into the basket, s/he quickly retrieves it, grabs their stuff abruptly, and begins walking to the next tee, not even waiting for the other folks to putt out.
If you were to follow such a disc golfer into other areas of life, you would see the same anxiety that drives him/her of the course still relentlessly pursuing them at all times. Their pace at work is frenetic, showing the same lack of awareness of their hyperactivity. His/her subordinates flinch before their relentless, undisciplined energy, and superiors worry. They make their superiors nervous, even though superiors know the job will be done well.
There is something almost indecent about this amount of nervousness, for it is unappealing to witness human emotional flaws hanging out with such complete abandon. And the really sad thing is that disc golf, of all pastimes, could bring great relief to this tortured soul, if only they could deal with its challenges in a better way; in a way that we’ll talk about later on.