Delight 25: Madeline’s Par

If you’re new here or new to this series, this is the origin story of my ongoing series on Delight. In essence, I’m working to be more mindful of those moments of delight that happen all the time but often get forgotten as quickly as they are experienced. This is my effort to document and savour these moments.

Madeline Black is a colleague and friend who shared with me her passion for golf. This week we had the opportunity to play together after our ALP retreat. She was clear that she is still relatively new to the game and had not played this year. I assured her we would have fun together. As someone who plays a lot of golf, it’s always a goal for me no matter who I play with we have fun. Golf can be a very intimating game and I’m conscious to address as many of the barriers as I can and make people feel comfortable. I suppose I take the same attitude into my work life.

Madeline is a natural athlete. She was hitting the ball quite solidly but like most golfers, especially new ones, struggled with consistency. When I play with new golfers or those who haven’t played for a while I often suggest to not bother keeping score but instead just see how many good shots they could hit. Madeline did say she wanted to make one par in the round. This was a reasonable goal but not guaranteed.

We came to the hole pictured above and she was committed to hitting the ball over the creek and trying to make a par. She hit a wonderful shot that landed on the front and rolled about 30 feet past the green. The way we both reacted was similar to someone getting a hole in one. We jumped up and down, and high-fived. Watching her and her excitement was infectious and delightful.  She’s been a joy to get to know and work with over the past year and this moment was very much in line with her personality with a touch more enthusiasm. Unfortunately, she 3-putted and missed out on her par. Slightly saddened but also satisfied by her great shot we moved on and she remained committed to making par.

When you don’t play a lot of golf, 18 holes can be tiring both physically and mentally. Keeping your focus for 4 hours is difficult even when you do play regularly which is one of the things I love about the game. We came to the 14th hole and Madeline had hit her 2nd shot on this par 4 to the right of the green in a little hollow. She putted it over a crest and it was about 20 feet from the hole. I took the pin out just as her next putt fell into the hole. A par and another moment of delight.

I play most of my golf with friends who golf all the time. While we all have the occasional birdie or great shot, we don’t celebrate like Madeline. That’s too bad. Madeline and I shared delight together that day.

There’s a lesson here. Hedonic Adaption is a curious thing that can be both helpful for us and also takes away our happiness. Being around my grandchildren is so helpful to see the world differently. The magic the see in everyday experiences is a gift that we all squander away as we age. Yet when we experience something new whether it’s a new food/recipe or we travel to someplace new we have the opportunity to activate our sense of delight and wonder. Thanks Madeline for sharing your moment(s) of delight with me.