Golf is a game of life. Diabetes is a game of life. For those who have held a club, struck the small white ball off the tee, and tallied shots, you will understand today’s analogy, just in time for the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. For those who have not, you too will appreciate the talk. Golf is merely the vehicle for a mightier conversation—diabetes happens to share the same fairways and greens.
Suffering seems to be an inherent aspect of both golf and diabetes. Again, for those who have swung an iron, seen the ball skyrocket off the clubface into knee high thicket out of bounds, after having just driven the ball dead down the middle of the fairway, this can be a tortuous place to reside within the mind. In my experience, this feels pretty much the same as waking up with a blood sugar of 105, eating your standard breakfast, taking your experience-driven insulin dosage, and two hours later, discovering blood sugar of 263. Both results do not meet expectations—expectations we feel we own.
The Legend of Bagger Vance, authored by Steven Pressfield, resonated deeply with me upon reading. It shed light, and continues to, on my life’s journey. One passage, referencing a conversation between Bagger Vance (the caddy) and Junah (the golfer) during a round, has dug its way deep into my consciousness over the years:
He’s talking about detachment. Telling Junah not to root for his ball. Don’t say ‘Get legs!’ or ‘Bite!’ Just let it be. “Don’t root for his ball? What the hell does that mean?” Judge Anderson thundered. Dees continued, “He’s telling Junah to release the shot mentally the instant he hits it, not to be attached to where it lands or what happens to it.”
Why is this important? Well, I’ve got a guess, mainly surrounding the idea of control. We have no right to the results in our life. We only have the right to the work, the effort, and the intention. We step up to the ball, settle the mind, and strike with our whole body. Then, we release what happens next, walk up to the ball again, wherever it may be, and repeat.
Have I consistently implemented this process in my own life? If you followed me around the golf course, watched me chuck a putter fifty yards after missing a 3-foot putt, you’ll find your answer.
This is incredibly difficult, but for me, it’s a challenge worth taking up. Things become a little less personal. The idea of control becomes a little more trivial. The mind moves to a place where it can be proud of the work (counting carbs, following the CGM, consistent boluses), and shifting from clinging so hard to the result (a1c).
==Carbs? Covered. Fills you up? Covered. Stabilizes BG for a couple of hours? Maybe. Grab what Ryan keeps in his golf bag.==