Sunday, March 22, 2015

SOLSC March 22 - Lucky vs. Good

Join me as I participate in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Other "Slicers" can be found among my students in the comments of my class blog. There are also several hundred teachers participating at

I'd rather be lucky than good

I've heard that statement a lot and even said it a few times, especially playing while disc golf (Frisbee Golf or 'Frolf' to some people). Luck is always an interesting factor on the course. A great shot hits the basket and then roll away fifty feet. A wayward shot nicks a tree perfectly and floats back into the fairway. Wind, hills, rocks, trees, bushes and hardness of the ground all play a part in the luck of each round. But through it all, I'd rather be good than lucky. Actually, I'd like to be good until the moment the disc leaves my hand and then I want to be lucky. Because if I'm good on a certain day, or round or shot, I can handle whatever luck, good and bad, comes my way.

Take my round of disc golf today. Today I was pretty good. I played a tag match with fifty players in my local club and came out tied for the best score. But a few shots really made the difference and luck did play a factor. 

About two thirds of the way through the round, I stepped to the tee looking at fairly wide open shot, slightly downhill, about 320 feet. I did all the parts that made me good before I let it fly: Choose the right disc, consider the landing area, the wind, angle of how my disc should land, and lots of other mental calculations I may not even notice. I gripped it, ripped it, and let it fly...right towards a fifteen foot pine tree. 

Go Luck GO!

So I talk to inanimate objects, especially discs in the air and every once in a great while, they listen. This pine tree was well right of my intended line but I could tell that if I somehow missed it, due to the speed and angle of the disc, I could end up with a decent shot of saving a par (3 for this hole).

"Get through it!" I snapped at my disc. The blue piece of plastic listened and just nicked the top edge of the tree, seemed to not break speed at all and just tilted a little more to the left, which was towards the basket. 

The four other guys in the group gave little noises of disbelief as my disc sailed on, curving towards the basket, even if it was obvious it would land well short.

"Skip hard!" I extolled. My disc, landed on its edge on a packed patch of ground, skittered forward and left, rolling an extra fifteen feet for good measure. The group laughed, gave me some high fives and the, "You lucky SOB," head shakes as I turned to them with a big grin on my face. The disc had ended up twenty feet from the basket instead of 200, like we all expected the moment it left my hand. That was the luck.

But the good came when I sank the putt. You expect to make most of your twenty foot putts but they are far from automatic (for some of us anyway). I used my putting routine, got my birdie-two, converting my luck into another stroke off my score!

So overall, I'd rather be good because it covers up a lot of bad shots and even bad luck. But it sure is nice to be lucky once in a while.

Here's an example of me being good (result of the shot) after being pretty bad (result of the previous shot that went out of bounds), at a tournament in 2013. 


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