Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I'm Still Here - A Quick Something About Strategy vs. Power Hitting

So sorry for the long absence. I went to my brother's and did not take a computer expecting to use his. But when I got there, the computer was and so this little blogger had none. No connection. No computer. Unless you count the Game cube we played for 18 hours straight one day.

It was golf. My brother couldn't stop until he beat me. Of course, he didn't beat me so he finally gave up and let me play the "tournament" portions of the game so I could open more characters and accessories like "power clubs". He was hoping the extra stuff would give him some advantage. It didn't. Problem with my youngest brother is that he doesn't understand "strategy". He is just a power hitter. Aim and hit as far as you can go.

In golf, like life, you can't be just a "power hitter" without the requisite planning for where you (the ball) will end up at.

Anybody ever play golf? I'm much better at the video version, believe me. However, the truth is the same in golf and life (Zen of golf). Sometimes you hit the sweet spot and end up on the fairway with a smooth drive towards the green and the pin. Other do a mulligan and your ball falls off the tee or goes flying into the rough with a bunch of trees in front of you and you can't even see the green and the pin, much less try to hit it there.

If you're really lucky, you hit a "hole in one" but those are rare occassions that is just as much luck as skill, even for the professionals.

Lately, I feel a little bit like I've been taking my eye off the ball as I swing. Bad form by any standard. I've definitely been playing from the rough. Hopefully, I've gotten the ball back on the fairway.

I also think about strategy and power hitting in politics. You don't just want anybody to get up there, grab any old club out of the bag and start swinging without first looking for the green, how far it is or the obstacles they might have to overcome. On the other hand, there are those that take so long picking the club they want to use and "nuancing" the ball position, by the time they actually swing, you've contemplated doing the unspeakable and beating them to death with their clubs. (Believe me...when you are standing in 94* heat for 18 holes, you are ready to beat "Mr. Nuance" to death with his nine iron).

Of course, the best of both worlds is the guy that has a little "power hitting" under his belt, but completely understands the use of each club in the bag and how far he can drive the ball with each one.

Today, I'm not sure if the "professional" exists for us in politics today. Mr. Nuance would be the guy that never puts the ball on the rough but ends up +10 over par and having a long line of cursing players waiting for him to play off the 6th whole or asks him move to the side and let them play through because they have already been there 2 hours and are only on hole number 6. Mr. Nuance completely understands the concept of the game. What club to use and what ball and where the obstacles are. But, he's so damn afraid that he is going to put it on the rough that, even if he's 5 strokes off the lead, he'll still be playing it safe when the game might call for some gutsy power strokes over the water hazard.

Mr. Power Hitter...I don't think he completely has the game of politics down. He was expecting his caddy to hand him the right club and didn't look to see which one it was before he swung for the green. It looked like a straight away, 257 yards and flat. Should be an easy on. Problem was that the club wasn't big enough to make the yardage and the wind came up and blew the ball over into the sand bunker. Now he's got to chip it in. Balls in the sand bunker only get close to the pin if you use a combination of "power" and "nuance" and "right club".

Right about now, some folks are thinking that Mr. Nuance might be the better player in the sand bunker, but the problem is, he's still 2 holes back trying to decide which club to use as he tees off the first hole. You can't take 18 hours to play 18 holes of golf. Particularly the kind that might have the ball explode in your face. So, you have to look at the guy that's got you in the sand bunker. Sure, he put the ball in the sand, but...he drove the dang thing 220 yards with a 9 iron and that is pretty darn impressive. Now he knows the caddy needs a kick in the pants to make sure he is handing him the right club. All of a sudden, you realize that the guy actually knows how to play the game, he just trusted his caddy a little too much. No biggy...he has a strategy to finish this game and come in under par.

Unlike his opponent Mr. Nuance, who would like nothing better than to play nine holes and call it a day back at the clubhouse where he can tell "war" stories to his buddies and talk about the bad breaks he got on the course.

So...strategy or power hitting?

Funny thing about people that are strictly power hitters, they never get the strategy. Funny thing about strategists, they never can seem to actually get around to hitting the ball. youngest brother cannot beat me at video football either. He always complains that I get just enough points to be ahead and then hold on to the ball for the remaining 5 mins of the last quarter, even if I can't make a touch down.

Imagine that...I won't let him have the ball back and I run the clock out and 68% of the time I make another touchdown and put the game away with a steady pounding of the football up the middle with my "Priest Holmes" character (Madden 2004...excellent game).

Another example of why "pure power" is bad and why you need "power and stratgey". If you just used strategy without making any yardage, the team would be 4 downs and out with five mins left on the clock for the opposition to make another touchdown.

In this game of can't afford to let the opposition get a touchdown. A touchdown for the enemy means more Americans die. Sorry...I can't play that game. So, I am going to go with the steady pounding and clock management of Mr. Bush this year.


Tammi said...

I REALLY like the way your mind works!!

Great analogy!

Oh, and I'm with you, you can't win on one or the other! It's a complete game.

If only we could get more people to realize that applies to the GWoT too!!

Robert said...

Football games- the only game you can repackage year after year and still get rave reviews.

What you may be more interested in is George Bush the poker player. He lets John Kerry put alot of chips into the veteran card. A good poker player is able to get someone to bet the house (Kerry literally mortgaged his house, ironically) on a bad hand. And its crashing down.

Nas said...

This Robert (who is not the same as the Robert above) thinks that its much better stick with the clubs you've used and come to trust than to listen to the different groups in the gallery gathered in different spots on the course, shouting suggestions as to which club, or brand of club, is best in their opinion at that spot.

Further, one should not try to make up for bad shots by picking up one's ball and moving it, whether or not one thinks they won't be caught.

Pat in NC said...

Actually, Mr. Nuance tried to avoid playing at all. He then felt if he was forced to play, he would take the sport least likely to hurt him. Football is too rough and besides a helmut would mess up his hair so he saw golf as a sport that elite individuals such as himself could play without risking too much.

Kat said...

I have to agree with you Nas... you don't go to the tournament with new clubs you've never used before, a caddy that has only been to the golf course a couple of times and hope like hell that the crowd knows which club you're supposed to use.

Pat...Mr. Nuance has read all the books and watched the game as a spectator. He thinks he knows how to play the game, but has been more of a Monday morning armchair quarterback then a real player. I think the real game would be a surprise to him. Particularly as he keeps insisting that the other teams in the league will give us a break and show us their play book.

No such luck. If he's counting on that to make his plays, he's going to come to the game without a plan. that's his story. I want a guy who has his own play book and isn't counting on "east coast defense" that everyone already knows all of the formations. I think he's counting on too many bootleg plays.