Friday, October 1, 2010

Imported American Leisure

Shocking as this may sound, I dare say the average American grew up spending a lot more time than the average Indian on leisurely Western pursuits that can be enjoyed while consuming frosty beverages.

During the past couple weeks, I've been on what was basically the same work outing twice; starting with simulator golf and ending with bowling. I grew up playing golf and like to still think I'm a bogey golfer, which is to say my score typically goes something like "double-double-par-par-par-bogey-birdie-triple-bogey" on nine holes. And I'm a decent bowler, which is to say that I understand how it's scored and bowl over 100. However, you tend to forget that those are basically Western activities that are just now making their way to places like India for mass consumption.

As a result, with golf in particular, these outings were the first time that many of my colleagues had ever picked up a club. If you ever think it's outrageous that someone from a foreign country doesn't understand a sport, I highly recommend either, (1) explaining the rules of that sport to a person that is a blank slate or (2) actually trying to get that person to play that sport. The net result, especially with number one, is the exact reason Americans don't like cricket and also why sports like baseball and American football are limited to America (I know, baseball is played other places, but you get what I'm saying). I think of this often while on the treadmill if I happen to catch a baseball game. Baseball, if you haven't grown up with it, makes no sense. Seriously. Try and explain what's going on to someone who's never seen it before. And I'm not talking about your wife or girlfriend or someone that chooses not to watch it. Try and explain it to someone who's had absolutely zero exposure to the game. If you actually listen to yourself explain it, you'll wonder why it's even remotely interesting to so many people.

Golf, falls into the second category as the fundamental rules are fairly straight forward but actually striking the ball is not. I just kind of take for granted that I can walk up to a golf ball, properly address it, and take a swing that, while still severely flawed, generally makes the ball do what it's supposed to do. On the other hand, if you're over the age of 25, have never picked up a club or even watched it on television, receive three minutes of basic instruction, you're going to struggle to make the ball go more than twenty or thirty yards (at when hitting into the screen of the simulator).

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day, other than my triumphant victory against the inexperienced competition, was seeing how quickly people were able to improve. I was also impressed with their patience. Something tells me that the average American wouldn't have the patience to take a 21 on the first hole and a 19 on the second. That being said, it does help that in the controlled world of simulator golf, you don't have a foursome hitting into you.

No comments:

Post a Comment