THE BLOG

Do You Cry Wolf in Sports?

07/25/2012 05:06 pm ET | Updated Sep 24, 2012

I'm at the golf course with my brother and dad on Saturday; the scene goes a little something like this slice, slice, slice, dribble, slice, slice, slice, whif.

What the hell.

I had just played by myself on Wednesday and I had hit the fairways pretty well, chipped like I was going to play at the Evian Masters, and putted like I was trying to win the U.S Open. Then Saturday comes around and I'm choking.

Like everyone my initial instinct is to blame it on anything else, the nonexistent wind (cuz it was gorgeous out), the man who is screaming two holes behind us (which was actually super annoying), the club. Then I have to take a moment close my eyes and mutter to myself: it's the Indian, not the arrow.

That phrase sometimes makes my blood boil, but only because it's the awful truth.

My friend Steph is actually the first person who has ever said that to me. I vividly recall being at a 6 a.m. practice and I had forgotten my stick. Instead of running back to the room, my roommate had said to use her extra one. I played lights out at this practice, and at the end I had said "Wow, maybe I need a new stick!" As she is taking off her shin guards, Steph says "Nah Liz, it's the Indian, not the arrow," and casually finishes stuffing her equipment back into her bag.

"OK, Socrates," was my natural response, she gave me a smirk and we all walked over to breakfast (cuz it was 8 in the morning just to remind you all). But what she had said is actually something that has stuck with me since that day. It is a natural first instinct to blame any problem (athletics or not) on an outside force.

Who wants to actually own up to the fact that they straight up hit that tree?

The most common outside force that people blame their game on is equipment. "Oh my turfs are getting old," "my driver is out of date," or "that ball is just too flat."

Flat or pumped... my money is on that Hope Solo is going to stop almost any ball coming her way.

There is a point where equipment does make a difference in an athlete's game, I agree. But people who begin to blame all of their athletic mistakes on equipment are just crying wolf. I know you've met people who do this.

But there was a point this weekend when I was watching the British Open, and the phrase... it's the indian, not the arrow really rang true. (If you're a golf fan you know exactly what I'm talking about... ) Adam Scott comes into Sunday (the final day of the tournament) with a four stroke lead. That isn't an absolutely huge lead... but it was a nice handle.

He gets to hole 15 and he is pretty much putting and playing well, lights out. He was hitting fairways, tapping in putts, and looked as controlled as ever. Then he bogeys 15. OK, no big deal he can definitely afford the stroke loss... then he continues to bogey 16, 17 and finally 18.

Ernie Els is declared the champion.

I like both guys... I'm not whipping up a batch of haterade over either of them (although I'd love to see Dustin Johnson win a major... just sayin). But after feeling sorry for Scott and happy for Els the phrase came to mind.

Here is a professional golfer, he has the best clubs you can carry in your bag, he has a winning caddy on his arm, and a very (if I do say so myself) stylish golf wardrobe. For Scott it wasn't his Titleist arrows.

Competitive athletics is such an interesting beast. You can be the most talented player, but if you have a serious case of the yips settle in at the wrong time, you could play well... like an amateur. Mental focus is (to me) the biggest chunk of being successful at athletics.

So if you're one of those people (that I am sometimes)... you know you buy the $50 box of golf balls because you think it will make you stripe it like Bubba, or you want to buy the $150 track shoes so you can run like Usain Bolt, close your eyes and think about it.

It's the Indian, not the arrow.