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Never Up, Never InNever Up, Never In
by Tom Norvell


    One of the most frustrating phrases ever heard on a golf course is, “Never up. Never in.” The statement refers to a putt that never gets to the hole, thus giving it no chance to go in the hole. When that happens, fellow golfers, always wanting to encourage their playing partners, have a variety of descriptive comments (some of which are better left on the green) that are directed toward the one leaving the putt short. Of course this only to help him realize he missed the putt, “just in case he was not aware of it.” You can usually hear the one missing the putt make a few comments of his own when this happens (most of those comments are better left on the green as well). Yogi Berra (that great Yankee philosopher) said it this way, “Ninety percent of putts that are short don’t go in.” The more standard line, however is really quite simple, “Never up. Never in.”

    As the year 2001 comes to an end I find myself making similar comments about goals I had for this year. Came up just a little short on losing that weight. Did not quite make it getting that book finished. Did not do quite sink that bad attitude. I was close to it, but never did quite find the right opportunity to talk to that guy about the Lord. Never up. Never in.

    Oh, I did accomplish some things, and I feel pretty good about those. But, those areas where I came up a little short are the ones that stay with me. Those “I almost made it” areas are hard to live with. The “If only I had...” memories haunt me.

Forget about last year’s mistakes.
    The good golfer forgets about the putts he missed during the last round. The really good golfer forgets about the missed putt by the time he hits the next tee shot. (At least that is what I am told.) Fortunately in golf, once the round is over and you go out for the next round, you get a new score card. The new year aslo provides us with an opportunity to get a new score card. If we choose it to be so, the calendar gives us permission to start all over. Forget about last year’s mistakes. Get over last months lousy efforts. Who cares what you did last January. Give it a rest. Make the corrections you need to make, and try again. Start over. Give it your best shot today. Yeah, I know a couple of weeks are past for making those resolutions, but now is the make or break time for the new start. We’re falling back into those same ol’ patterns. We’re getting stuck in that same ol’ rut. So let’s seize this moment, get that putt to the hole, and getting going in the right directoin.

    Paul put it like this, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV)

    Well, the past year’s round is over. I missed a few that I should have made. Got “lucky” (I know Christians don’t get lucky they stay blessed!) on a hole or two. Made a few pars. Had a chance for a birdie or two. And on that one hole...man, I nailed it! That one shot will bring me back the next time.

    You do the same. Keep playing. Don’t get stuck reliving last year’s missed putts. It’s now well into 2002. Get a new score card and enjoy another round. Go after it. Don’t leave the effort, the goals, and the dream short just because the sledding has gotten a little tough in the new year!

      © 2002, Tom Norvell. Used by permission. A Norvell Note is a weekly email message from Tom Norvell. Check it out!

      Title: "Never Up, Never In"
      Author: Tom Norvell
      Publication Date: January 10, 2002


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