Over five years ago, I started etching my role at this sports broadcasting gig as the eyes and ears to all things related to golf. I worked directly with our company’s on-air talent to create most of the highlights and content we used for this particular job. This is where I fell in love with Louis Oosthuizen. I tried to tell the golf talent at our company that we needed to do a swing breakdown of Louis. It was to no avail. Louis Oosthuizen isn’t exactly Mr. Marketable. Last year I had enough… Louis needed his due. I took to Twitter and made a point to call attention to Louis, the best professional golfer on Tour. Mostly tweeting directly at Golf Channel for indirect reasons, I cheered on Louis and encouraged him to triumph almost immediately. As if it were meant to be, Louis placed third in last year’s US Open and has seemingly been in the top 25 of almost every tournament he’s played in this ‘20 - ‘21 season. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only did Louis’ great year give my Twitter rants credence and credibility, but more and more fans were rightfully jumping on the Louis bandwagon; A more than well deserved and earned acknowledgement to a guy who clearly has the best swing in golf since Fred Couples.
How does Louis’ rise to golf superstardom relate to me? Louis Oosthuizen has never been a household name. Even worse, up until a year ago, Louis Oostuizen wasn’t even well known, or known at all, in the golfing world. Now, everyone who knows what they’re talking about will tell you that this guy has the best swing on Tour. I’ve been preaching that for over five years!!
Just like Louis, I too have had my fair share of trials and tribulations. Just shy of a year ago, I got my first book published. Getting a book published is like winning the British Open in 2010. It means a lot to you, but it doesn’t really mean you’ve made it. Just like Louis, I have and have had quite a road in front of me to travel and to continue to travel.
I guess it should have been more predictable. I should have seen it coming with a book titled Nobody Believes Crazy. I could’ve done a better job predicting the doubt. I don’t imagine anyone out there to truly believe my true story and my life’s work. There is just so much substance that nobody can truly attest to. In the end, it is much easier being a cynic than a believer. Most of my immediate family has yet to read the book. The ones that have read my full length story, don't believe the majority of the content.
The worst part about not being able to prove up to 80% of the stories I wrote about is that my credibility becomes fleeting, at best, for just about anything I talk about moving forward. What I mean by this is that everybody thinks I’m full of shit; and not just the stories in the book, but the stories I tell in everyday life. Five years ago, I was telling everybody that Louis Oosthuizen was going to win the Masters. Nobody even knew who he was. He was a no name. Now everybody would tell you that I got that kind of information from experts at the Golf Channel! It really is funny how things work.
I have to learn to deal with many remarks and reactions to the stories I tell. For instance, recently my own sister interrupted one of my stories I was telling my cousins just to say that my story was, in fact, ‘BASED on a true story’. She emphasized the word ‘based’ in order to share her clear distaste for my personal recollection of just about anything I shared or told, these days. Clearly, my book has given her justification to discredit just about anything I say. Therefore, my ‘actual’ life story can fit more appropriately with her own narrative of my life. -- A narrative that she now feels comfortable sharing with others because the stories in my book have gone unproven and therefore, cannot be true. I still tend to find a silver lining.
I read on a friend’s Instagram page a quotation that stuck with me. ‘They’ will wait until it’s ‘cool’ to support you. Just like everyone seems to do with Louis Oosthuizen these days, people tend to support you once you are well supported; They treat you like you’re a stock commodity. Until you are considered ‘cool’ you tend to earn your stripes in struggle and grow thick skin. I listen to a song on my playlist and there is a line in one of these songs that says something like, ‘I don’t have to disprove myself’. I like hearing that because it makes me feel encouraged. And helps me find solace in a different way of looking at things; If you don’t like or agree with my stories, it is not I who has to prove them right, it is, in fact, you who has to go about disproving them -- I, in turn, get the benefit of the doubt.
Last but not least, I will leave you with this; People who are considered crazy, those dealing with bipolar disorder or other stigmatized mental illnesses, are too often marginalized from their opinions. These people, myself included, deserve to have their side of the story heard and, like I spoke of in the last paragraph, deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt. Too often people will draw the forgone conclusion that a person who is considered crazy can’t possibly be telling the truth. And, in my experience, even with a family full of haters and non-believers, I will tell you that doctors -- especially ones that deal with mental illnesses on a daily basis -- are actually the worst offenders. They see patient after patient and liar upon liar. Sadly, but ultimately, they begin to label and stigmatize rather than address one lie at a time because it’s just that much easier. With that said, I am grateful for a doctor in the mental illness sector that saved my life while I was admitted to two different psych wards because he took my story as it unfolded in front of him, and believed my word over my parents’.