00:21 13 March 2015 New Orleans, Louisiana NABC by GS Jade Barrett Csbnews.org correspondent
«Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength» – Charles Spurgeon
The tension many newer members of the bridge community experience when first entering the competitive arena is not unknown to the most accomplished of players. Performance anxiety exists at all levels, affecting young and old athletes without regard to ability or table time. You are just more likely to witness it among the newest participants of the tournament environment.
Jack Nicklaus said «Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety» and I personally have found both comfort and inspiration in those words. Every match has its own stresses, its individual challenges that make the strongest hearts skip a beat. Matches you expect to win become steadily in doubt, others are so tough to begin with that your vigilance may never waver without risk of failure. To feel anxiety is to be expected, to succumb to its influence will most likely lead to defeat.
The distraction created by anxiety is just another foe one must conquer in order to celebrate success in any endeavor – and for myself this internal opponent is all too familiar. The only way to overcome him is to simply work harder. So I follow the sage advice of Mr Nicklaus for the most part, and focus with as much energy as I own.
It is not hard for me to fail to pay attention to another of the Golden Bear’s famous quotes: «The game is meant to be fun».
And that is why he is a great golfer, but not a bridge player.