Webster’s defines perfection as:
- the state or condition of being perfect
- the act of making something perfect or better: the act of perfecting something
- something that cannot be improved: something that is perfect
Based on this definition; perfection is an absolute limit, a well-defined construct not subject to interpretation or improvement. Can a painter paint the perfect painting, an author write the perfect book, a singer sing the perfect song, a golfer shoot the perfect round, a person live a perfect life. Could you be perfect in a moment, a chapter or paragraph in a book, a verse in a song, a brush stroke on a painting, a single putt on the course, a single moment in time.
I started this blog post intending to call it “Thoughts on Perfection” and sharing a story of the pursuit of perfection from Olympic rowing duo Hamish Bond & Eric Murray. But like in our just published book The Power of Setbacks highlighting how unexpected setbacks can become a launch pad for unexpected success and happiness, this post took a rapid redirection when Dennis and I started talking about bronze medal winner Matt Kuchar.
I know many of you are not golf fans and may not have ever heard of Matt Kuchar or “Kuch” as he is known to his friends and fans. He has won seven times on the PGA Tour, with these wins spanning over 12 years. He is renowned as one of the most consistent players on the tour, having earned over $30 million in prize money and recorded over 80 top-10 finishes. Kuchar was the PGA Tour’s leading money winner in 2010 and is currently ranked #15 in the world.
Golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in over a hundred years and we were moved by Matt Kuchar and his Bronze medal performance, not for the great final round play, not for perfection on the course, but the pure pride and honor he felt for having the opportunity to be an Olympian, the opportunity to stand on the podium and represent his country, the opportunity represent the game of golf not just for himself or his country but for future Olympians watching golf for perhaps the first time. When others chose not to participate in the games, Kuch displayed pure emotion, joy, pride, and at times a loss of words that when taken together was, well pure perfection!
A few years ago during the Heritage Classic in Hilton Head Island, my husband Dennis was attending the tournament with some friends enjoying a golf week at our beach home there on the Island. Dennis and his buddies spent some time on the first tee on Thursday. Dennis loves that moment, there are no live TV audiences, no shots have been hit and the players are filled with high expectations and hopes for the week, everybody is tied for the lead in that moment and the air is filled with what can be.
Perfection in the Moment
While most players take the tee, shake the hands with their playing partners, tip their cap when they announced, smile and begin their rounds. Kuch shook hands and introduced himself to people on the tee area, the volunteers and officials by saying… “Hi, I’m Matt.” The guys talked about that small gesture, that brief moment when one of the true champions of the game, paused and introduced himself to everybody. There was not a single sole around that tee box who did not know who Matt was, that was not the point, the point was they had never personally met him, and Kuch took the time to be perfect in that moment.
He was no longer Matt to those people he was “Kuch”, and I guarantee you when Kuch raised that bronze medal in Rio, when he was over flowing with pride, I am sure everyone that was present on that tee box, reflect to that first tee encounter and probably realized…. that’s just Matt, being perfect in the moment.
While Matt Kuchar wore the bronze around his neck, he wore gold in the hearts of us all!