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Meeting a Hero

This blog post is a little bit different than anything I”ve written before. As always, I hope that you find a little bit of inspiration through it. I certainly found inspiration in writing it.

I was able to attend the first round of the Byron Nelson golf tournament in Irving, Texas. For those of you who don”t know me well, I”m an avid sports fan all the way through. If it”s classified as a sport, chances are I”ve been sucked in to watching it on TV. I love the game of golf; I would play every day if I could. I am fascinated with the professional game and the ease at which they play. But if you have ever played the game and aren”t just some sort of natural, you know just how difficult and frustrating it can be to get that little white ball to go where you want it to go. It is amazing for me to watch a professional get up there and make it look so effortless. I enjoy it on TV; I enjoyed immensely more seeing it in person this week at the Byron Nelson tournament in Dallas, TX.

As frustrating as it is for me to play and never do anything right, I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to be the best in the world and then lose all ability to do what they once did at a level they once did it. Even the most casual of observers knows of the recent struggles that Tiger Woods has endured. He holds the record for most consecutive weeks as the #1 golfer in the world at 281 and has been #1 a total 623 weeks. Those are mind boggling numbers; and yet if you watched him now, you would see just an average looking golfer who at times makes above average shots.

But I don”t want to spend my time writing about Tiger; you can find plenty of that on any site that covers golf. I want to talk about the man who was briefly #1 in the world before Tiger took it and ran with it. He was on the cover of magazines and was touted as the player that would give Tiger competition throughout his career. In July of 2001, he accomplished what every golfer dreams of when he won the British Open to win his first of what was believed to be many major championships. An unfortunate series of events would occur; and since that victory, David has only won one more tournament. I have followed his career since he burst onto the golf scene. I have held out hope that my favorite golfer would somehow find a fraction of the greatness he once had, and he has given glimpses every now and again the last 5 years.

On Thursday of this week I found myself at a PGA tour event that he was playing in. I was able to follow a man who”s endurance in the face of adversity I have come to admire more and more in each golf tournament he plays in. He may not be among the top golfers in the world, and he may not be able to play the same way that helped him win all of those tournaments years ago, but he still has the drive and he still gives all he has in each tournament he plays in.

I watched in awe as he played the game that I love to play. I was impressed with the way he can still get that little white ball to go where he wants it to. I was humbled when he noticed that I was there to cheer him on and had his caddy give me a signed golf ball. If you”re not an avid golf fan, you might not know the name David Duval; but we could all learn something about endurance from him. I don”t know him personally, but it takes character to seemingly lose the ability that you worked so hard to establish and still go out and give everything you have to it. Whatever you are going through, endure it; for what you gain from the endurance is worth any trial that you go through.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12 NASB)

10 Responses to “Meeting a Hero”

  1. Well said Philip. I don’t follow golf (cycling and baseball) but know of names in the golf world. I hear David’s name but never with the prominence it once was. Golf is a funny game. You can be on top of the world and the next at the bottom. Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, even Tiger at the top of their game and then it is gone. Great lesson though have you given.

    • philip says:

      Thanks Bill for sharing your thoughts. Golf is certainly a funny game and I wish I could find a way to play it just a little bit like all those guys you mentioned.

  2. floyd says:

    I remember when he burst on the scene and have followed vaguely via sports talk show and TV his career. I’ve become more impressed with the people in this life that demonstrate passion and perseverance.

    I coach high school lacrosse and over the years I’ve come to a different understanding and meaning of the term “winner.” I tell the kids a victory can be measured by a number… but a winner is measured across a lifetime and a number can’t define a true winner.

    Nice call Philip.

    • philip says:

      It really did something in me Saturday when I saw his perserverence. I have watched him throughout the years and there’s something to be said about witnessing it in person that brings a new appreciation that cannot be gained by watching it on television. There is nothing that we can lose that can give us any excuse to give up. Thanks for your thoughts Floyd!

  3. Not much of a golf fan but I can appreciate the flavor of your post. I felt the same way towards Gary Cater, a former catcher for the NY Mets. Gary was a fellow Christian who lost his battle with brain cancer earlier this year, he was one of my favorite players of a sport that I love. He was a character guy and a marvelous ballplayer…the sport misses players like that.

    Thanks for the great read today!

    • philip says:

      I think we can all point to someone that we look up to, that has these qualities. Thanks for your thoughts, I am a little too young to remember those mets teams, but I did read up on Gary at the time of his passing. Thanks Jay!

  4. Oh yeah, I’m a big sports guy. Enough lying… Seriously, so many things jumped out at me. The thousands of hours of practice that go into those ‘effortless’ shots but then how your personal life and emotional state effects all those other motions too. Great point about endurance. It’s funny because I didn’t get to read yours yesterday and I wrote about endurance. Nice how that works out. 🙂 Thanks Philip.

    • philip says:

      Definitely all very true and valid points. Even those with the God given ability still have to put the time and effort into the effortless. I really liked your thoughts on endurance. Thank you!

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