Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Persevere Mates, Persevere: The Message of Father Miscamble and Jason Day

There introductory US History course I took my freshman year at Notre Dame was memorable for strange, important and poignant reasons. 

Strange: For one it was taught inside the Center for Social Concerns, a building that was once used for film and television at Notre Dame. This former studio space served as the lecture hall for my professor, Father Wilson Miscamble, CSC. He held a PhD in American history and wrote extensively about American foreign policy.  Although it may have seemed strange at the time, I grew to appreciate his lens on my country's history; one that admittedly might have been more (or less) objective. How's that? Father Miscamble hails from Queensland, Australia.

Important: I met one of my closest friends from Notre Dame in this class. Mark was also my teammate on crew and we both taught in the Alliance for Catholic Education. Mark went on to study Government and I earned my degree in American Studies. Our friendship began in our small group sharing sessions. Great courses elicit ideas and friendship.

Poignant: Father Miscamble began every class with prayer; I believe this is the only course that carried this Catholic school tradition into my college classroom. Even his lectures had a prayerful or spirit-filled aura to them. And watching the story of Jason Day an Aussie on the PGA tour reminded me of that.

One of the striking images from those class lectures was Father Bill urging my classmates and I do one thing: "Persevere mates, Persevere!!" I can still see it now. Not only did he elicit his enthusiastic rally cry with total sincerity, he did so while lifting one of his unusually long arms. This arm flapped at a 90 degree angle to his body. By God, (or at least Job) that arm coupled with his Australian accent made me want to persevere. I still do.

This virtue is the theme of  "Never Say Die" a sobering yet powerful bio-pic about Jason Day As written on YouTube:
Jason Day’s journey to the top of the golf world is unlike anyone else’s. From humble beginnings in Australia, Jason overcame adversity to find his path through hard work and dedication. Through exclusive, behind-the-scenes access Jason’s story is shared with the world for the first time here.
In the  his opening remarks Day says "it's amazing—the journey that you take in life." To know Jason Day is know much more than the story of a 27 year old man who became the number one golfer in the world in 2015. It is to know what happens to a person whose journey has been filled with tragedy and suffering takes risks and perseveres.

It's strange, it's important and it's poignant. I hope you will watch it here and when you do here are some questions worth considering:
  • What opportunities in your life have been born from unfortunate circumstances or even tragedies and have changed your life for the better?
  • Have you ever gotten addicted to the process of getting better at something? 
  • Do you think that some people get many lifelines? Do you think others (like Day) get one?
  • Who is an athlete you have seen that you would describe as "genuinely hungry?"
  • What do you take pride in (in your life)?
  • What are the visuals you play in your head to help you succeed?
  • Who works in a way that you want to emulate. What do they do? How can they help you?
  • Why should we "never say die?"

Photo Credits
Father Bill

Day with Col

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