Saturday, July 19, 2014

What's It Like to.....

There are many things beyond my comprehension. Examples include the ever expanding universe, the hard stuff like SIDS, cancer or why so many Americans go hungry on a daily basis, but also how totally selfless some people are with their time and talents. Sports also provides a host of other examples, good, bad and otherwise.
Watching golf at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament at Edgewood in South Lake Tahoe, one need not look hard or far to see Heavenly Ski Resort. I can't imagine what a thrill it must be to make my way down the mountainside on skis without fear. The view is breathtaking, the adrenaline rush must be exhilarating. 

One of the celebrity players is Golden State Warriors' point guard Steph Curry. Seeing the All-Star with a 3-handicap play golf today, it's hard not to wonder how this man who is 6'3" and very trim is able to play against athletes who are much bigger and stronger. 
Fans line up along the 18th hole which is on the beach and toss the celebrity players footballs, hats, etc. One fan set up a basketball hoop and threw a ball to Curry. He nailed a sweet three pointer from the fairway ;-)
Each sport on the professional level offers its own tasks and challenges; it can also reveal the incredulous and awesome abilities, talents and skills of humanity. It's one thing to throw a fastball at 100 mph and another to be the batter trying to hit it. I would love to know what it must feel like to slam dunk or make a penalty kick. What's it like to break a tackle, find a hole, juke left and then right and run the ball 50-plus yards into the end zone. Tell me Edwin Moses, how were you able to run the 400 meter hurdles with such speed and strength? You made it look effortless. And on the eve of The Open Championship, as a golfer, I am dying to know What it's like to win the British Open? 

For one more day, the person to answer that question is the 2013 champion Phil Mickelson. But there's one more question, I need him to answer: What's it like to drink a $40,000 of wine? I want to know because that's what he did from the Claret Jug after his first Open victory.
“One of the things that I stressed is that we have to treat the claret jug with reverence and respect that it deserves and only put good stuff in it,”
When I first learned this story, I tucked it away in the file of British Open lore (John Daly has another one of my favorites). But the more I thought about it, the more it didn't sit well with me. The moral sensor in me went to the alarm mode. I debated blogging about it, but thought I should do so in the form of raising ethical questions. Is it ok? 

I decided I should read a little more about the story. And what I learned made me smile. Mickelson stressed the importance of reverence and shared how he found  joy in communion. The bottle, a 1990 Romanee-Conti was a gift and it was a surprise. Not a bad way to celebrate. 
One of my favorite lessons: The team is never just "you."
So what's it's like to win the British Open? I think Mickelson offers a very small insight into an answer to a question that is beyond my comprehension. Tomorrow, a new person will have his own answer. I hope his reveals beauty and truth as well; I don't doubt the journey to get there will too.

Photo Credits
The original Splash Brother

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