Monday, July 31, 2017

Yes, Matt Kuchar lost at The Open, but WE won...

Every author knows there are articles and posts we could never write, no matter how badly we want to pen them. Every teacher knows there are students he or she can't reach. All coaches are aware that there are athletes we can't help. As much as I would like...wish...hope and pray that certain stories are mine for the telling, they are given to the one who can...who should tell them. Time and time again, I wish things were different. Reading the Daily Mail article, "Yes, Matt Kuchar lost at The Open, but he won something far more preciousreminded me of this beautiful and humbling truth.
As I have written before in"My Love Language: Reading More Sports and Spirituality," receiving and reading a good article—like a good homily on Sunday—can sustain me spiritually for days at a time. I hope my friends, colleagues, students, and athletes—past and present—know how much this simple act of giving means to me. Whether or not the material is in print or via e-mail, on paper or through a link, the gesture never gets tiresome or tedious. I want you to know an e-mail like "you've probably already seen this, but thought you might appreciate the article y" is received as a gift, a thoughtful gift. So it should go without saying that a "thank you" is in order. Mateo, please know of my gratitude for reading my writing, making it better and sharing great information. Gracias! 

I love everything about this article by Oliver Holt—the thesis, the examples, and of course the subject: golf and Kooch. I wish I had written it, or been let in on the process. Instead, I'll make edits and because this is my blog, I get to do so. I would add but two strokes to this masterpiece.

Point one. On Sunday at the 2017 Masters Kooch made the best shot of the tourney. With his 7-iron he hit 170 yards for a hole in one. What a shot of adrenaline for the gallery—he hugged and high fived most people standing close to him on the tee box on this 16th hole. Golf isn't the friendliest or best in spectator sports, but when you witness a gem like Kooch's "eagle," it's hard not to feel pure elation. Kooch, being Kooch smiled, removed his cap, made eye contact with fans as he walked toward the pin and best of all, gave the ball to a young fan. The gesture was so joy-filled, it's worth mentioning again.
Point two. The article suggests that Matt Kuchar gained something more precious than a win. I disagree. I don't know at what point in his career this became apparent, but Kuchar won long ago. The person he already is, made the final round possible—one characterized by great sportsmanship, the highest road one can take, class and excellent golf. Yes, Matt Kuchar lost but we won. Sports fans received an affirmation that there are athletes out there who still choose to do it right....that's simply their modus operandum. Kooch is exemplary, a fan favorite for a reason yes...but an ambassador for the game, the United States and sportsmanship too. 

Those of us who love golf, who love sports, who long for great sportsmanship and raising the level of the game, Jordan Spieth won—and that was awesome in its own right—but we did too. Thanks to both men for that gift.

Photo Credits
Kuchar and Spieth

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