At the Olympic Club where I play golf, tables for food and beverage service have been placed on outdoor patios that were rarely used in the past. The weather in the western part of the city isn't entirely conducive to outdoor fare. I have recorded some of the coldest temperatures of the year in July on the Ocean course's back nine. However, reality and necessity came together and the club is now open for lunch on one patio and beverages and bars bites on another.
Last Sunday, my playing partner went out of her way to snag the most coveted table on the property. It sits on this small patio, above a staircase overlooking the 18th green on the Lake Course. We were later joined by four other friends, making space on this veranda. One friend in the group—who happens to be a very strong golfer—caught sight of the play action going on beneath our table. She interrupted the conversation at the table to tell us what a terrible putt this golfer just had. She added, "I hate playing my golf ball from where he is now." She had such a strong reaction that everyone in our group looked down to watch. (I took a mental note for future play). Unaware of the gallery above him, this golfer read the green perfectly and sank a 12 foot putt. We started cheering and clapping. He tipped his cap and gave us a wave, as if to acknowledge the crowd. Moments later, his playing partner had a similar putt. As fans at a golf tournament do, we tuned down the volume and let him shoot. He missed by but a few inches. A collective "awwww!" came from the gallery. He tapped it in and we clapped and cheered again.
I don't know that I will ever forget this moment.
Moments earlier, I had been thinking of how much I miss the grill room bar. In this space, club members come and go, stopping by to chat and check in. Meanwhile, I lost sight of the fact I was sitting in one of the most beautiful places in California. From this patio,I overlook palm and cypress trees, Lake Merced, and a championship course. Were it not for COVID, this table would not be there and without that table, good frriends and the game I golf, I wouldn't be there either.
Most poignantly however, that moment crystallized what I absolutely LOVE about live sports. As a sports fan, I live for those moments—unexpected and out of struggle—that emerge victorious. They are electric, Everyone at my table felt that joy. We cheered for this underdog, even if it were but one (or two) putt(s). We understand the challenge and that feeling of triumph, if but for a second of eternity.
I don't know if it was the sports moment or the story that sustained me, but as I continue to find one bright light each day, thanks to a creative use of space by the Olympic Club and friends who help me pay attention, I had one worth savoring...and sharing with you.
Perhaps for your reflection and prayer, consider what was a bright light for today?
What is a story that has sustained or nourished you this past week?
What do you love (and miss) most about live sports?