There are few more celebrated events in sports than The Masters. The icon of the outline of the US with the flag in Augusta, defines it well.
The conclusion, like all the ones before it, came this Sunday. It is one of those treasured events embedded in our American fabric. Golf also has a special place in my family, because we learned to play at a young age and there are many memories on the golf course in Tennessee and on vacations on Hilton Head Island with my brother and father.
But the thing that always gets me in the moment leading up to the 18th green of the Masters is not always the outcome and who wins the jacket. But the moments before the final putts. The moment before the winning moment.
The pressure has built. The tension is visible on the men’s faces and the sacredness of the pursuit of the prize. As the eyeballs of millions rest on the shoulders of these men who have spent their career dreaming and wishing for this moment.
We hang in their suspense.
One thing that always intrigues me about sports is that that for most of us, we ususally are watching other people have those moments. We are part of them, and rooting with them, but it is truly their moment that we are part of. We are the more passive participants, and they are the ones in the arena. It should not be hard to see in the emotion of the faces with the fans... the one who has the most that has been given to this cause.. they are the ones.
Those moments stay with you... you remember where you were. The experience of watching it all unfold. They are burned in your memory for years to come.
In some ways we share that moment as shown above. And that is what brings such emotion on our part, but as you can see... it is the one with it all on the line, who has the personal sacrifice, the risk, the hours logged in dedication and practice to the game that owns the moment. Their emotion in some ways becomes ours.
As I celebrate, I always wonder in that moment of theirs… were you and I met to have that too?
I mean, its only a few that will ever wear the green jacket. And that is what makes it such a special event. But what does it mean to live our lives to get there too? To put so many hours in practice and in the grind that we have everything firing and our life being bled for all to see? Am I willing to risk and be so disciplined to get there? Or would I rather just be content watching others find it?
What you never see at the Masters, is how many guys scrapped and sacrificed to get the money together to go on tour. How many nights on the phone with their wives in a crappy hotel room to hear stories about their young daughter or son. How many times did they think of giving up, only to try one more time?
The Masters to me has some connection that it has something to do with giving your everything, risking it all, and putting all those years on the line and rising to that moment.
So when it comes to you and I... are we willing to do this as well?
I wonder if we might participate in those type of moments. That after all those years of sacrifice and suffering, those dreams we had as a child, we might find ourselves there in the Master’s moment. I believe deep down, we were not meant to just watch someone else, but experience that as well. I believe we are meant to share and revel in others, and that should inspire us, to risk and step out to experience that too.
And that is why I am always in that pause of seeing their face and the approach to the green as the moment before the moment comes, there is a great joy and excitement for them, and yet a deep longing in me that comes back.
I am longing to experience that myself. Not necessarily winning a green jacket, but where my commitment and sacrifice to what I have yearned for and pursued, and given my life for, meets that connection that I am finding myself in that moment to give it all. The crowd to roar, the emotion to be poured out, and to know somehow I showed up and it was enough.
Whatever thrill, whatever joy that both those men and our own hearts leaped to on Sunday… well it is Monday morning. And time to hit the books, or get through the mounds of emails, or pick up that club again in the silence of the morning hours. There are no crowds, no promises, but for some… there is that dream in us, that just maybe if I gave my life like that, I might be there one day.
In some ways… they are the ones that give us hope. The ones who are out there sacrificing and dreaming proving that if they work hard, and give their all… they just might be in that moment one day. They beget the next generation of Masters hopefuls, and hopefully for the rest, that hope we are to experience that too.
For some, the Masters might be merely entertainment… a chance to escape and live through another. But for me, it is connecting back into that longing and desire. I revel in their moment, cherish it and partake in that joy for them, and am reminded that I too, still have a green jacket I am pursing.
May we continue to celebrate and honor others, and also spend our lives in a worthy cause, looking for that moment for our friends, and that we might find ourselves there too.
I can’t help but think if we were to live true to who we are, and to our passions, and the mission in our hearts, and follow the suffering and sacrifice that it requires… there is in some form a great cloud of witnesses to cheer us on and claim that green jacket waiting on us too.
As we step back into Monday... what is the green jacket you are pursuing? It's worth a moment of reflection. And if you don't have one... maybe a time to dream a little.