Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Masters

It has been a LONG time since I posted. Life has been more than a little complicated. So, we will ignore all that.

I really wanted to post today as I have been busy for several days reading project outlines, grading tests, and just everything that is involved with 3rd quarter grades due at 8AM Tuesday. While I sit with papers and grade books and laptop, the TV has been dedicated to The Masters. 

The number of people who have said, and the number of times they have said it,  that they cannot understand why anyone would want to watch a golf tournament on TV, is a very LARGE number. As we have laughed and snorted and AAAHHHHed through these last three afternoons and evenings, I have been reminded many times of why I CAN watch golf on TV and even why I LOVE watching the Masters.

For just sheer auditory delight, there is nothing better than waiting to see what David Feherty will say. Having the smoothness of the golf swing by Spanish golfer Miguel Angel described as "greased by pure virgin olive oil" makes ones both chuckle and snort. 

The commentators take the whole event so seriously. There are no fans at Augusta- there are "patrons". They speak softly, and with great "gravitas". Bad shots will provoke comments like "oh, dear".

There is the shallow fun that mimics watching Miss America years ago, or a "Red Carpet" show now, just to see what is worn, and critique the outfits. Some of the PGA golfers really must be color-blind and style impaired- some of the colors and combinations are fascinating- have you ever seen a picture of Rickie Fowler?

There is the delight, for those who love golf, of seeing the best, some at their best, and some definitely NOT so, on what is, in the opinion of many, the most famous and most storied golf course in America. There is also the sheer beauty of this gorgeous course.

For me, there is the most intense coverage of the men who play this game of any tournament of the year. There are the numerous interviews with greats like Nicklaus and Palmer. There are also interviews with men well known for other careers, who love this game; today I saw Clint Eastwood and Samuel L Jackson talk about what golf, and the Masters, means to them.

In addition, there are the post-round interviews, which illuminate humility, good humor, arrogance, frustration, and much insight into a player's mind.

Ultimately, for me it is the chance to watch this game that I love and simultaneously learn a lot about the men who play it. Why do I love golf?

Of all sports, this one tests a person's character. The rules of the game demand that there are no referees calling fouls, but rather that the player assign penalties to him/her self. It is a game that is played with manners and respect. It is a game with real and strict expectations of how a player conducts himself.

As the intense scrutiny of the coverage of The Masters shows us every exciting or depressing shot, it also shows us how these players react to their shots. It shows us a person's character. 

We heard today a commentator note that on a certain hole Tiger Woods did NOT throw or kick his club after a tee shot. Woods has revealed himself this weekend, for any who did not already know or suspect, to be foul tempered and unable to control his emotions when things do not go his way. 

We also have seen numerous other players who comport themselves with gracious demeanors, no matter how the ball lies. I love watching a player in a difficult situation make an amazing shot because he maintains his cool.

I especially love sharing in the joy of a ball dropping into the hole from a long distance or a terrible lie. I love that there are 18 chances to start over. I love watching players grin, and share their elation at an impossible shot made.

There is no better opportunity for "people watching" and learning about how different people deal with adversity and success than watching golf. I learn something about how to conduct myself, how to approach difficulties and how to be gracious in triumph, everytime I watch a golf tournament. And, the greatest tournament of all, for everything I love about golf, is The Masters.

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