The Masters Weekend 2011

It’s starting to feel strange to look back a few days and say, “Last weekend was really good.” And before you know it, it’s Tuesday or Wednesday, the last weekend long gone and another bearing down on you like tax day.

I’ve noticed that a facebook post, or note or wall graffiti or whatever, gets read, commented on or laughed at, then promptly buried in the dust bin – piled high and pushed down the list with other notable, sometimes poignant meanderings of all the “friends.”

Then, it’s soooooo over.

OK . . . so I’d better hurry and write about last weekend, because, well . . . you know.

I was with some friends in north Dallas playing at the inaugural event of their newly launched charity, Treasures of Hope. The goal of the work is to walk alongside and help carry some of the burden with single moms in the area. Ken and April Brown have prayed and worked a long time to see this come about.

Dr. John Trent, author of the tremendously successful book, “The Blessing” was the speaker. The whole evening would have been worth the effort just to hear him for 25 minutes.

Church on Sunday morning at Chapelwood went great. My friend, Sarah Fuselier, sang and lead worship with me and it’s always tremendous when she’s there. Singing with her is like flying an airplane in formation with your wing tips a few feet apart, making most every move in sync without a lot of over thinking. It’s not only musically satisfying and fun, it takes me to a place where I can worship.

And then, I settled down to watch The Masters golf tournament on TV. I know it’s a good ol’ boy’s club full of old rich guys in odd green jackets with a logo that needs some serious updating, but hey, it’s tradition and something about it tugs at me.

I don’t really have a favorite golfer right now, although sometimes, I find myself pulling for Phil Mickelson (“Lefty”). The way he’s handled the demands and pressures of his wife’s serious illness, his life and work that plays out in the public eye, and other pressures we know nothing of make me want him to do well.

And on the lighter side, his father, like mine, stood across from him when he was a boy, held the golf club in his hands and, with young Phil facing him, mirroring him, taught him to play by saying, “Do what I do.”

Like Phil (well, as much like Phil as I’ll ever be!) I learned to swing a golf club and a baseball bat from the left as a result of mirroring my dad. Whenever I play(ed) tennis and racquetball, my backhand was always more deadly than the forehand.

But, Phil didn’t do so well in this year’s Masters.

But I watched anyway, fading in and out of the Sunday afternoon state of napping, fascinated by the young 21 year old Rory Macilroy. He lead the field after three of the four rounds by four strokes, held his ground until the tenth hole and then proceeded to watch the wheels come off. Heck, they didn’t just come off – they rolled into the woods then into the creek. By the time round four came to an end, he’d shot an 80 and finished well down the leader board.

He handled himself well, though, and was gracious in, what had to be, a humbling, if not humiliating, defeat. He spoke of it being a character-building experience and that he would be back. Most experts agree . . . he’ll be back.

I overheard a comment from someone this morning. “How could somebody play so well then go that bad all of a sudden?”

Obviously, they never played this game.

I was fascinated by another phenomenon at the Masters this year. Huge crowds (as usual) not only followed Tiger Woods, they cheered for him with enthusiasm. They wanted him to win.

If you’ve been on a deserted island, or on the mission field (if so, Blessings to you!) you might simply be unaware of the scandalous revelations about Mr. Woods’ private life. Frankly, there are a lot of “news” stories I wish I’d never seen or heard.

But those of us slap dead in the middle of pop culture couldn’t miss these seedy stories.

I don’t know Mr. Woods but I just think it’s interesting how people want him to come back and claim the top spot on Golf’s Best of the Best list.

I just really wanted him to come out of this a better guy. And still do.

I know television can make anything look like anything the way most news shows can, practically, make anyone say anything.

I’m no lip reader and I sure wouldn’t want a camera zooming in on every word that proceeds from this still-under-construction heart and the words that sometimes creep out of my pie hole. But The Tiger can really let ‘em fly.

Growing up in the South, I guess I just want everybody to be nice.

And it would be nice to see a young, successful, rich, tremendously talented athlete saddled with more public pressure than most of us will ever experience, learn from his trials, turn the page and grow the heck up. It would be an inspiration and an answered prayer. I know I’ve breathed a few for him. A lot of us have.

But with the caveat of only having access to TV sound bites and carefully selected video footage, I don’t see much change. It’s none of my business but it’s just sad. I really prayed this man would be so shaken by his great losses in his personal life that he would wake up and just present a little better example for the millions of kids that watch his every move.

Great loss has a way of getting your attention but only if you’re paying a little attention in the first place.

As for the thousands on the golf course cheering him on, I guess (again, this might be the southern thing) I just wanted him to say “thank you” on camera for the support and for all the well-wishes, etc, etc. I wanted him to be grateful.

But you can only express gratitude if you’re grateful and you can only show humility if you’re humble.

I might be naïve but I don’t think gratitude or humility would hurt anyone’s game. And even if it did, it’s a higher and more noble pursuit when all is said and done.

Gratitude and Humility – along with a whole truck-load of other goodies – are by products of knowing God. They can come as a result of knowing your need for forgiveness, your need for a Savior, your need for Blood to wash away the stain. And without Him, they can be invisible and often, non-existent.

It’s almost Easter. There’s still time. All things are possible.