Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Masters

This week there was this big golf tournament, The Masters. I have learned to love golf over the years but that was not always the case and one of the strangest tournament in my way of thinkng was this one. First off, they play for this hideous green jacket. I mean, that is just crazy, playing for a jacket, and a fairly ugly one at that. Another strike against golf was the lack of teams. I like team sports and the whole individualist aspect of the sport bothered me. It seemed slow paced and devoid of much excitement at first glance.
While it is slow paced I have learned to appreciate the game and I have grown to look forward to The Masters. First, there is so much history involved in this particular tournament. You can't even buy a ticket to it. You have to be on a waiting list, which was formed in 1972. The list is full and no one is being added at this time. A person has to die for another person to be able to get a ticket. Crazy! The course is beautiful, full of flowers, and there is a holiday atmosphere to it. The day before the tournament starts the players take their kids as caddies and play a 9 hole, par 3 course. It is fun to watch and yes, there is a lottery to get tickets to that round. Not quite as exclusive as the Masters, but pretty close.
One thing I love about golf are the outfits. Since they don't have uniforms, and they don't get dirty, the players all look nice while they play. I often tell my husband when one of the golfers is having a bad round it is becuse he picked a bad outfit. Yes, it is slow paced, which is perfect for a Sunday afternoon nap. It lulls you to sleep and even the announcers have hushed tones. You can watch one hole or all eighteen but I guarantee you will rest. Not everyone appreciates having a sports announcer following them. Once, I accompanied my husband on a round of golf and pretended to be the sports announcer, describing his every shot with those same hushed tones. For some reason I was never invited back.
While the game is not exactly spiritual I have been amazed at the sheer number of Christian's who play professional golf. It is a game that takes tremendous discipline and steady nerves. It is a game that is deceptive. It seems like it might be easy. Put the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. But that simple premise sounds easier than it actually is. It is not like miniature golf. The greens slope and break differently. There are traps everywhere. Rather than being a reaction start, you have a static start. You can't just roar back and hit it, you have to have your stance right and hit in a way that is unnatural to the body. Wait, maybe it might be just a little bit spiritual, in my walk with the Lord there are traps everywhere. The walk feels unnatural and I cannot trust my instincts. My stance, how I do things and approach my day and life are perhaps just a little like some of the difficulties of golf.
The craziest thing about golf? The Master's winner got over 1 million dollars today. We are used to high pay days in sports but here is the kicker, the men tied for 18th place got over 94,000! I have never seen a sport that rewards losers so generously. It is with great difficulty that one becomes a pro golfer but once you get there the payday isn't bad. Of course the expenses are huge also. The Masters may not be named after God but it always reminds me of my Master.
I love that even the weakest of Saints gets heaven as a reward. I am thankful that even when I fall into a trap that I can ask my Father to pull me out. I don't have to try and hit myself out of it. In fact, that doesn't work too well in my experience. I am grateful God gave us sports. I know I hit on them a little hard in my last post, along with a lot of other things, but that was a crazy moment. I love that God gave us so many good things to enjoy, that He loves us enough to give us blessings and pleasures on earth as well as heaven. He is so good to this child.

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