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Hallowed Grounds

Two years ago, over the course of four days in April, I watched Tiger Woods play the greatest tournament in golf…and I got to do it in person.  An automatic entry on any sports fan’s bucket list, The Masters at Augusta National is the pinnacle of golf.  Being able to follow the greatest golfer of all time as he negotiated his way through the magnolia-lined fairways was a memory that will stay with me forever.  In fact, sitting on my nightstand at home is a cup of pine straw I pilfered from the very spot on the 8th hole where I stood 2 feet from Tiger as he hit a perfectly struck 5 wood out of the trees.  Just recalling the moment flustered me into writing that ridiculously long sentence you just read.  Sorry about that.

Yesterday, as I watched Tiger in the first round of the WGC Cadillac Championship, it pained me to realize I was not watching the same golfer.  I’d like to take this time to write the following letter to Mr. Woods.

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Dear Tiger,

Let me begin by saying that I believe you when you say your priorities have changed.  I believe that you regret your past transgressions and that being a good father and role model for your children is your goal.  As a father myself, I want nothing more than to do right by my kids so I applaud you for that.

Unfortunately, I’d like to take a moment to tell you how disappointed I am.  I mean this from the standpoint of a golf fan and sports fan in general, not from a personal standpoint.  You’ve certainly had enough critics (who have no doubt done some of the things you did, themselves) tell you how morally superior they are to you.  That’s not my point here.  I’m disappointed because you gave me the opportunity to witness history and then you took it away.

For the past dozen or so years, I’ve watched you strike the golf ball knowing that history was being made.  I was lucky enough to have been born in the same lifetime as the greatest golfer to ever play the game.  As I grew up learning the game from my father, I developed a passion for it and a drive to succeed.  I knew, however, that I would never be the best because you were.  Being a true sports fan, I was ok with this.  If I couldn’t be the best, at least I was able to see the best.

When I watch you now though, I am sad to say that the golfer I once idolized is no longer there.  While your talent will never fade, it seems as though your desire has.  Not long ago, we as fans debated over when you would break every individual record in the game.  Today, we debate if.  And to be honest, some days it doesn’t seem like a debate at all.

Perhaps this is selfish of me.  Perhaps your new-found priorities will make you a better man in the end.  All I’m asking is that you do your best to work through whatever it is in your head that has zapped your aura of invincibility.  Your fans are still here, desperately hoping you will regain the craving for success.  History is still yours for the taking and I, for one, still believe in you.  Please don’t let me down.

Sincerely,

Jim

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Now that had absolutely nothing to do with my 30 Before 30 progress, but sometimes the sports fan in me must be unleashed before something bad happens.  Anyway, it’s Follow-Up Friday so let’s see where we stand.

#9– Well, it’s March.  That means the Madness is nearly here.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year and I’m already running through potential bracket matchups in my head.  As far as seeing the games in person however, I’m not sure this one’s going to happen.  As I mentioned awhile back, ticket prices are not cheap for this event.  There are opening round games taking place in DC this year which is the closest venue for me, but even first round tickets are pricey.  This was a stretch when I put it on the list so I won’t be devastated if it doesn’t happen.  The truth is, it’s much easier for me to compare my 327 brackets from the comfort of my own living room. 

#14– If you didn’t read my post from earlier this week, I finally got started with this item by watching, and subsequently reviewing, Casablanca.  Check out the post here.  I’ve still got 6 more classics to conquer before I can cross this off but I’m making progress and isn’t that what it’s all about?  Hmm…don’t answer that.

#20– In my post from Wednesday, I mentioned an email I received from a fellow blogger and self-proclaimed “connector of people”.  She has offered to help me in my attempt to reach out to the real Bill Simmons (as opposed to the fake one that keeps leaving discouraging comments) so I’m letting her work her magic.  I’m not getting my hopes up just yet, but at least it gives me the opportunity to add this item to the Follow-Up post.

#24– The wife and I have narrowed down our possible “carefree weekend” destinations to about 27.  We can’t seem to make a decision, but we’re getting closer.  Should be able to update you with some details by next week I hope.

So that’s about it for this week.  No major milestones but certainly some baby steps.  Keep reading, keep telling others to read, and START SUBSCRIBING!  I’m telling you, it’ll make your day to see an email pop up saying that I’ve made another post.  Well, at least that’s what my mommy says.

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