Monday, May 09, 2005

a lesson from the tiger

I am not a golfer. I do own a set of clubs, given to me by my wife's family. I played on an occasional basis when our first daughter was small. When our second daughter was born, golf became too expensive and time consuming. I also never found it that interesting. I did take up squash, for a few years, and tennis. I got more exercise in these sports, and did not lose the ball as often.

Charlotte hosts a PGA golf tournament, and it has just concluded. It was played at a course nearby, and I was invited to volunteer one day.

Here was the volunteer experience:

We met at the school at 5:30 a.m.
The bus picked us up to take us to the course at 5:45 a.m.
We arrived at the course at 6:00 a.m.
I was a restaurant associate, which meant I worked at a concession stand. My younger daughter was also a restaurant associate. Last year my daughter was an ecology ambassador, which means she picked up trash. Later in the would she would be a senior ecology ambadassor, which means she supervised the other people who picked up trash.
The first golfers teed off at about 8:30 a.m., I think. Not much happened those first two hours.
It was 50 degrees, cold for Charlotte in May.
We served hot dogs, and no breakfast foods. Not much demand for hot dogs at 8:00 in the morning, even among guys who have been drinking beer already.
We served no hot drinks, like coffee or hot chocolate.
Along with a partner, I boiled hot dogs, and wrapped them in tin foil. The perfect American food.
We sold maybe 10 hot dogs by noon.
My colleagues, the other restaurant associates, ate about 20.
I took a break, at about 11:30, to go to one of the better furnished concession stands. There I had a cheesburger. I felt a comraderie with the other restaurant associates, and a small sense of power in not actually having to pay for the cheeseburger, like I was an insider.
At about 12:30, I watched Tiger Woods hit a tee shot. To say that Tiger has the adoration of the masses would be an understatement.
A guy from my church walked by and asked, "are you looking for some inspiration?"
Actually, I was only thinking of being warm.
Tiger hit his tee shot, on Quail Hollow # 10, into the woods.
I remembered my own experiences in playing golf.
I felt that I could identify with Tiger.
Then I went to meet the bus, and was taken back to my car.
It was good to be warm again.

Some observations, from a day or two around professional golf:

If a golfer smiles at the fans, he is perceived as Mr. Personality. Golfers are our modern stoics.
Professional golf destroys the myth that people have limited financial resoures and not enough leisure time.
There remains a huge market for cigar smokers.
More African-Americans attend golf tournaments than I would have imagined.
Professional golf is becoming an ethnically-diverse sport.
Tattoo artists are making an impression on young America.
If police wanted to catch a few drinker/drivers, hanging around these events would be a wise decision.

A lesson from the Tiger:

On the last day, I returned in the afternoon, just to watch and follow Tiger around. On the fifteenth hole he had an eagle (that's two shots below par): two shots to green, one put into the hole. Whereas I could identify with Tiger on the tee shot into the woods, I could not with the eagle.

The lesson: we have a capacity for mediocrity and a capacity for greatness, all of us. Even the Tiger.


Blogger St.Phransus said...

"The lesson: we have a capacity for mediocrity and a capacity for greatness, all of us. Even the Tiger."

Well said.

12:42 PM  
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