I penned this in the spring of 2017, long before I had heard the word pandemic with any frequency. It addresses peace in sport, a relief and respite for many of us.
For years I’ve watched two tournaments that end and start a week apart every spring. The environment in each case calms my soul, whoever is victorious.
The second one on the calendar, the Monte-Carlo Masters, was first a tennis championship in 1897. Its center court provides a view of the magnificent Mediterranean. On either side of the court, one appreciates seating with European taste sprinkled with cabanas. The calm I’ve always felt by gentle bodies of water comes home to me that week. “He leadeth me beside the still water:” Psalm 23, 2a. It’s even a gentle, clay surface upon which the players compete.
The first one each year, the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, has a particular place in my heart because I lived in that somewhat pastoral town in the mid-70s. I remember the traffic as a non-issue. I’d go to work on my bike rolling down a pleasant hill.
When I first lived there, I lived in apartments next to the Masters course, a green pasture with beautiful pines, flowers, ponds, creeks and bridges. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,” Psalm 23, 2b. They have studded the pasture with large, lovely, golf greens that in contrast challenge every golfer with the most pressure-filled, prestigious of the major tournaments. It’s the Wimbledon of golf, though it started later, 1934.
Sergio Garcia had played in over 70 major golf tournaments without a victory, despite his fine game. Then in 2017, at 37, to the surprise of many, he found peace in that elegant pasture and came home victorious.
I had watched him for many years, now, showing a touch of white on the whiskers of his chin. Those were frustrating times for Sergio. I had seen the frustration across his brow many times. The victory broadened the smile across his face.
How his fellow golfers felt about Sergio’s victory was best expressed by his good friend and primary competitor that day, Justin Rose, winner of a major in 2013. “If I was going to lose, I’m glad I lost to Sergio. “
H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling Amazon writer and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? Please Save the Third Dance for Me (memoirs) and The Bloom is on the Rose (novelette), all available on Amazon.