Where is ESPN when you need them? I love to see young kids doing great things in sports, especially if it involves sportsmanship, random acts of kindness and friendship. I would broadcast it to the masses! I like to call it, “Spreading the sugar!” So here’s Mama B’s Journal of “I caught ya spreading the sugar!!!”
I realize I talk about golf a ton, but it is a huge part of our lives and God has used it to teach me many lessons. A continual lesson has been that of giving. It has come in the form of gifts of encouragement, acts of service and friendship. Our kids have been the recipients countless times.
In 2006, we were in Hilton Head, SC, at the Carolina’s Junior Championship. It was over 95 degrees and Thomas, (14 at that time) our middle son and diabetic, had an afternoon tee time. I cannot begin to tell you how miserable the conditions were–hot, humid, and very sticky with no breeze. It was the second day of the tournament and I walked ahead on number 2 which was a par 5. I looked back at the tee, to see someone standing by T and holding his bag. I walked back to see who it was. It was his friend and fellow competitor, McQuen. McQuen had played in the morning round and after he finished lunch he came out to “loop for T.” I hope you see the gift and sportsmanship in this act of kindness.
Another memorable gift of friendship that comes to mind was when our daughter, Collins, was 16 and in the Carolina’s Match Play in Camden. Her friend, Stephen, volunteered to caddy multiple rounds and days, giving up his time to practice and compete, to help Collins. Both gifts of kindness made for wonderful memories. Collins ended up winning the tournament and Thomas made a “Double Eagle” on #2, the hole McQuen joined him on to loop.
Just this past weekend, we were at “The Porter Cup Amateur Championship” in Buffalo, NY. It is an event that has been staged since 1959 and has a rich heritage. To say the least, we were thrilled that Thomas was invited to play. Phil Mickelson won the event in 1990 and some of the tournament’s other past participants include Tiger Woods, Davis Love11, and David Duval. Thomas actually got to stay in the host home of the tournament director, Steve Denn and his wife, Susan. They were AWESOME!!! Treated him like a king. Every day Susan would pack extra Gatorade and Thomas’ favorite, vanilla wafers and peanut butter, and bring them to him. The tournament is a 4 day event and with each passing day our time there became more special.
I really want to write about the last day in particular. Thomas played with 2 really special guys, Patrick and Nick. Great players, but none had their A game the entire 4 days so they were not in the final group. Funny how golf is so up and down. Nick just won the “Monroe” a few weeks ago! NO matter what, every day is a NEW day in golf and Saturday was one of the most fun days I have ever had in spectating golf!
AS I walked up to the first tee there was a pretty big crowd, but what stood out to me was these 3 young guys (in their twenties) with matching green shirts. On the front of the shirt was a picture of their friend, Pat, who was in Thomas’ threesome. When they called Pat’s name, they “broke out” into chants, cheers and applause which, for me, was quite refreshing……NO one ever really cheers a whole lot in golf. People say “shot”, “Good shot”, or “putt” under their breath and clap very softly most of the time. Being a former cheerleader, at times I would love to shout on the golf course when something good happens or maybe even JUMP, yes jump, but I refrain, to keep from embarrassing our kids mostly! I love to watch on TV the PGA event that is held at the TPC in Scottsdale, AZ. I think hole 16 is a par 3. The people cheer like folks do at a football game! I love the smile that it brings to those golfers’ faces.
Back to the story at the Porter Cup—those who I now fondly call “The Three Amigos”. They were awesome. They started to cheer for Thomas and Nick as well. It was so contagious that by the third hole I was joining in, to the point that I told them I didn’t get the memo about the matching “Green shirts!” Guess what? They offered me one!!! I said, “Seriously???” And they said, “Yes!! We are Pat’s Fan Club and we have shirts in the car and we will go get you one.” By the fifth hole we were cheering for Pat, Thomas and Nick for any good shot they hit. At the turn I got my green shirt!!!!
Of course, I had to ask questions about the “Three Amigos”, Ryan, Nick and Matt, and their friendship with Pat. They told me they had been friends since the 5th grade and, as much as they could, they came out to support their friend. Living Romans 15:2, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up.” I was so amazed about the special, very special, bond these young men had!!! It spoke volumes to me about how all of us could support our friends better. Heck, they even supported Thomas and owned him for the day as well as Nick. Demonstrating Leviticus 19:34, “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself….” I seriously was soooo caught up in the fun that I was so sorry to see the 18th hole. Their friend, Pat, birdied the 18th hole and we got to scream and shout and high five and knuckle knock!! I was out of breathe!! Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice…”
Those three guys were the epitome of loyal and supportive friends!! They waited for Pat and had lunch with him after the round. I sat at a distance and watched them laugh, smile and talk. I just loved it. They mentioned that they were coming to the Clemson vs. UGA game to see another friend that went to Clemson. Well, ya know what us Southerners have to do, we invited them to come on over and tailgate. So excited that this won’t be the last time I see these young men!! They were special.
God is so faithful and loves us through others, especially when we choose to give. I like to call it “spreading the sugar!” It is a choice! My prayer is that these examples of giving and friendship will motivate us all to GIVE more without any thought to what we will get in return, thus demonstrating God’s love and giving from an overflow of the heart.