I have written about, on several occasions, the special brand of joy I get from watching people’s dreams come true. Somehow when I see others taking their dreams by the hand for the first time, I think if I get close enough to them, that some of the energy will splash onto me. It’s like getting close to a waterfall…You know you can’t stand underneath it, but as you near it, the mist finds you for a little taste.
The Masters is my favorite sporting event of the year to watch, partly because of its homage to southern tradition, and partly because it is a breeding ground for impossible dreams coming true. With 150 some odd contenders, anything could happen. There’s always some guy out there, in that sea of plaid-wearing men, hoping for his first time to wear that green jacket beside the greats to come. He knows it’s about as likely as seeing a shooting star, but that the right number of swings will put that shooting star in his lap, and that jacket around his shoulders.
This year’s winner was Bubba Watson, and he let his dream do a victory lap down his cheeks when that last little putt sealed the deal. However, when he hit the ball off the tee in the second round of his sudden death match, it wasn’t looking good. He swung that self-expressive pink driver with incredible speed as usual, but it landed him deep in the woods, without that coveted short grass in sight. At some point or another, in the ninth hour, every human has taken that shot in some way. To twist the knife, though his opponent didn’t hit a perfect shot, his position was much better. Some people thought Bubba might have just kissed his victory goodbye. He was, for that moment, the underdog.
However, the man who had never even taken a golf lesson or watched himself swing on camera, waded into that thick brush with a steady hand, and catapulted that ball out of the heavily staggered trees that were begging to keep his ball away from the green. He was unmoved. With an emotionless expression, he shot his dream living in that little white ball all the way to the place the waving flag beckoned him. Two putts later he was a champion. He pursed his lips together and looked into the sky, for a moment too spiritual to recount. Then the tears flowed, paying respect to his dream for clawing its way out of that thicket, and riding the force from his club out of the gates of hell to freedom again.
I can only thank Bubba Watson. I tip my hat to dreamers who still pursue their dreams when they wake up, when it hurts to fail, and when real eyes are watching all around. It was beyond inspiring, and was like catnip to me. I craved what he was feeling, and the writer in me grew thirsty. If he can hit a wild shot from the bowels of Augusta National, I can surely keep throwing my words at literary agents in New York City. One of those wild swings will, against all odds, land on the right desk. If I keep knockin’ the hell out of it, with my unique driver and rugged swing, I WILL wear my jacket too one day. It will just wrap itself around my words instead of my body. It will have my name on front, under the title of my novel, and it will sit on a shelf next to the ones who have already earned their jackets. It will be my moment of greatness that teases me now from afar. I just have to remember, I’ve gotten far enough to stand in the hazard. I’ve written the novel. I swung the club from the brush. Now its up to me to sink that putt.
We weren’t meant to live in the brush…we don’t belong there. We are fashioned by nature to inevitably find the hazard, but we are equally fashioned to rise from it. We have arms made to keep swinging. However, we are mortals, not magicians. We have to organically, with sweat, blood, and tears continue to swing. Whatever we do, no matter how deeply in the woods our balls are buried we MUST swing over and over. We were built with a driver inside begging and battling with us, to make it to the green.