Like many golf fans I was disappointed that the United States team once again lost the Ryder Cup. I was fortunate enough to be at Medinah in 2012 for the Ryder Cup matches and was hoping for a better outcome this year. But once again the European team outplayed our team and kept the Ryder Cup until 2016 at Hazeltine. However, disappointment did not hang around very long with me. Later that Sunday night, our local NBC affiliate, KSDK-5, ran a story that made me essentially forget about the Ryder Cup and totally put things into perspective.
I realize that "put things into perspective" is a line straight out of the Bull Durham book of cliches. However in this situation it is completely appropriate. The story that night, which you can view by clicking HERE, was about our junior golf program at Ranken Jordan and one of our regulars, Cooper Burks. KSDK sports anchor, Frank Cusumano, did a great job putting the piece together. For those that have followed along with this blog or visited the Ranken Jordan website you know that the facility is for medically complex children. Any time someone needs a big dose of perspective I invite them to come for our golf clinics and spend some time with the kids.
Without hesitation I will say that nothing can "put things into perspective" faster than seeing a sick child. Following the airing of the story on KSDK-5 I received quite a bit of feedback from people who were just learning about the program for the first time. Many of them commented that after seeing it they understand much better why I do not get upset on the golf course. In my eyes there is no reason to. I have the opportunity to go out and play golf whenever the opportunity presents itself. I am fortunate that I can hit the ball, go find it, and hit it again. Many of the kids at Ranken Jordan, and other pediatric healing facilities around the country, will not have that same opportunity. Therefore, why should I get upset because I did not hit a shot as good as I feel I should have? If my tee shot goes into the water, big deal. Put another ball into play, hit it, and play on.
The superstar in the news story, Cooper, and many other kids at Ranken Jordan, will have the opportunity to play golf because of our junior golf program. In fact, as soon as Cooper is back at Ranken Jordan following his most recent surgeries he will have a golf club in his hands again. And when he is home with his family he will be able to go to the golf course and play the game of a lifetime. But that opportunity will not happen without the hard work, pain, determination, and patience of Cooper and his family. As I mentioned earlier I am fortunate to be able to play golf whenever I get the chance. But the game has provided me with something much greater than that opportunity. Golf has provided me the honor and privilege to get to spend so much time with Cooper, our junior golfers at Ranken Jordan, and their families. If and when it is necessary I have things "put into perspective" on a weekly basis (if not more often than that). I invite everyone reading this to contact me and plan a time to visit the kids at the hospital. You absolutely will not regret it and wonder why it took you so long to visit.