The date is April 12 and the year is 2015. Two incredible things happened today: Jordon Spieth, a 21 year old Texan, won the Master’s golf tournament in record fashion. He either broke or tied some 24 records including best first round score, second, third and tied for the best 4th round score. He had more birdie’s than any previous golfer and he is the only golfer to reach -19 in the tournament. In his interview after the win, he seems very gracious and humble. At the age of 21, in in less than 4 months on the tour, he has earned over 2 million dollars and is currently ranked 2nd in the world. It is an incredible story.
As incredible as this story is: there is one that is more unbelievable. I married a woman some 44 years ago that did not care a thing about sports and I mean any sport. She was a bit of a St. Louis Cardinal fan because she and her dad use to listen to the Cardinals on the radio. In those days, people in our neck of the woods could get only one station and it was KMOX out of St. Louis. At that time, I was a sports fiend. I loved the NFL. One of the reasons I never preached pass the noon hour is so I would not
miss the kickoff of an NFL game. At the age of five, my son could name every NFL franchise and I am sure my passion for the game is what inspired him. I also loved baseball and basketball. NBA, college, it did not matter. I was a huge Boston Celtic fan back in the day of Dave Cowens and John Havlicek. Plus I was an avid Alabama football fan. I am talking die-hard, extreme, fanatical fan. My athletic career in high school was less than stellar but I had a ball playing intermural sports in college. I played softball, football and basketball and loved every minute. When I got to Seminary, I discovered a gym on the campus with it’s own league so I played there for two years and then after Seminary, I played on church softball teams for 25 years. In my late 40’s I began to get concerned about those vicious line drives and so I retired. My son was a very good high school athlete and I was more than involved in his career but after he graduated my love for sports began to grow cold. At one time, I even gave up Alabama football.
Over the years, especially the last decade, I have lost my love for sports. I have not watched an NBA game in two years. I don’t even watch the NFL anymore except for playoffs and even that depends on who is playing. Here is the mystery, while I am becoming less and less of a sports fan, my wife is becoming more and more of a fan. She watches four times as much sports as I do. She is an avid fan of the Manning brothers. She was a Boston Celtic fan until they traded Ray Allen who was her favorite player. She is a huge Georgia Bulldog fan because she admires Mark Richt. The only thing she and I share in common is the Cardinals in baseball: they are my National League team. I guess the biggest shock to me is her love for golf and her favorite tournament in the MASTERS. She does not miss a single hole: she watches from start to finish. She likes Phil Mickelson. When she first started watching golf, I thought, this is a passing fad, she will give it up sooner or later but that has not been the case and today, I watched it with her when I could have been watching baseball on the other TV.
This is a incredible story that some folks have a hard time believing because they have heard stories about Jack Bailey passion for sports and disagreements with officials. When I tell folks that I don’t watch many sports programs anymore and that my wife is the sports fan in the house, they think I am pulling their leg but I am not. If you had ask me 40 years ago, “Jack, do you believe that one day June will become more of a lover of sports than yourself?” I would have laughed at you. I did not dream of such a thing being possible. Trust me, it is possible.
As I conjured this story, I could not help but think about the broad spectrum between young Jordan Spieth and some of the young people in our circle of influence. We have a 21 year old grandson and trust me, he would love to make 1.8 million in a weeks time. The weird kids today are the ones who live with their biological parents. In our community, that number has been shrinking for years. Most of the kids come from broken homes. Some cope pretty well but they are all hurting and some are visibly depressed. Jordon Spieth is living a dream and they are caught in a nightmare. Why? I do not know but today I witnessed both ends of the spectrum.