Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

You pull up to your office for the week.  As you step out of the car you feel the cool damp air against your skin.  As you make the walk, you are greeted by dozens of smiles gracing the faces of people who will give you anything you need to make your day successful.  You move to a quite spot where you start your daily ritual.  Maybe it is a cup of coffee and some water-cooler chit chat.  Maybe it is a hot tea while you close your eyes and take a few deep breaths before letting the stress of the day wash over you.  It’s show time. 

Your co-worker shakes your hand as you approach the stage.  Your feet squish down on the spongy perfectly manicured turf that still has the sweet aroma of freshly cut grass.  You wipe the nervous sweat from your palms as you reach into your bag to grab your club to take a few practice swings.  By now instead of a few dozen faces, there is a thick crowd forming around you waiting to watch your every move.

 As you make your approach and slide the tee into the ground, you have the vision of gliding that prestigious green jacket over your shoulders.  That jacket that every one of your peers covets just as much as you do.  You select your driver and glance down the 400 yards of rolling green ahead of you.  Silence blended in the wind blowing through the trees and a faint woodpecker in the distance is all you hear beyond your own heavy exhale as your swing follows-through.  Followed by the static of polite applauds of the patrons.  This is it.  This is the start of history in the making. 

At least that is how I envision what Thursday morning looked like for Jordan Speith before taking home the title of the Champion of the 2015 Masters Golf Tournament.  The tournament where 21 year old Speith took home his first major victory, and I got to cross off another bucket list items as a patron of this tradition unlike any other. 

Augusta National is hard to describe.  It is one of those places you really have to see for yourself to understand it.  I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a lot of indescribable places.  The Florida Keys during sunset, the Cinque Terre coastline at sunrise, miles of fresh untouched powdery snow in the Rocky Mountains, and now the perfectly manicured landscape of Augusta.  HD TV doesn't do it justice.  It is a Southerner’s wonderland with its beautiful Azaleas and Magnolias among the 1,000’s of other flower species along the course.   The staff makes Disney's team seem like amateurs with the way they cater to your every need and keep the walkways spotless without even a pine-cone on the ground.  And one of the most surprising things to me, with knowing that the majority of the attendees are traveling to the event in a Bentley or on a private jet, is that they maintain the original prices (or close to it) on everything once you are inside.  What other sporting event sells beers for $3 and sandwiches for $1.50? 

I only attended the event for one day of the tournament, and while we tried to walk the length of the course and take in as much of the experience as we could, I know there is still a lot that we missed.  But even in just one day, I was able to make a memory that will last a lifetime.  Watching the Masters on TV will never be the same for us in the future.  While I can never fully appreciate what the experience must be for those who are actually on the course making new records, I feel like I experienced a part of history.  

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