Thursday, April 5, 2007

The crowd was not so much interested in them, they wanted him.

As I walked up #18, I imagined what it might be like to take that walk up the hill to the green with a 2 stroke lead and laying 3 on the front of the green with a tough pin placement. The grass felt good under my feet, almost like carpet. The air just had that smell, the smell of fresh cut grass and excitement! There was a buzz all around the grounds. He was here.

Mark and I walked on up to the practice green outside the Clubhouse. There were lots of spectators encompassing the green. As we edged closer to see who was practicing, we found ourselves standing about 2 persons deep from the ropes. There were lots of players out rehearsing their putting swing, so that they may keep the scores low on Thursday. There is still lots of whispering..."He's here somewhere..."and " there is his caddie, Steve". All the while the crowd continued to grow behind us. Something big was about to happen and everyone wanted to see.

Davis Love III, Craig Stadler, Stuart Appleby, Pad Harrington, Jeff Sluman, Sergio Garcia, Freddie Couples, Chris DiMarco, and many others were there. All of them working on their putting stroke, trying to stay consistent for the competition to come. The crowd was not so much interested in them, they wanted him.

From our left, we see the crowd start to part. Sharply dressed in all black with a white hat and shoes. The crowd was quiet, waiting for a reaction. He walked over to his golf bag and pulled out his putter. His caddie tossed out some balls and Tiger Woods practice had begun. I looked behind me and the crowd was now about 10 to 15 people deep completely around the putting green. It was crazy. Tiger Woods is like a rock star. Everyone was focused on him. All of the other golfers at that moment took a backseat to Tiger. Tiger commands attention, but he doesn't ask for it. He smiles. Tiger shakes hands with other players and begins his warm up regiment. I must say he is a very fit individual. He is very intimidating as a player, I think it is his structure. He practiced the exact same 4 foot putt for almost 20 minutes. He is a machine.

I was standing right next to his golf bag, admiring his signature Nike golf clubs I started thinking about the impact that Tiger Woods has on the crowd that was gathered there at the Master's grounds. They watched his every move. They waited for him to make a putt, tell a joke, smile, laugh, shake a kids hand. The spectators at Augusta just wanted to be near Tiger, to be associated with greatness. I think Tiger understands this, he is a smart man. My friend Steve had a great post about a local high school athlete that is getting the same type of attention in our area. Read it here. This is nowhere near the magnitude of Tiger Woods, but I am sure they have similar feelings on the matter.

Over the next 75 minutes, I stood and watched Tiger. I honestly started to imagine how I would handle that type of fame. How would I treat people if I were that powerful? This is what it was...power...influence. Tiger has a tremendous amount of influence! What ever Tiger wears, people want to wear. What ever Tiger drinks, then everyone in the golfing world wants to drink it too. People watch what he does and then try to be like Tiger Woods. There are lots of people through out time that have had this sort of influence. In my lifetime, it has mostly been sports figures that wield such influence. Michael Jordan was one of those types of people. So was Jesus. I could not stop thinking about how Jesus had that sort of influence. He had crowds of people hanging on every word. People were watching Jesus's every move. Waiting for him to heal, to cast out demons and teach about this new Kingdom of God.

The crazy idea in my head was not to compare Tiger Wood to Jesus, but to understand Tiger's influence. What if Tiger was a man of God? What if Tiger used his popularity to give him a stage to share the Gospel? What if Tiger lived a life like Christ? I could not stop thinking about this notion. If Tiger were a Christian, would anyone be able to witness his life? Could he live a life as if Christ lived and anyone be a witness to it? He has no privacy, but people only get to see his life as a golfer. Could he really love people? Could he afford to love people?

As I stood there playing all of this out in my head, I asked myself, "What if I had this type of influence?" What would I do with a stage that big? What sort of effect could I have on peoples lives, if I were as big as Tiger Woods? At that moment, the answer came to me in an instant! In God's eyes, I am like Tiger Woods. My role is just as big as Tiger's role in life. My influence can be just as great as Tiger's influence. I may not be able to make an impression on people that changes the way the dress, what they drink, or what type of car they drive. Tiger has that sort of power, but does that glorify God? I do know that I can show people the love of Christ through my actions, just as Tiger could if he so chooses. We both carry that same responsibility. We both have that power. It was given to us by Christ and what we do with it should glorify God. I fall short. Tiger falls short. We are both hitting from the same tee box, on the same course, with the same set of clubs, and trying to reach the same green. I am playing golf with Tiger Woods and we both have the same handicap! Our only shot at reaching the green in regulation is by dying to ourselves and coming alive in Christ.

This was a great day for me. I got to watch an amazing golfer and what appears to an outstanding individual. I love where God took me with my thoughts and I am thankful that He gave me this once in a lifetime opportunity. Tiger may or may not live a life centered around Christ, we will probably never get to witness that side of Tiger. Today, the gallery surges ahead, waiting to see Tiger's next perfect swing. What a day will it be when the crowd is not so much interested in them, but they want Him.


jaki good said...

i want to wear thick black frames just because marty ford does....

anna said...

i can't believe i read that entire thing.

T5Guy said...

Jaki, You are so funny.