Hello and a very warm welcome to my newly relaunched blog. I'm Paul a 40 year old family man from the UK. In this complex, information overload 21st century world, too often we lose sight of what's really important. Here I want to celebrate life, share inspirational stories, throw the spotlight on charities and causes close to my heart. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.
Monday, 12 April 2010
Becoming masters of our own destiny
Last night I watched the final few hours of the US masters, one of the four major tournaments of the world golf calendar. Now I realise an awful lot of folk out there don't share my passion for the sport of golf or any kind for that matter, but before you reach for the proverbial remote control of blogs and click elsewhere - please stay with me on this.
Especially with the very public downfall of a certain Mr Woods in recent times, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the beautifully controlled and ordered bubble that is the immaculately presented Augusta National golf course is the very last place in which you'd find inspirational TV viewing on a Sunday night. The return of "grouchy Tiger hidden passions" was very much a circus side show compared with the real story out there.
Phil Mickelson, a genuine fans favourite, who plays with a true spirit of adventure and personality, emerged triumphant in the last few holes, recording his 3rd victory in this most prestigious of tournaments.
But beneath these bare record book facts lies a very human and deeply moving personal story.
His wife Amy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer aged just 37. In a further cruel twist of fate, only a short while later Phil's mother Mary was also diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
After a short time away from the game, Phil resumed playing on the demanding world golf tour. For the last 11 months, his wife and three children have been unable to follow him. Even this week, though they had travelled to Augusta, she had been too weak to make it on to the course to watch as she continues her battle against an agressive form of the disease.
So on the surface, golf with all it's finickety rules and quirks may seem to be the last place you'd expect to reach down into the depths of your soul and truly feel what it is to be alive. A tiny little pink ribbon in Phil's hat, carrying such deep meaning.
For more infomation on the pink ribbon campaign please take a look at http://www.pinkribbon.com/
A few months ago, I read a fascinating article hidden away in the sports pages which really made me sit up and think.
It told the story of Ken Green, a former US PGA professional who had achieved the lofty heights of representing his country at the 1989 Ryder cup, before losing his way in the 1990s following battles with depression and debt which eventually cost him his marriage. His game went to to pieces, he lost his Tour card in 2000 and made no money at all between 2005 and 2008.
Finally just as he had turn things around and was picking his career back together on June 8th 2009 came a horrific car accident that literally turned his life upside down. In that crash, he lost his partner, and his brother, and when he came around the doctors gave him the devastating prognosis. As his left ankle had been badly damaged by the accident, whilst they could save his leg, he would definitely never be able to play golf again.
His response to this was very simple and incredibly brave – “chop it off at the ankle then”. Since then he's been through eight painful surgery sessions, and with the support of his fellow professionals he's all set to make a comeback aged 51 on the Champions tour and become the first ever one legged golf professional.
His determination is absolute - in an interview he said "If I don't come back , it would feel that losing my three best friends would serve no purpose". Whether he will be allowed to complete an incredible sporting come back remains to be seen, but without question his indomitable spirit is a lesson to all of us
You can read much more about his amazing personal journey at http://www.kengreenscomeback.com/
We only truly know ourselves in the darkest of hours. But, no matter what, the one thing that can never be disputed is that all of us have the power within us to take charge of our own destinies.
The human spirit can never be defeated.