I’m not a golfer. I still have some clubs but I stopped playing. It was difficult for me to relax. It was too much stress and with not enough balls going straight. Still, I keep up with the sport and enjoy watching the major championships. This year, I followed the Masters streaming live on the Internet since I no longer have cable television.
I usually pick out an American to pull for, but I have to admit, Angel Cabrera is easy to like, even before this year’s Masters. Now I’m a big fan.
Angel isn’t among the highest ranked golfers in the golf world. At week 20, he is ranked 61 by the Official World Golf Ranking system, but this is largely due to his finish at the 2013 Masters. At the end of the 2012 season, he was ranked 267.
While he has won five times on the European tour, he has won only twice on the PGA tour. However, those two wins have come at the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters, the first time either has been won by an Argentine. The number of majors a professional has won measures greatness on the PGA level.
However, the greatness that matters most has nothing to do with statistics, world rankings, or bank accounts. That’s why you often have to dig around to find true greatness because those who do great things are not doing them to draw attention to themselves. Their humble actions are done from their hearts and are just a part of who they are.
Just such an action happened at the Masters on the second playoff hole as Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott went head to head, Cabrera trying to win his second green jacket, Scott trying to win his first.
On his second shot, Cabrera hit his shot within twenty yards of the flagstick, giving him a shot at birdie and placing a lot of pressure on his competitor. Scott stepped up and matched Cabrera, hitting his shot within the same distance. As the men walked to the 18th green for the third time that day to the delight of the crowd, Cabrera gave Scott an encouraging gesture and a smile, letting him know that he’d made a good shot. It was a rare gesture that said, “Well done! in the middle of sudden death in such a high stakes competition.
However, there’s more to this story. The irony of these two men playing for the green jacket lay in the fact that Greg Norman, an Aussie like Scott, who came close to winning the Masters but never did, called Cabrera four years ago and asked him if he’d mentor Scott, take him under his wings and help calm his nerves and steady his game. Scott’s game was in trouble and no one wanted to play with him. Cabrera stepped up and helped Scott regain his confidence. Scott said just hearing Cabrera say to him that he was a great player was something he never forgot. Cabrera played with Scott in the President’s Cup and after that Scott’s career turned around. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/golf–angel-cabrera-helped-re-start-adam-scott-s-stalled-career-022031529.html
We do not have to be perfect people by a long shot. We do not always have to end up in the winner’s circle. We just need to care about relationships. We need to treat our competitors with respect. How we treat others needs to be more important than the outcome of a competition. People remember our character much longer than they remember how often we won. It’s about whether we have others in mind even as we strive to do our best. It’s about doing unto others as we would have them do unto us (Luke 6:31).
How do we get to a point where we place the concerns and needs of others squarely in our minds as we also strive for greatness in our careers, in our schools, in sporting events, in our bids for contracts, in our elections, in our politics, and in our relationships with family and friends?
We get there by knowing we are accepted and loved by God, not by how high up the ladder we go, but because of his grace has been given and received in our lives.
Angel Cabrera’s warmth and generosity was displayed in a simple hand gesture that said, “Great shot!” but even more so when Scott won and Angel embraced him on the green in a big hug!
God is looking to deputize more angels. We can be normal, everyday kinds of people, boys and girls, teenagers, adults both young and old.
Will you let Him deputize you today?