I have a family dilemma. Daddy told me there’d be days like this.
My wife has a best friend whom she’s known since college. They’re the type of text all day, chat all night brand of buddies. So, naturally, it makes sense that my wife would want to pile our family of four into the car and drive three hours to her friend’s son’s first birthday party.
If only he’d been born a month earlier.
Little man’s birthday party, the one where parents stand around and gleefully snap pics on their iPhones while the newly minted 1-year old smashes cake and frosting in his hair for the first time, falls on a very inconvenient day for me – September 12.
I’m a USF Bulls fan. My wife and I met in college at USF. I covered sports for years in TV. I have covered the Bulls more closely than any other TV reporter in this market since I care about the team and nobody else really gives a rip. I have a good relationship with head coach Willie Taggart.
So, how am I supposed to explain to dear ol’ Willie that I won’t be able to see our Bulls take on the Florida State Seminoles on September 12? The birthday party is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kickoff in Tallahassee is 11:30 a.m., roughly around the time of the ‘Happy Birthday’ tune.
I already asked one of my college roommates if he’s going. He is. My best friend is a campus cop in Gainesville. The Gators will be playing ECU at home that night in the Swamp, so he’ll be busy and probably can’t watch the game BUT AT LEAST he’s at a game!
Just go in the other room and watch on TV, you say. Just pull up the game and watch it on your phone, you say. I say, you have never been to a 1-year old birthday party. There is no other acceptable form of entertainment permitted at such a party outside of watching the little drool factory try to excavate frosting from his nostrils. It’s ALL about the kid. I mean ALL.
Do you know the stares that would come my way if I even suggested slipping into a spare bedroom to flip on the game? My wife says record it and watch it later. Come on. We know that extinguishes all the magic that comes along with live-sports action.
And there will still be magic on September 12!!! It’s only the second game of the year. You know, that moment in late-summer where everyone still has a little semblance of hope flickering in their eye. After a 2-win season in 2013 and a 4-win season last year, hope is all I have!
I hope USF gets in a bowl game. I hope Willie keeps his job. I hope USF clobbers Florida State.
I also hope I get to watch it, but I can hear the ‘Happy Birthday’ tune already and it’s not much of a fight song. Sorry Willie. Text me at halftime so I can know the score.
You got me again, Tiger.
You had me believing. You had me hoping. You had me thinking that all that Thursday fist-pumping and Friday roaring would lead to weekend glory of old. You got me.
I was all pumped up for a weekend of ‘Tiger is back’ talk and TIGER ROARS AGAIN! Headlines. The PGA Tour wanted it. Golf Channel wanted it. CBS wanted it. I WANTED IT! Heck, the Wyndham Championship printed nearly 50,000 extra tickets when Tiger announced he’d be there!
But, what we got was the same old, same old. At least he made the weekend this time. At least he got to put on the red shirt and swing on Sunday. The problem was, he used up all the Tiger magic on Thursday and Friday. By the time we all tuned in on Saturday, the birdies disappeared. The eagles were non-existent.
By the time Tiger went on a four birdie streak to close out his final six holes in the tournament, he was so far behind it barely registered. He can thank the triple bogey on 11 for that.
Hope was still alive that there would be some Sunday fireworks when he stepped to the tee on 11. He was even for the day and only three shots back of Davis Love III, the ageless wonder. Then Tiger sent a chip across the green that looked a lot like a rock being skipped across a pond, then chunked his next attempt just a few feet, then three-putted and kissed his chances of winning goodbye, his chances at making the FedEx Cup playoffs field goodbye and our opportunity to daydream about seeing a winning Tiger this year, goodbye.
I’m beginning to think that it will never happen. The number everyone was looking at was 18. Would Woods pass Jack for most majors all time. The number 82 was a formality. It was just a speed bump on the way to the Hall of Fame. Tiger was going to blow past Sam Snead for the most victories in PGA Tour history and continue chasing down Jack and the title of ‘best golfer ever’.
He’s still stuck on 79 wins and has been since 2013. Will he ever win again? For the first two rounds this week, it looked like it would happen. Then the weekend rolled around and two years or disappointment rolled in with it.
I had a buddy tweet at me this weekend about Tiger. It was a well-informed, thoughtful sentiment (see left photo).
My response was simply, but he’s STILL the biggest name and the biggest draw in golf and that can’t be duplicated. We are starved for Tiger to win. Golf is starved for it, too. The game is only producing such incredible talent because Tiger was so dominant 15 years ago. The current hot-shot generation of unbelievable players – Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, etc. – all grew up watching Tiger be Tiger.
Now, they’re passing him by in a hurry. It’d be great to see him close that gap, at least a little. Don’t tell me he’s too old now. Davis Love III was in the field with Tiger on Sunday and became the third-oldest PGA Tour winner ever. There is still time to see that Tiger return.