Sport is a great subject to analyse for lessons in life.
I woke on Monday to the drama of the final day of play at the 2013 U.S. Masters. Tuning in just in time to view the last three holes of play, I was glued to the screen for the final hour.
It was breathtaking. The most moving live sport I had seen in years, and indeed it made me reflect back in search of a more fulfilling television experience. I was stuck. The Aloisi goal to put us into the soccer world cup was just as riveting, certainly right up there. I fondly remember watching the live cricket world cup semi final Australia V South Africa in 99’. Brilliant. Come from behind, never should have won, perfect drama. But for the sheer purity sport can offer, I think this is it.
The 2013 Masters victory by Adam Scott was uplifting for me. I’m not too sure exactly what it was, or why, and I spent a good portion of the day re-living the moment in my mind. Perhaps it was the moody overcast day, similar to the scene outside my window as I watched. Or maybe the sportsmanship which was of the highest calibre, not presented for the viewers or fans, but genuine respect and friendship between two rivals.
Perhaps it was the breathtaking stoke play of both Scott and the Argentine Angel Cabrera, a worthy adversary. He had no right to land the 9 iron on the 18th 2 feet from the hole, a hole he had not birdied in his previous 10 last rounds at the same event. But the drama of the day demanded such a stroke, and he duly delivered.
It also carried significant historical weight, from an Australian point of view with us never having had a winner and Scott would have been well aware he had been bestowed with the opportunity of becoming the first Aussie in the events long history to win. Cabrera also had something to play for, aiming to add to his win in 2009.
But the greatest battle on the day was the one Scott faced looking inside himself. A wonderful, stirringly motivational example of someone who may well have succumbed to the external pressures. His failure at the British open last year would have been on his mind. His ability to stay in the moment was crucial and again serves as a lesson to make every day, every moment, every opportunity count. His self belief was inspirational; he knew it was his time and he willed himself to defy history and deliver on his sports biggest stage.
I wasn’t nervous watching as many viewers say they were. But I was on the edge of my seat. The tension was thick after the birdie on the 72nd hole by Cabrera to force a playoff. But the broadcast was presented with an impressive sense of tranquillity; aerial views of the lush fairways, soft music overlayed, highlights of play from earlier in the tournament. It seemed an event devoid of the commercial flooding sport in Australia suffers, with every opportunity to show a brewer, a betting agency or an upcoming program by the hosting broadcaster not only taken, but vehemently crammed into lounge rooms across the country.
It was the ‘purest’ hour of sporting viewing I have witnessed. It had everything. Raw emotion; a brilliant display of skill execution under extreme pressure; humble and gracious sportsmanship and competition, both against another player and also his own mind.
Sport offers all the emotions, challenges, highs and lows that we face in everyday life with the possible exception of dire tragedy. Less than 24 hours later, the Boston marathon shows this with sport becoming the unfortunate bystander to the senseless tragedy that changes forever the lives of the spectators there to revel in all the experiences it has to offer.