I Never Got This Far in My Dreams

One is named Bubba.  The other is named Bobby.  One is on top of the world.  The other isn’t.  One smiles into the face of his wife and newly adopted son.  The other looks away from the face of his wife and four children.

 Let’s start with Bubba.  Bubba Watson, the lefty, long-hitting American, who has never taken a golf lesson, is the Masters champ.  For the uninitiated, winning the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia is like winning the Super Bowl.  To understand the power of this moment, you need to understand the Augusta National Golf Club. 

The club opened for play in 1933 and since 1934, it has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in professional golf and the only major played each year at the same course.  It’s exclusive membership policies have drawn criticism, particularly its refusal to admit black members until 1990, a former policy requiring all caddies to be black and its continued refusal to allow women to join.  Simply put, the August National Golf Club put the “E” in exclusive.

As Sports Illustrated writer, Alan Shipnuck put it, “Augusta National may be a bastion of the 1%, but Watson is a down-home guy with a homemade golf swing whose dream car is the General Lee, the hot rod from The Dukes of Hazzard, which he recently bought at auction and has been tooling around in ever since.”  After winning the tournament on the second hole of a sudden death playoff, he thanked the Georgia Bulldogs (his alma mater), Jesus Christ (“my Lord and savior”) and the host club’s African American locker room attendants, members of the 99% that make up Bubba’s core constituency.

While unlikely, Bubba’s win was no fluke.  At 313.1 yards, he is the PGA Tour’s longest hitter by almost 6 yards.  He swings a driver with a macho pink head and shaft for cancer awareness, and for all 4 rounds at the Masters his attire was all-white, supporting children with disabilities.

Appropriate to the moment, Bubba won the Masters out of the trees.  On the second playoff hole, he hooked his drive in a forest of pines off the fairway of the 10th hole.  But, his motto has always been, “If I got a swing, I got a shot.”  He located a gap in the trees and whipsawed what he called a “40-yard hook” to within 15 feet of the hole, a small miracle.

As he pulled the final golf ball out of the hole, he fell into the arms of his caddie and then his mother, Molly.  Noticeably absent was his wife, Angie, who is usually a towering presence in Bubba”s entourage.  A former WBNA player, she stands an inch taller than her 6’ 3” husband.  She had stayed in Florida to attend to their 6 week old adopted son, Caleb.  No wonder when asked if this was a dream come true, Bubba said,  “I never got this far in my dreams.”

Then there is Bobby.  Bobby is the recently fired football coach at the University of Arkansas, Bobby Petrino.  On April Fool’s Day, he committed the ultimate “fool’s errand” when he tried to get people to believe ridiculous things.

Petrina was involved in a single-vehicle accident on his Harley Davidson where he suffered broken ribs and other injuries, but attempted to cover up other facts released days later in a police report.  He later confessed to having a passenger, 25-year-0ld Jessica Dorrell, a football employee with whom he had an “inappropriate relationship.” 

Petrino’s initial account of the accident was that he was alone, 20 miles away from campus, after a day at the lake with his wife.  He and Dorrell asked a driver who approached the scene to see a bloodied Petrino struggling out of a ditch with Dorrell not to call 9-1-1.  Although  he went out of his way to refer to his relationship with Jessica Dorrell in the past tense when he was put on paid leave, cellphone records show the pair stayed in almost-daily contact both before and after the motorcycle accident. 

Dorrell was hired by Petrino out of a pool of 158 candidates and given a $20,000 payment from personal funds. Arkansas’ athletic director said Tuesday the interview and hiring process for Dorrell was very rapid compared to typical university practice. The young lady played volleyball at Arkansas and was engaged to the university swimming and diving operations director, Josh Morgan, who has reportedly left that job since news of the affair broke.

Petrino has a history of controversial departures from his previous places of employment.  He bolted for the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons less than one year into a 10-year, $26 million contract at the University of Louisville and months later fled the NFL for Fayetteville, leaving notes in lockers of players and coaches to inform them of his decision to take the Arkansas job.  His contract at Arkansas had an annual salary of $3.5 million.  Because he was fired with cause, he will not receive a buyout or settlement.  One of his final statements said it all:  “As a result of my personal mistakes, we will not get to finish our goal of building a championship program.”

One is named Bubba.  The other is named Bobby.  One is on top of the world.  The other isn’t.  One smiles into the face of his wife and newly adopted son.  The other looks away from the face of his wife and four children.  What makes the difference between Bubba and Bobby?  In a word, it is choices.  It is relationships. 

Think about it.  One is a story of a dream not even imagined coming true.  The other is a story of a cover-up not covered up.  Mark it well, what you say is who you want to be and what you do is who you are!  

After over three decades of managing and motivating people in the local church as a pastor, I now spend my waking hours heralding the call for living in redemptive, reconciled relationships. I simply call them “stay in the room” relationships.