Greg Ziccardi
Valley Voices

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April 23, 2014
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Vail Daily column: Not always routine

Did you ever believe in the actor that plays a character in a movie so well, you’re convinced, for instance, he actually is Spider Man? Of course you do. That’s why they let Hollywood types give out Academy Awards for things like that. Those actors and actresses are talented and it’s no wonder we admire them. (Very predictable behavior on our part.)

Did you ever think that Santa Claus just might not be real? I’m aghast as I look around the room and see doubt in some of your faces. I for one still keep cookies and milk on the fireplace mantle. I can understand your skepticism, but never lose the faith in something so pure. (Santa’s not going anywhere, and that’s also predictable.)

Did you ever believe an elected politician was serious about a promise? Of course not. We all know promises are too hard to keep when life gets complicated. That analogy is a slam dunk and happens all the time. It’s something that’s solid. (Also predictable and something you can count on.)

Did you ever believe a regular guy could win the most prestigious golf tournament ever invented? That this regular guy named Bubba actually went to the Waffle House to celebrate with a few friends and family after he picked up his cool million and a nice green sport coat? Now that doesn’t happen every day and it needs to be embraced.

For those who don’t follow such things, The Masters is not just another sporting event, and to win it changes lives. I don’t know why this is true, but it must be because the television personalities tell us it is.

Every year, Jim Nantz starts the hype way before the actual event and says things like “The Masters ... unlike anything else ... stay tuned for who will hold the most coveted sport coat ever woven.” It has an impact because Yanni music is always in the background and that makes you think, “This is serious.”

Anyway, Bubba Watson made me cry when he knew The Masters belonged to him in 2014. When he hugged his caddy, then his son, then his wife, it was all I needed to see. I envied him for those moments. I cried for a situation and I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it was because he was experiencing it differently from how the past 74 years’ worth of champions had. Bubba made me feel like he won it for all the guys and gals that have gotten that close to perfection on a golf course.

I’m one of those people that have achieved perfection on a golf course and I assure you, perfection is not the operative word here. I shot a 76 once and that was my perfect day on the course. I drank with a guy in the clubhouse that broke 100 for the first time and that was his perfect day. We didn’t end up at the Waffle House, but we did carry on like regular guys do.

While accepting one of the finest prizes in sports, Bubba did it like any one of us would have. He was gracious and not complicated. He expressed his love for his parents and thanked them for all the sacrifice they made on his behalf. He explained how his wife and son were part of the balance and not secondary to success. He spoke and said words I could understand and words I could laugh at and relate to. He wore his emotions on his sleeve and thus allowed us to cry with him.

You know the guy is special and is blessed with talent the rest of us hacks only pretend to have (or more accurately, could only dream of having). But Bubba doesn’t care to be admired for that exceptional talent. He is just a sweet guy and only pretends that he can’t count “way after 10.”

In spite of his success, he has prioritized and knows life has a few things going on that are more important than being the envy of everyone you consider beneath you. It’s refreshing to know there are some things that are always good and that good things and people sometimes come along unexpected.

Thanks, Bubba, for not being so predictable.

Greg Ziccardi can be reached at gzvail@yahoo.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Apr 23, 2014 08:39PM Published Apr 24, 2014 02:15PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.