The Ryder Cup……a Gift of Time Par 4

The Ryder Cup

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Ryder Cup 2016. Day Three. The United States team with the Ryder Cup after the United States victory in the Ryder Cup tournament at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 02, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ryder Cup 2016. Day Three. The United States team with the Ryder Cup after the United States victory in the Ryder Cup tournament at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 02, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

 

…I love the bi-annual return of the Ryder Cup.

Why?

Because it is, to me, a wonderful example of the application of selflessness—to do something for others that is larger than yourself.

Think of it.

Played every two years since world war two, with only one exception in 2001—due to the tragedy of 9/11–-it has been responsible for a swell of patriotism in the hearts of participating players and spectators alike.

The format goes back to “David and Goliath” times when opposing armies would face off. Then the best soldier/competitor from each side would step forward to represent their forces. The two opposing warriors would fight to the death—winner take all, the losing army becoming slaves to the winning side.

In the case of the Ryder Cup, two continents face off with their best golfers facing one another over a three day period to see who can score the most points, winner take all—no slaves however—just a little 20 inch gold cup to hang on to for the next two years.

While other sports have their “moments in the sun”, the Ryder Cup stands alone in the prevailing conditions set for a player to earn the privilege to be a part of the U.S. Team.  For starters, none of the eventually selected players is financially compensated for participation in this international competition.

They take time out of their regular playing schedule—remember these are professional golfers whose primary source of income is their winnings from competing in PGA/USGA sanctioned tournaments—to lend their skills to the playing for possession of the “Ryder Cup”—a little gold chalice—for the next two years. Participation and the privilege of representing their country is their sole compensation.

So who cares, especially if you are not an avid golfer or follower of the sport?

I do.  I care and I am challenged when I consider the prospect of getting involved in endeavors “bigger than myself.” What is it or are those things that would prompt my contribution of time? How much of a giving spirit do I really have. Do I have to be on some national or international stage to make it “worth my while” to contribute a piece of time?  Or, can I take pleasure in participating in a less spectacular setting like helping out my neighbor next door or the veteran down the street, the food bank in my area or my place of worship? Does it have to be spectacular to be significant or special?

At this point I am reminded of a not so pleasant episode I experienced during my tenure in the U.S. Navy. On this particular day I was summoned to the office of my commanding officer for a visit.  During that time my C.O. pointed out to me that I was not anticipating the needs of my people well and he wanted better performance on my part.

I responded to him, ever so politely and pleadingly, while standing at stiff attention, “Sir, I have several things on my plate and do not have any more time I can dedicate to this particular area.”

At this point he got up from his desk, pipe firmly grasped between his teeth, and walked over to where I was standing to have a closer “eye to eye” conversation with me (i.e. his pipe was about three inches from my nose). Very quietly, but with great intensity, he said “…young man, you have all the time there is, they ain’t makin’ any more, and I want to be a higher priority in the time you have.  Do you understand?

My response, of course, was “Sir, yes Sir!”

So what does that little vignette have to do with the Ryder Cup?

Every time I see someone stepping out and lending someone else some of the only time they have, I am reminded to check my own priorities.  Are my priorities in line with my Makers wishes, or does he want me to be a little less self-focused and a little more others minded.

Jesus admonished us (read: me) to pay attention to the widows, orphans and prisoners. I read that as a directive to me to remember that the time I have been given is not all mine to squander on whatever I like.  Time is the most valuable commodity I have. I am convinced there are some eternal expectations for the stewardship of my time.

This is an area in my life that needs constant monitoring or I get lazy. I’m working on it.  How about You? Are you hogging your time or are you making room for others in your schedule?

 

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