April 19, 2008

Rites of Passage - Mentoring - and Golf

Marcel Proust said the real journey of discovery is not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes. That is what has happened to me as a result of my involvement with man-making activities. Now, everywhere I look, I’m seeing boys, seeing opportunities to affirm young males, feeling the sadness and tragedy when I see the report of a boy self-destructing on the evening news, and even seeing the power in rites of passage activities watching golf on TV.

When Trevor Immelman put on the prestigious Green Jacket at Augusta, GA, after winning the Masters Golf Tournament, it was the final act in a powerful rite of passage into a very select men’s circle. After years of preparation, instruction by mentors, endless practice, countless personal and professional trials, he was tested at the Masters by the best golfers in the world… including Tiger Woods, and he came out victorious. It was indeed and initiation by fire.

What I loved about his story was that Gary Player, himself a three-time Master’s champion, had taken Trevor under his wing and intentionally mentored him in the years, weeks, and just prior to the fierce competition of the Masters tournament. Player even called Trevor’s cell phone as the tournament was heating up, when he had a chance of winning, and left a message telling him to believe in himself and that he WOULD win his first major title on Sunday, the final day.

After putting on the green jacket, Immelman dedicated his victory to his family, but also to Gary Player. He said that, [The message from Gary Player] meant an awful lot to me. I played it to my whole family on speaker-phone. But Mr. Player has been at me all week since we played together here on Tuesday, telling me to believe in myself and that I am good enough to do it.

I am absolutely certain that the words of his beloved and respected mentor were pounding in Trevor’s ears as he approached those last few challenging, no, terrifying holes that stood between him and his lifetime dream. For me, with my new eyes, this story is more proof about the power of heart-to-heart, one-on-one, man-making and rites of passage. It made me very, very happy.

If you saw this victory, what was your reaction?

Who was there for you in the way that Gary Player was there for Trevor Immelman?

Is there a young male around you who could use some informal coaching and the occasional blessing?

1 comment:

  1. David9:16 PM

    Great Blog!
    Thank you for your voice.

    It's amazing what can happen when men come together not only to help challenge/support each other... but it's really amazing the long term impact a powerful man can have on a boy.

    Not sure anyone really knows how powerful it can be.

    As the saying goes.. If a man doesn't have a boy looking up to him.. and a boy doesn't have a man to look up to- both are being hurt.


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