Sometimes my considerable enthusiasm for sports begins to buckle under all the bull.
Even the theme music for SportsCenter begins to turn my stomach.
I wonder if we take it all too seriously. If athletics are little more than an enticing diversion steering us away from issues that need our attention.
Lately there’s been talk about paying college athletes. It’s an indication how far we’ve strayed from the mission of our higher learning institutions.
Fortunately, for every 50 stories we hear about money and its hold on sports, there’s one that reaches us on a truly inspirational level. Such was the case last weekend when a little-know golfer named Steven Bowditch won the Texas Open in San Antonio.
Bowditch is not your typical PGA journeyman. His demons aren’t so much swing related.
The 30-year-old Australian has been battling clinical depression his entire career. For the millions of us who have watched the illness take a toll on loved ones, he is a ray of light.
Things got so bad for Bowditch in 2006 he attempted suicide. According to a story in Golf Digest, he couldn’t sleep for 12 straight nights and responded by downing a bottle of booze that helped knock him out for two days.
When he woke up, he put on heavy clothes and tried to drown himself. His then-girlfriend found him and saved his life.
Maybe you’re like me and know more than one person who has battled clinical depression. Maybe you know better than I how the situation can turn tragic.
What makes Bowditch extra special is his honesty. During his proudest moment he told a reporter he’s never overcome depression, adding sharp perspective to his ongoing plight.
Such selfless candor transcends golf, sports and money. It goes straight to the heart.
Bowditch walked on the 18th green at the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course last Sunday with a three-foot putt and a two-stroke lead. He missed the borderline gimme, reminding us one more time life is neither fair nor tidy. He regrouped to make his bogey putt and a smile emerged.
Afterwards, Bowditch credited his wife for standing by him through all the ups and downs. She’s the unsung hero who probably deserves a giant cardboard check of her own.
You need not ask who I’m rooting for when the Masters starts Thursday. By now you’ve probably figured it out.
Maybe a green jacket is too much to ask of a man who comes from working-class stock and is ranked 134th in the world. Then again, there’s always hope.
Thanks for reminding us, Steven Bowditch.
Bill Speltz can be reached at 523-5255 or email@example.com.