This week includes two of my very favorite things as a sports fan. First, this weekend and into Monday is the Opening Day of baseball. I’m not a huge fan of the Sunday opening games and then everyone else on Monday. I liked it better when everyone started on the same day, especially with a bunch of day games. But it is still super awesome. It means spring is here and this year there is some actual hope as a Cubs fan. I’m not super happy that many people are picking us to go to the World Series, but I’m excited to watch them this year and see what happens. The other event happens at the end of the week and is probably my second favorite sporting event of the year behind the Super Bowl, and this is the Masters golf tournament. I love watching the golf, the beauty of the course, and just the prestige and history that surrounds the tournament. This year I’m even reading a book on the Masters, so it should be even more fun. It is one of my dreams to go to Augusta National to watch the Masters one year, even if it is just a practice round.
With these two events, I also think about people who have been important in my life. With Opening Day and the Masters I always think about my Dad. They were also some of his most favorite events and I get my love of the Cubs, and golf, from him. It makes me miss him but also gives me many fond memories of watching both the Cubs and the Masters on TV together. I also think of Dennis Rettke when I think of the Masters. Dennis and I golfed many a round together and he volunteered at the Masters for a few years. I used to try to spot him if I could when I would watch. He would encourage me to try to get tickets, even for a practice round, and he often purchased official Master’s items for me and would also bring me back stuff like glasses and programs. It is fitting that we are having a Men’s Choir concert on the final day of the Masters. I will think about him often that day. His presence is still felt every time we sing.
Events in life help us remember those who have gone before us. Their memory lives on in us as we remember and give thanks for them. I think that is one of the gifts God gives us: things that trigger memories of those we have loved who are now gone. Sometimes these memories make us feel sad. But for me, they often make me feel thankful that I had the opportunity to be impacted by them. They make me feel joy instead of sorrow and I look forward to the events that remind me of them. By enjoying them still and remembering them, they are still alive to me. I hope the Cubs have a great season and I hope for an exciting finish to the Masters. But most of all I look forward to giving thanks to my Savior for the gifts of baseball, golf, my Dad, and Dennis.