Amputee Long Drive opens eyes
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
The Amputee Long Drive Championship got underway Thursday at Tennessee National Thursday in Loudon County.
Along the lines of the long drive competition that doesn’t have amputee in front of its name, it’s a combination of competition, health innovation display and fundraiser for the Jordan Thomas Foundation. But even more, it’s about awareness in a way that sports highlights best.
“It’s to open people’s eyes. Life goes on and just because we’re unable to do some things, does not mean we are unable to do all things,” participant David Meador told Golf Week earlier this month about the event.
Ironic since Meador is blind and putting on an exhibition of golf skills that would impress, even were he able to see.
“We all have limitations and we ought to give more credit to those limitations because, those limitations force us to focus,” Meador, this year’s recipient of the Ben Hogan Award, said of the event organized by Maryville’s Dean Jarvis.
Meador’s words hit home for me. Most folks who have been involved, even at second hand, with the Smoky Mountain Highland Games have heard my father tell them at least one of his ceaseless supply of jokes and stories.
Older than either of us care to acknowledge he’s still been a stubborn force with the games. Golf cart tanks, cell phone batteries and small to medium immovable objects just don’t fare well as he seems to be everywhere checking on everything for weeks at a time in May. And fretting details months ahead of time.
“Hey son, can you help in the beer tent for an hour before the dancing starts on Saturday, then go back and help them close up?”
Me: “Are we talking about the games? Because you know I have no idea of my schedule yet. It’s March. Softball and baseball haven’t even started yet.”
“I know but I may be a man short on the beer tent and want to see.”
Me: “I think in three months you might find some more volunteers.”
And on it goes. Kilt flapping, cigarette and cell phone alternating in one hand and cane in the other. For all that energy, Dad’s been doing this on one leg for quite a while. I doubt even he notices anymore the look of momentary puzzlement and then recognition that follows in his wake. People just don’t associate that energy with someone missing a leg.
And be it the dedication to the spirit of Scotland or to the game it bequeathed to the rest of the world, which as you may have heard is having a bit of attention this week back across the pond, most amputees aren’t looking for help. They just want you to live and interact as who they are, not what they may be missing.
Unless it’s the night we drove off and left dad’s leg sitting at the bar, but that’s another story.
Applications are now open for the George W. Bush Institute’s third annual Warrior Open golf tournament, which features competition among severely wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 36-hole event, will be held Sept. 26-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving. Interested participants must apply online at http://www.bushcenter.org by Aug. 9.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times, who enjoys reading comments posted to this column at http://thedailytimes.com