Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella Talks Sea Island and the Ponce!

Ginella

Gents –

Glad to see the The Ponce continues to get recognized / acknowledged by our F.O.P., Matt Ginella –

Sea Island made #3 on Matty G’s Best Buddies Trips, as featured on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive recently.  Perhaps some of you saw this already –

Please see attached video clip:

http://www.golfchannel.com/media/morning-drive-monday-matt-ginella-buddy-trip-number-3-sea-island-082213/

This January will mark 6 years since we were first Ambushed…and the impression still resonates!

Thanks Matt!

I hope everyone is doing well…

320 Days Until Ponce XII –

Neil

 

More Video: Ginella’s Top 10 Buddy Trip Destinations: (Courtesy Golf Channel’s Morning Drive)

1. Bandon Dunes  (PDL 2016?)

2. Pinehurst

3. Sea Island (PDL 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014)

4. Pebble Beach

5. Austin

6. Kiawah Island

7. Greenbrier (PDL 2011 & 2013)

8. Scottsdale (PDL 2003 & 2006)

9. Myrtle Beach

10. Las Vegas

Merion Golf Weekend (October 5-6) Auction

Merion

Thought I would pass this along…

If you or any of your colleagues are interested in bidding on the Merion GC weekend golf package (Oct 5-6, 2013), please let me know.

Description is below.

All $ go to First Tee of Greater Charleston (tax-deductible).

Could be a great client outing, or special buddies trip up to Philadelphia…

The bidding is “open” now, and closes at end of The First Tee Kiawah Gala event (live action) tomorrow night (Friday, 9/6) about 9:30pm.  If you were interested in bidding now and trying to get it, there is a way to proxy in ongoing bids on Friday during the live action.

To submit a bid now, email Staci below with your contact info – and copy me on the email. (neil.thomson@fordwallace.com)

Go Hoos,

Neil

 

The Merion Philadelphia Golf Trip info – this item is now officially open for bidding – starting at $3,000.  If you have friends, family, or colleagues not attending the event that would like to bid on this item, please feel free to forward the info.  The auctioneer will have the highest bid from the email auction in hand – at the live auction, the item will be awarded to whichever bid is highest whether it be someone in the room or from an email bid.

  • To bid:

o   Email Staci L. Bennett, Executive Director, The First Tee of Greater Charleston at Staci@charlestonfirsttee.com

o   Include your first and last name, and max bid

 

 The Merion Weekend

  • On Saturday, October 5th, golf for 3 with a member at Medford Village Country Club, a private golf club just outside of downtown Philadelphia. Medford Village Country Club is ranked #3 for the most challenging course in the area for Private Clubs. Medford Village Country Club is an occasional host site for US Open Qualifying and PGA Qualifying for the Club Professionals.

 

  • On Sunday, October 6th, golf for 3 with a member at Merion Golf Club, host of five US opens, most recently in 2013. To all true golfers, the name conjures up stirring images. Merion’s East Course, always on everyone’s list of favorites, is a traditional golf club where history has been made time and time again. Merion Golf Club is ranked # 9 in the World Rankings. The package also includes lunch on the veranda at Merion Golf Club, a tour of the history in the Merion Clubhouse, and full use of Club Facilities at both courses.

Message Mismatch: Make The Game More Fun, Speed up Play and Spend More Time Looking For Balls?

Arnie

By Westray Battle

The recent campaign by the USGA, “While We’re Young” intended to speed up pace of play is great for the game.  Unfortunately, the recent golf course design trend to grow large areas of high fescue or “no mow” grass is directly at odds with improving pace of play or making the game more fun for most amateurs.

There is nothing more frustrating in golf than hitting a decent shot-say 10 yards off of the fairway—and not being able to find your ball because the fescue is so high. While U.S. Opens with brutal rough setups are legendary at courses like Shinnecock  Hills, these areas add significant time to searching for balls, increasing round times to five hours and significantly reduce the enjoyment of the game. Weekend amateurs most often do not have the benefit of forecaddies and thousands of spectators to help find their ball. What’s good for the U.S. Open is ludicrous for everyday golf.

Also, it is important to note that despite the rugged, high fescue at Shinnecock Hills, you can most often find your ball there. All too often, lesser courses overdo fescue in areas that are generally not out of play, and in addition, allow the fescue to layer over top of itself and create near certainty that the ball would be lost or unplayable.

These fescue areas provide a very scenic and natural look, reduce golf maintenance hours and costs, require less irrigation, increase natural habitat and require less pesticides. While these are all good things, it must be noted that that when overdone too close and too often to greens and fairways, it comes at a detrimental cost to the enjoyment and length of time playing the game. This ultimately drives new players from the game and is exactly the opposite type of measure we should be employing to our golf courses.

While we’re on the topic, I find this is the most widely misinterpreted rule in golf. Although people seem to understand that when they lose a ball, they are required to go back to “as nearly as possible” where they hit the original shot and take a one-shot penalty, people rarely do. (especially in the Ponce with higher handicappers.) With today’s push for faster rounds, it seems ridiculous to walk back over 200 yards to play again. Playing partners should encourage playing more provisional balls when the ball lands in these hard-to-find, high fescue grass areas.

After searching for five minutes and failing to find their ball, most players incorrectly treat the lost ball like a Red Lateral hazard and drop the ball with a penalty of one stroke. (So if they lost their drive, they are hitting 3.) This is preposterous. While playing in a recent tournament with a high single-digit handicapper, he did this routinely without guilt. This has become common practice.

I played last week with British Captain Dom Clive and in that same situation, (Drive lost out of bounds – no provisional – lost ball – walking) he would employ an elegant solution, and drop in the closest spot most likely where his ball was in the fescue and lay 3, hitting his 4th shot. (He assumed that he would have had to drop and re-play from the teeing ground and hit his third shot.) This also is against the rules of golf, but a much fairer solution than treating the lost ball like a lateral hazard.

Solutions

We must encourage Golf Club Committees and Greens keepers to properly maintain these areas so it looks great, but is also playable and not too difficult to find your ball. (It should be fine and not layer over itself – this is the sign of too much fertilizer, water or poor species selection.)

We must urge the USGA to implement a rule, like Captain Clive’s solution, that creates a play without having to walk all the way back to the previous shot, killing pace of play.

In the meantime, we must suggest our playing partners to hit more provisional balls when they hit into hard-to-find fescue areas. I would also suggest that tournament chairmen explain proper procedures for lost balls so that everybody is playing under the same set of rules.

 

An Interesting Conversation about the problem on Golf Club Atlas: Is Tall Fescue Overdone?

http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php?topic=35696.0;wap2

 

Tips for Improving Pace Of Play

http://www.usga.org/MicroSiteContent.aspx?id=21474855490

 

Improving pace of play: 5 entities that do it right

http://www.golfchannel.com/news/randall-mell/pace-of-play-five-entities-that-do-it-right/

 

Read the Rules for Lost Balls

c. Ball Not Found Within Five Minutes

If a ball is lost as a result of not being found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it, the player must play a ball, under penalty of one stroke, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5).

 

Leaving The Heartbreak Behind

Phil-Mickelson-US-Open-2013_2960284

By Westray Battle

 

Sometimes in an individual sport on the world’s greatest stages, a player will harness the weight of the rooting world on their shoulders and take the fans on an epic quest right to the brink of history and glory—only to be harshly dismissed as a mortal runner-up.

The loss is so devastating, so heart-stopping, so gut wrenching, that it is hard to let it go. I often have trouble sleeping after these epic near-misses, imagining how the competitors are coping with just how close they came to history. Sports reveal character in those difficult moments and I can’t get enough of watching, of sharing in the agony – the postgame interviews, the days that follow, if and when they surface afterwards. I can’t get enough of watching the Silver medal finisher in the Olympics, because if they came close but lost Gold, their reaction is as cruelly captivating as a car wreck.

Ultimately, perspective tells us that the journey was what it was all about, despite the outcome. When the Gods take you to the gates of Heaven and then turn you aside at the last possible moment, this is the true test of the soul. We love and understand a little more about the human condition by watching these heroic, historic performances end in utter failure and disappointment. Because sports teaches us about life – that most of us will fail more often than we triumph- but we are better for having entered the arena than having watched from afar.

In Tom Watson’s case in 2009, the moment was heightened, because we knew that it could never happen again. At 59 years old, the stars had aligned that weekend at Turnberry, and we all knew Tom could never turn back the clock and put himself in that position again. But maybe just that one day, a 9-iron instead of an 8 on the final hole would have done it, one simple up and down from the fringe would have made history, but it was not to be as Stuart Cink would play the undeserving villain and win the anti-climactic playoff. After several sleepless nights, I was finally able to realize that it was really about the journey – not the result. For those four days in Scotland, Tom Watson had engendered himself to three generations of fans, had defined the word ‘class’, had made me want to be a better man, to work harder, reach higher, dream bigger and taught us all how to imagine and be children again. But just as fast – just as unflappable and a man of 40 years that he seemed for 72 holes – he looked tired, spent and much more like 70 years old in the playoff as Father Time had said, “Enough.”

For Phil Mickelson at Merion, it was the five other times he had finished second, when he had come so close to winning the Open that created the drama. It started in 1999 at Pinehurst, when as his first child was about to be born, he wore the beeper and said he would walk off the course in any situation if it went off.  Payne Steward would make three clutch putts on the last 3 holes, including a 25 footer on 16 and a 15 footer on 18 to win by one. Stewart grabbed his face and  told him famously “You’re going to be a father” after ripping his heart out. Stewart would die tragically in a plane crash just 4 months later.

Fast forward 14 years later and Phil flew home from San Diego for his daughter’s 8th grade graduation. (the same daughter who was born the day after the first heartbreak in 1999) He flies all night to arrive at the US Open at 4am for a 7am tee time and goes out and shoots 67 and takes the lead. The symmetry of it all on Father’s day, of what Payne Stewart taught him about fatherhood and the fragility of life, how to seize the opportunity and the moment, and the five previous second place finishes. When Mickelson holed out for an Eagle 2 on the 10th hole, it was his time, his destiny. He would wipe away all the memories at Pinehurst, Bethpage, Shinnecock and Winged Foot – who could forget 2006 at Winged Foot when par would have won the Open, but he said after a terrible double bogey, “I’m such an idiot.” But it was not to be – this would be like the rest – so close, but not quite- second again.

I attended my first PGA Tour event in 1995 at the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale. Phil Mickelson beat Justin Leonard in a three-hole playoff. After sprinting around the course that afternoon hopscotching from playoff hole to hole, I waited in-line and got Mickelson to sign my badge. Caught up in the moment after my first golf tournament, the excitement of the playoff and my 21 year-old exuberance, I asked Phil, “Ryder cup-like pressure and atmosphere out there today, huh Phil?” He smiled, signed my badge, and said, “No, not quite!”

The tournament ended on Saturday to accommodate Super Bowl XXX (Cowboys 27-Steelers 17 – Steelers’ first loss in a Super Bowl, Neil O’Donnell game losing interception to Larry Brown – heartbreak of a similar variety that solidified Bill Cowher’s vision quest, which unlike these tales would end happily ten years later in Super Bowl XL, when the Steelers would beat the Seahawks after reaching at least the AFC Championship game five other times without winning the title over the previous dozen years.

But what we cannot forget is that without the losses and the heartbreak, you can’t have the triumphs. How much less gratifying would the Red Sox World Series title in 2004 have meant without all those years since their last title in 1918. How much sweeter was it after they overcame their 3-0 ALCS lead and 4-3 deficit in the 9th inning of game 4 to their hated-rival Yankees?

We often witness children can often absorb defeat much easier than their parents and let it go far quicker. Almost symmetrically, it seems like an older Tom Watson could handle the loss better than Phil could. I wonder how long Phil will hold onto this recent heartbreak. At 43 years old now, I wonder how many chances Phil has left to win the Open? A man reveals his character in the face of adversity and I will keep dreaming of that Open with a different ending. But if we don’t get to watch that movie, we must embrace the experience, the journey, the moment.

A couple of quotes speak to the condition better than I could:

“Tomorrow we will run faster and stretch our arms further….” – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

 

These are my three most heartbreaking near-misses of the 21st Sporting Century.

Father Time

2009 British Open at Turnberry – 59 year old Tom Watson bogeyed the final hole on Sunday and would lose to Stuart Cink in a playoff, who was born two years before Tom won his first of six Claret jugs in 1975. One eight-foot putt was all that separated Watson from being the oldest majors champion, by 13 years – Jack Nicklaus, 46, at the Masters in 1986. “It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn’t it?” Watson said. “And it was almost. Almost. The dream almost came true.”

The White Whale

2009 Wimbledon Final when Roger Federer outlasted Andy Roddick in five sets, winning 16-14 in the epic fifth set. (longest Grand Slam final in history at over 4 hours and 77 games) Roddick would lose to Federer for the 3rd time in the Wimbledon final and 4th time in a major. (Wimbledon 2004, 2005, 2009 and US Open in 2006)

The Monkey on His Back

2013 – Phil Mickelson surrenders the lead of his long coveted US Open Title at Merion to Justin Rose on the back nine on Sunday. He had held the lead since the first round on Thursday only to finish second for a record 6th time since 1999.

 

 

I Love Watching You Play

Sportsmanship

 

Steve Henson’s piece from The Postgame from last year contains some great insight and advice.

Happy Father’s Day!

Wes

 

What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent — And What Makes A Great One

By Steve Henson, February 15, 2012

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/more-family-fun/201202/what-makes-nightmare-sports-parent

Hundreds of college athletes were asked to think back: “What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?”

Their overwhelming response: “The ride home from games with my parents.”

The informal survey lasted three decades, initiated by two former longtime coaches who over time became staunch advocates for the player, for the adolescent, for the child. Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC are devoted to helping adults avoid becoming a nightmare sports parent, speaking at colleges, high schools and youth leagues to more than a million athletes, coaches and parents in the last 12 years.

Those same college athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame.

Their overwhelming response: “I love to watch you play.”

There it is, from the mouths of babes who grew up to become college and professional athletes. Whether your child is just beginning T-ball or is a travel-team soccer all-star or survived the cuts for the high school varsity, parents take heed.

The vast majority of dads and moms that make rides home from games miserable for their children do so inadvertently. They aren’t stereotypical horrendous sports parents, the ones who scream at referees, loudly second-guess coaches or berate their children. They are well-intentioned folks who can’t help but initiate conversation about the contest before the sweat has dried on their child’s uniform.

In the moments after a game, win or lose, kids desire distance. They make a rapid transition from athlete back to child. And they’d prefer if parents transitioned from spectator – or in many instances from coach – back to mom and dad. ASAP.

Brown, a high school and youth coach near Seattle for more than 30 years, says his research shows young athletes especially enjoy having their grandparents watch them perform.

“Overall, grandparents are more content than parents to simply enjoy watching the child participate,” he says. “Kids recognize that.”

A grandparent is more likely to offer a smile and a hug, say “I love watching you play,” and leave it at that.

Meanwhile a parent might blurt out …

“Why did you swing at that high pitch when we talked about laying off it?”

“Stay focused even when you are on the bench.”

“You didn’t hustle back to your position on defense.”

“You would have won if the ref would have called that obvious foul.”

“Your coach didn’t have the best team on the field when it mattered most.”

And on and on.

Sure, an element of truth might be evident in the remarks. But the young athlete doesn’t want to hear it immediately after the game. Not from a parent. Comments that undermine teammates, the coach or even officials run counter to everything the young player is taught. And instructional feedback was likely already mentioned by the coach.

“Let your child bring the game to you if they want to,” Brown says.

Brown and Miller, a longtime coach and college administrator, don’t consider themselves experts, but instead use their platform to convey to parents what three generations of young athletes have told them.

“Everything we teach came from me asking players questions,” Brown says. “When you have a trusting relationship with kids, you get honest answers. When you listen to young people speak from their heart, they offer a perspective that really resonates.”

So what’s the takeaway for parents?

“Sports is one of few places in a child’s life where a parent can say, ‘This is your thing,’ ” Miller says. “Athletics is one of the best ways for young people to take risks and deal with failure because the consequences aren’t fatal, they aren’t permanent. We’re talking about a game. So they usually don’t want or need a parent to rescue them when something goes wrong.

“Once you as a parent are assured the team is a safe environment, release your child to the coach and to the game. That way all successes are theirs, all failures are theirs.”

And discussion on the ride home can be about a song on the radio or where to stop for a bite to eat. By the time you pull into the driveway, the relationship ought to have transformed from keenly interested spectator and athlete back to parent and child:

“We loved watching you play. … Now, how about that homework?”

FIVE SIGNS OF A NIGHTMARE SPORTS PARENT

Nearly 75 percent of kids who play organized sports quit by age 13. Some find that their skill level hits a plateau and the game is no longer fun. Others simply discover other interests. But too many promising young athletes turn away from sports because their parents become insufferable.

Even professional athletes can behave inappropriately when it comes to their children. David Beckham was recently ejected from a youth soccer field for questioning an official. New Orleans radio host Bobby Hebert, a former NFL quarterback, publicly dressed down LSU football coach Les Miles after Alabama defeated LSU in the BCS title game last month. Hebert was hardly unbiased: His son had recently lost his starting position at LSU.

Mom or dad, so loving and rational at home, can transform into an ogre at a game. A lot of kids internally reach the conclusion that if they quit the sport, maybe they’ll get their dad or mom back.

As a sports parent, this is what you don’t want to become. This is what you want to avoid:

• Overemphasizing sports at the expense of sportsmanship: The best athletes keep their emotions in check and perform at an even keel, win or lose. Parents demonstrative in showing displeasure during a contest are sending the wrong message. Encouragement is crucial — especially when things aren’t going well on the field.

• Having different goals than your child: Brown and Miller suggest jotting down a list of what you want for your child during their sport season. Your son or daughter can do the same. Vastly different lists are a red flag. Kids generally want to have fun, enjoy time with their friends, improve their skills and win. Parents who write down “getting a scholarship” or “making the All-Star team” probably need to adjust their goals. “Athletes say their parents believe their role on the team is larger than what the athlete knows it to be,” Miller says.

• Treating your child differently after a loss than a win: Almost all parents love their children the same regardless of the outcome of a game. Yet often their behavior conveys something else. “Many young athletes indicate that conversations with their parents after a game somehow make them feel as if their value as a person was tied to playing time or winning,” Brown says.

• Undermining the coach: Young athletes need a single instructional voice during games. That voice has to be the coach. Kids who listen to their parents yelling instruction from the stands or even glancing at their parents for approval from the field are distracted and can’t perform at a peak level. Second-guessing the coach on the ride home is just as insidious.

• Living your own athletic dream through your child: A sure sign is the parent taking credit when the child has done well. “We worked on that shot for weeks in the driveway,” or “You did it just like I showed you” Another symptom is when the outcome of a game means more to a parent than to the child. If you as a parent are still depressed by a loss when the child is already off playing with friends, remind yourself that it’s not your career and you have zero control over the outcome.

FIVE SIGNS OF AN IDEAL SPORTS PARENT

Let’s hear it for the parents who do it right. In many respects, Brown and Miller say, it’s easier to be an ideal sports parent than a nightmare. “It takes less effort,” Miller says. “Sit back and enjoy.” Here’s what to do:

• Cheer everybody on the team, not just your child: Parents should attend as many games as possible and be supportive, yet allow young athletes to find their own solutions. Don’t feel the need to come to their rescue at every crisis. Continue to make positive comments even when the team is struggling.

• Model appropriate behavior: Contrary to the old saying, children do as you do, not as you say. When a parent projects poise, control and confidence, the young athlete is likely to do the same. And when a parent doesn’t dwell on a tough loss, the young athlete will be enormously appreciative.

• Know what is suitable to discuss with the coach: The mental and physical treatment of your child is absolutely appropriate. So is seeking advice on ways to help your child improve. And if you are concerned about your child’s behavior in the team setting, bring that up with the coach. Taboo topics: Playing time, team strategy, and discussing team members other than your child.

• Know your role: Everyone at a game is either a player, a coach, an official or a spectator. “It’s wise to choose only one of those roles at a time,” Brown says. “Some adults have the false impression that by being in a crowd, they become anonymous. People behaving poorly cannot hide.” Here’s a clue: If your child seems embarrassed by you, clean up your act.

• Be a good listener and a great encourager: When your child is ready to talk about a game or has a question about the sport, be all ears. Then provide answers while being mindful of avoiding becoming a nightmare sports parent. Above all, be positive. Be your child’s biggest fan. “Good athletes learn better when they seek their own answers,” Brown says.

And, of course, don’t be sparing with those magic words: “I love watching you play.”

 

A Win for the Ages…and the Aged

com_130607_Brooklyn_Handicap

By Neil D. Thomson

Two of the coolest aspects of being a sports fan are: (1) routinely, sports produces live, unscripted drama that Hollywood and reality television could never invent and never match; and (2) every so often a moment in sports becomes a constellation of life lessons and values, so much so that the moment itself transcends sports into something even greater and more profound.

This is a story about perseverance and about the old guy winning.

For approximately two and a half minutes at Belmont Park on June 7, 2013 we had one of those transcendent moments.  Enter the Brooklyn Handicap – a Grade II $200,000 thoroughbred race and Friday’s undercard to the following day’s Belmont Stakes.  Like the famous Triple Crown main event, the Brooklyn is a grueling mile-and-a-half race – but unlike the Belmont, it is not limited to only three year-olds.  The Brooklyn is open to three year-olds and up.  Enter Calidoscopio, a ten year-old bay from Argentina.  Yes, 10.  Trained by Mike Pupye and ridden by Aaron Gryder, he went off at middling 7-1 odds.

Calidoscopio was best known for winning the Breeders Cup Marathon last fall at Santa Anita – where he closed late to win after making a late charge.  But earlier this year, Calidoscopio finished fifth at the Tokyo City Handicap back at Santa Anita, and he entered the Brooklyn under the radar.  After all, a ten year old horse had never before won a graded stakes race on dirt.  Never.  Until June 7, 2013.

It wasn’t just that this old-timer won the race though – it is how he won the race.  From 22+ lengths back going into the final half-mile, Calidoscopio is not even on the wide angle lens through much of the race!!!…And then…

What makes it even better is that it was an undercard; it was in the slop; the grandstands were mostly empty – and here comes this unheralded ten-year old Argentine!  To me, Calidoscopio’s hard charge to win this race evokes the essence of sports and competition.  This was not overhyped and fabricated.  This was not the main event.  Rather, this was a deep cut.  A gem.  It occurred at a time, place and circumstance least expected.  This was a horse who persevered and refused to quit; this was a jockey who knew exactly when to press – a jockey who learned of Calidoscopio’s rare ability to wait and lurk – and then charge! – similar to what he did at the Breeders Cup Marathon.  Calidoscopio’s achievement was not for the mass media; not for the hype of it – but he achieved it for the most pure reasons of all in sport: because he loves to compete, even if not many are there to witness it.  It probably won’t win an ESPY, but that is fine and maybe even better.

This was the aging Jimmy Connors at the ’91 Open six-shooting past Krickstein.

This was the aging Billy Chapel reaching back for One More Day of Summer to deliver the perfect game at Yankee Stadium.

This was the perfect race.  Yes, the Argentine in the slop!

I hope you enjoy this clip (courtesy of Daily Racing Form) as much as I do:

http://www.drf.com/news/belmont-calidoscopio-comes-far-back-win-brooklyn

Congrats, Calidoscopio –  Happy Father’s Day !

 


Neil D. Thomson is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Ponce De Leon.

 

Unsportsmanlike Conduct – 15 yards?

Clay postcard 2013

After Wes’ 7 & 5 singles victory over Clay on June 1st at Ponce XI, one might consider this postcard spiking the football….nah!

 

 

ESPN: Oakey “A Catalyst” for Deerfield Lacrosse Juggernaut

bos_e_finigan_600

Six Deerfield Academy graduates have played in the Ponce, including Wes Battle, Chris Harrick, LT Thompson, Adam Sichol, Kirk Bedell and Henry Oakey.

While Henry is getting set for his 3rd Ponce in just 16 days, ESPN wrote a great piece about the 14 DA alums playing or coaching on the 16 teams that make up the field of this year’s NCAA Lacrosse tournament. Deerfield Coach Chip Davis credits Henry with igniting the tradition on the 1993 and 1994 DA squads, where he suited up with Thompson and Battle for the Big Green. Check it out….

ESPN: Deerfield Lax Continues Tradition of Excellance – May 11, 2013

The Beginning: Every elite program has a defining period when it makes its ascension to the top and remains there.

Davis attributes much of the start of Deerfield’s reign at the top to a midfielder out of Charlottesville, Va. named Henry Oakey. Oakey came to Deerfield in 1993 and would go on to star at the University of Virginia and graduate with a National Championship (1999).

“He was one of those kids who I would consider a catalyst,” Davis recalled. “I felt like ever since he got to Deerfield we have not had a losing season. We had three good years in the mid 1990’s where we only lost two games a year and since about 2000 we have been at the top of the league each year. “

Golfer’s Letter to His Younger Self

Henry Oakey shared one of his favorite letters- an excerpt from a book, Extraordinary Golf by Fred Shoemaker

 

Dear Younger Me :

I can’t play golf anymore. I tried to swing the club the other day, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. The best I can do now is sometimes take walks on the course, but my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be so I don’t see much. I have a lot of time to sit and think now, and I often think about the game.
It was my favorite game. I played most of my adult life. Thousands of rounds, thousands of hours practicing. As I look back, I guess I had a pretty good time at it. But now that I can’t do it anymore, I wish I had done it differently.
It’s funny, but with all the time I spent playing golf, I never thought I was a real golfer. I never felt good enough to really belong out there. It doesn’t make much sense, since I scored better than average and a lot of people envied my game, but I always felt that if I was just a little better or a little more consistent, then I’d feel really good. I’d be satisfied with my game. But I never was. It was always “One of these days I’ll get it” or “One day I’ll get there” and now here I am. I can’t play anymore, and I never got there.
I met a whole lot of different people out on the course. That was one of the best things about the game. But aside from my regular partners and a few others, I don’t feel like I got to know many of those people very well. I know they didn’t really get to know me. At times they probably didn’t want to. I was pretty occupied with my own game most of the time and didn’t have much time for anyone else, especially if I wasn’t playing well.
So why am I writing you this letter anyway, just to complain? Not really. Like I said, my golfing experience wasn’t that bad. But it could have been so much better, and I see that so clearly now. I want to tell you, so you can learn from it. I don’t want you getting to my age and feeling the same regrets I’m feeling now.
I wish, I wish. Sad words, I suppose, but necessary. I wish I could have played the game with more joy, more freedom. I was always so concerned with “doing it right” that I never seemed to be able to enjoy just doing it at all. I was so hard on myself, never satisfied, always expecting more. Who was I trying to please? Certainly not myself, because I never did. If there were people whose opinions were important enough to justify all that self-criticism, I never met them.
I wish I could have been a better playing partner. I wasn’t a bad person to be with, really, but I wish I had been friendlier and gotten to know people better. I wish I could have laughed and joked more and given people more encouragement. I probably would have gotten more from them, and I would have loved that. There were a few bad apples over the years, but most of the people I played with were friendly, polite, and sincere. They really just wanted to make friends and have a good time. I wish I could have made more friends and had a better time.
I’m inside a lot now and I miss the beauty of the outdoors. For years when I was golfing I walked through some of the most beautiful places on earth, and yet I don’t feel I really saw them. Beautiful landscapes, trees, flowers, animals, the sky, and the ocean – how could I have missed so much? What was I thinking of that was so important – my grip, my back swing, my stance? Sure, I needed to think about those sometimes, but so often as to be oblivious to so much beauty? And all the green – the wonderful, deep, lush color of green! My eyes are starting to fail. I wish I had used them better so I would have more vivid memories now.
So what is it that I’m trying to say? I played the type of game that I thought I should play, to please the type of people that I thought I should please. But it didn’t work. My game was mine to play, but I gave it away. It’s a wonderful game. Please, don’t lose yours. Play a game that you want to play. Play a game that gives you joy and satisfaction and makes you a better person to your family and friends. Play with enthusiasm, play with freedom. Appreciate the beauty of nature and the people around you. Realize how lucky you are to be able to do it. All too soon your time will be up, and you won’t be able to play anymore. Play a game that enriches your life.
Best wishes . . . don’t waste a minute of golf . . . someday it will be gone!
Signed,
me

Sam Snead, Lawson Hamilton and My Grandfather George Aide by This Year’s Chairman

From Michael Aide,  the Chairman of this year’s Ponce, which returns to the Greenbrier…

Here is some Snead literature, which includes my granddad George.

PDL - The Senior Years

Also, an obituary below about their other good friend, Lawson Hamilton, gives you an idea of what a good run this crew had. It was really something else to watch them all in action.

Longtime Coal Magnate and Philanthropist Dies
The Register-Herald (West Virginia)
November 14, 2007

Lawson Hamilton, a longtime coal operator and civic leader known throughout West Virginia for his community spirit and philanthropy, died Wednesday.

Hamilton, a Lewisburg resident, died at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville from complications of lung cancer, the State Journal reported. He was 84.

“Lawson is one of those special people in West Virginia who will be truly missed,” John Snider, vice president of external affairs for Arch Coal Inc.’s eastern region, told the Charleston Daily Mail. “He’s a valued friend from over the years, not only in the coal industry but the state of West Virginia.”

Hamilton sold much of his holdings to Arch Mineral Corp. for $57 million in 1989, ending four decades as a West Virginia coal kingpin.

“I think Lawson would epitomize the height of any West Virginia coal leader that I’ve known or been associated with,” said Ben Greene, retired from the former state Mining and Reclamation Association.

“He was such a caring and giving individual,” Greene said. “He took extremely good care of his employees. He treated everyone alike.”

Hamilton was well known as a philanthropist. He loved the arts and was a longtime riverboat captain, responsible for buying and refurbishing the P.A. Denny.

He was the co-founder of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund and was active in the Presbytery of West Virginia and in his church, Old Stone Presbyterian in Lewisburg.

He helped fund a cancer unit at West Virginia University; a school, chapel and hospital wing in Berea, Ky.; the Charleston Light Opera Guild; the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta Festival; and many other projects and causes.

“He was an absolute giant among men in terms of his generosity and compassion for others,” said Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat and former coal broker who knew Hamilton for more than 30 years. “He did more for his fellow human beings throughout his lifetime than I think we’ll ever truly know.”

Hamilton also actively supported the Boy Scouts, 4-H programs, Duke University Children’s Hospital, Concord University, Greenbrier East High School and other Greenbrier Valley endeavors.

“Lawson Hamilton was a great philanthropist,” said Susan Adkins, executive director of Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg. “The generosity of he and his family has had a huge impact on the success of numerous organizations and individuals throughout the Greenbrier Valley and the state. He had a great love of the arts. The Hamilton family has been integral to the restoration and the continuation of Carnegie Hall. Lawson’s generosity will live perpetually through Carnegie Hall …”

“Lawson was truly a remarkable man,” said Kathy Sawyer, executive director of Greenbrier Valley Theatre. “He was kind and generous to the entire community, and I think his love of music and the arts was infectious and was only matched by the love he had for his family and friends. He brought so much joy to so many people.”

Greene noted Hamilton often donated anonymously. That giving included about $500,000 worth of gold leaf in 1990 to adorn the state Capitol dome. He revealed his largess later that decade to join calls for much-needed repairs.

Hamilton was a longtime friend of the late golf legend Sam Snead.

“He and Sam always had something to talk and laugh about. It was always positive,” said Robert Harris, director of sports at The Greenbrier. “He is going to be missed, not only on a personal level but on a community level.”

Hamilton was also a close friend of George Aide, a noted Greenbrier Valley retailer who died in July.

“Mr. Hamilton was one of a kind,” Aide’s son, Gary, said Wednesday. “They (Hamilton and George Aide) were friends for 30 years. They played with Sam Snead and liked to bet on their golf scores.”

Aide’s daughter, Townley, is married to Hamilton’s son, Tripp, and they have a young son, Lawson Hamilton IV.

“Tripp was totally dedicated to his father,” another Aide son, Richard, said. “He never left his side for a year.”

Bill Sweet of Lewisburg, a close friend for more than 25 years, had spoken to Hamilton two days ago. Sweet regularly played cards with Hamilton and could be seen as part of a foursome on The Greenbrier’s golf courses. Through the years, Sweet traveled with Hamilton on fishing trips and several football games.

“I have a lot of wonderful memories of the many good times I had with Lawson,” Sweet said late Wednesday. “I remember the many ramp dinners, fishing trips, ball games, golf outings, birthdays and bridge games we had together. He has been a true friend and will be missed greatly.”

Hamilton also proved a generous political donor, usually for Republican candidates and causes. He contributed more than $105,000 to federal and state campaigns in the last decade, including $25,000 for the inauguration of then-Gov. Cecil Underwood in 1997.

“He was larger than life in his generosity, kindheartedness, business success and in his general love of life,” Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said. “Words cannot express how lonely West Virginia will be without Lawson Hamilton.”

Hamilton was a graduate of Charleston High School and attended Morris Harvey College for two years before serving in the Army during World War II. After returning home, he got into the coal business with his father and later headed Ford Coal Co.

During his career, he was named West Virginia Coal Man of the Year. He was inducted into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame, named recipient of the Spirit of the Valley Award and named outstanding West Virginia Philanthropist of the Year, among many other awards.

 

– Michael Aide “New Diesel”