By Brenda Black
Just when I thought the world had gone completely mad, two heart-warming headlines highlight the finer side of humanity this week. A teen golfer sees the bigger picture and opts for possibilities instead of quick cash. And an empathetic romantic is chivalrous in the middle of chaos.
In case you missed it, South River (Md.) High freshman Garrett Sauls turned down $5,000 in prize money after he won a putting contest at Lake Presidential Golf Club in Upper Marlboro, Md. Sauls didn't want to jeopardize his amateur status as an athlete for the next three years of high school, so he chose the high road of integrity and let the prize money go. Pretty smart kid.
In stark contrast to the gallery of civilized country club golfing fans where Sauls' defining moment occurred, were the darkened streets of Vancouver, BC, where hoards of angry hockey fans protested their hometown team loss of the Stanley Cup. When riot police forced the sore losers down the street, caught in the mayhem were innocent tourists, Scott Jones and his girlfriend Alex Thomas. Thomas was knocked to the ground by the police. That's when Jones swooped in with a comforting kiss to alleviate her fears and the whole thing was caught on digital film. Pretty sensitive man.
Yes, there is insanity mixed in with these two tales. A putt worth $5,000 seems a bit extreme when people are working weeks on end to earn anything close to that amount. And rioting over a hockey game? Come on, grow up! But the refreshing take-away is a teenager with good sense and a noble man with good manners. Now there are two rare and priceless qualities seldom celebrated in the press.
If given the chance, I'd shake both their hands and tell them thank you for the good example. Their acts of nobility reminded me of a conversation with a friend recently who spoke of his travels all across this great country. He said there are good people everywhere you go; decent, reasonable, kind people who are the rule rather than the exception. I had to agree because I've met many as well.
In the Midwest, we're seeing these “salt-of-the-earth” folks come from near and far to rebuild Joplin. We're watching hard-working farmers who have labored and supplied this country with food and fiber increase in courage and community to match the rising flood waters robbing their homes and harvests in northern Missouri. I know of families holding onto each other and watching their belongings burn to the ground out West. And some are desperate for rain and facing drought so severe they may have to sell out or move from down in Texas.
But if you ask these people from all across the country what matters most, they won't say money or trophies or even their houses or lands. It's not politics or police enforcement. Nor is it professional sports or Hollywood fashion. They'll tell you it's family and faith and the fight to overcome all odds. It's the goodness of friends and the kindness of strangers. It's young people making mature choices and gentlemen showing compassion. What matters most are good choices in tempting and treacherous circumstances.
Why such a fuss over a putt and a kiss? Because this teen's putt and this man's kiss gave me a little bit of hope that some people still know how to choose what is right in a world of madness.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)