Empty your Bucket

Masters 4

BUCKET LIST (noun): a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying

I think we all have our Bucket Lists; I hope you do.  That trip, adventure, goal we want to complete before the clock expires on this earthy world.  One of the very largest items in my personal bucket was a trip to The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia with my Dad, Big Frank.  Well, last April we removed this item from the bucket.

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The trip was everything we hoped for and beyond.  He and I spent three incredible days walking the most beautiful and hallowed ground in golf lore.  Augusta National is golf heaven for the player and fan alike.

Since I was a little kid, the week of The Masters has been very special.  On this week, Dad and I carve out as much possible time together to just sit and soak it all in.  To actually walk the course, smell the perfectly manicured grass, stand just feet away from the worlds’ best players (and even drink a few very economically priced adult beverages) was everything  we dreamed it would be.

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The moment we left those “pearly gates” of Magnolia Lane, we both insisted we needed to come back; as soon as possible.  It was 100% worth it.

And so, we booked the trip to return in 2019.

But, life got in the way; as life tends to do.  Late last year, Big Frank got diagnosed with cancer.  He would have a big battle on his hands.  Masters 2.0 for the McCabe Boys was not going to happen this year.  That said, he has a very positive prognosis and fights the good fight everyday to get back to his full health.

And so we will, per usual, enjoy another Masters from the comfort of home.

First round is less than 48 hours away.

And while I am confident Dad and I will be back in Georgia in April again, you never know?  I am just so thankful we have no regrets and got there when we could.

More so, what prompted me to pen this story today is when I learned one of the most kind, genuine and decent human beings I ever knew passed away; very unexpectedly and far too young.  He led a wonderful life, but I am sure he had some more items on his list he will never get to cross off.

Start emptying your bucket.

Rest easy, Billy.


If I was leading The Masters…

This is not a post about golf.  This is a story about pressure.

For golf and non-golf fans alike, this week is the SuperBowl of the Sport; The Masters.  The 79th edition where the world’s greatest players converge on Augusta, Georgia with the willingness to sacrifice their first born child (Tiger Woods will never know which one on this earth was his first, but pretty sure he would give them up to the golf Gods) in hopes of winning a bright green dinner jacket – yes really.


This week the world has been not-so-surprised by the incredible play of Jordan Speith, a 21 year old phenom from Texas that clearly appears to be the next legend in the sport.  He has broken several records over these last 3 days of competition and looks like the clear favorite to finish it off on Sunday for his first Major Championship.

As young Mr. Speith walked off the 18th green last evening with a commanding lead, I started thinking about how he would manage the next 30 hours until he  hit his next golf shot.  The pressure.  The mind games you must play on yourself.  The media examining every word, action and emotion.

Clearly this “kid” is not phased and likely will handle the situation beautifully.  BUT, what would I do if I were in his silly white golf shoes?

Here is a frame by frame of how athletes like Jordan handle the pressure in the hours before the biggest round/match/game/etc of their lives looming versus how folks like me would bide their time.

8:00PM Saturday:

Jordan Speith:  Sign his card, shake a few hands, give a few hugs and visit the practice green to fine tune a few points of his game.

FM: High five EVERY member of the gallery.  Do a few funnels of beer and sign autographs of hot females ONLY.  Practice, schmactice.

9:30PM Saturday:

JS: Discuss a game plan for Sunday.  Eat a light dinner with family

FM: Straight to the bar.  I’m buying shots, y’all.  Line em up.  Anyone want a steak?  Yup, I’m buying those suckers, too.

11:00PM Saturday

JS: Lights out.  Night night

FM: ‘Hey Tiger, any good strip joints in Augusta?’

2:00AM Sunday

JS: Zzzzzzzzz

FM:  Smoking weed with 4 University of Georgia sophomores and Arnold Palmer in back of an Uber limo.

5:00AM Sunday

JS:  Alarm goes off – its game day.

FM:  ‘Can I get a wake up call for 10?  Oh, and can you send up some nachos?’

8:00AM Sunday

JS: Finish breakfast, off to the practice tee

FM: Zzzzzzzz

10:30AM Sunday

JS: Already had an hour on practice tee.  Time to chip and putt.

FM:  Open eyes.  Realize the pressure in front of me.  Throw up nachos and sit in bathtub while shower pummels my sad, hungover body.  And I’m crying.

12:00PM Sunday

JS: Final equipment check.  Lunch.  Take a little time to rest up.

FM:  Still trying to catch a cab to the course from the Waffle House Hotel I somehow managed to end up in.  Where are my clubs?

1:30PM Sunday

JS: Start to loosen up.  Stretch.  Chip and putt.

FM: I really need to find a bathroom, some Advil and a maybe a cheeseburger

2:00PM Sunday

JS: Final prep.  Stay loose.  Hydrate.

ME: I am so tired.  Where is my wallet?  Oh, there are my clubs.  I don’t even have a caddy.  I need a beer.

2:30PM Sunday

JS: Mental prep and head for the 1st tee to make history.  I got this.

FM: Hide in the coat room of the clubhouse.  I can’t do this.  Throw up again and need new underwear.

2:45PM Sunday

JS:  It is finally here and I am ready!  Let’s do this!

FM: Tournament officials find me in the coatroom.  Drag me toward first tee.  I haven’t swung club.  I am going to literally die of heart failure. Oops, and need more underwear gentlemen. Stat.

2:55PM Sunday  TEE TIME

JS: Stripes his first shot down the middle the roaring applause of the fans.

The first shot toward history.

FM:  Rip a hook shot dead left into the gallery and kill a 58 year old woman.  Almost simultaneously I puke, shit and faint.  Dragged off course and forced to withdraw from The Masters without completing a hole.

The first shot is whiskey.

Best of luck today, Mr. Speith!  I’ll be watching and eating nachos from the safety of my couch.