After further review…Listening to Olympic Swim Champion Michael Phelps as he spoke to the 1000 members of the Monterey (CA.) community attending the Montage Health annual luncheon recently, I was impressed with his message to young and old: “Don’t Give Up and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” when needed. Seemed like an unusual talk for an athlete who won 23 Olympic Gold medals, yet Phelps was open to discussing his own anxiety and depression history. He related how helping others has been important in restoring his healthy lifestyle. Phelps was asked if swimming wasn’t his sport, what sport would he want to participate in? He said he’d like to be a pro golfer. His story reminded me of this story about Jeff Sluman.
This week the PGA Golf tour is in Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pro-Am.
Clay Larson tells this story about his friend, professional golfer Jeff Sluman, playing in this tournament. Some years ago, Clay’s son, Derek, then about 17 years of age, was struggling with his game. Sluman volunteered to help Derek, after the final round of this tournament. As Clay and Derek were watching the final round on television, Sluman was tied with Mark O’Meara, when the match went to sudden death. In the first playoff hole, Jeff and Mark both reached the fringe of the sixteenth green at Pebble in two. Mark chipped his ball in for a birdie. Jeff’s 40-foot putt died short; Mark won the playoff and the tournament.
The Larsons’ groaned in sympathy as they headed off to another golf course to play, knowing that Sluman had to be disappointed and would not be able to join them. As they were putting out on the fifteenth green, Sluman came walking up and said, “Hi guys, I thought I’d find you here, and said to Derek, come on “D” grab your clubs, let’s play the last three holes, I want to see your golf swing.” As Clay walked along with them, he proudly watched as Sluman assessed and critiqued Derek’s every shot, making a few minor improvements.
Sluman had just lost a major PGA tournament by one stroke, one he had won two years back, and yet was willing to spend the time to help a young kid. Clay said to Jeff that they would understand if Jeff had passed on the golf lesson, Sluman remarked, “Ah, nah, nothing better for getting rid of disappointment than helping someone else”
Will you follow Phelps and Sluman’s example to help someone when you least feel up to it?
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