A daughter takes her father to Augusta for the Masters
I’m fairly certain that this particular story won’t be written by any other writer of my stature (or other, more elevated, stature, to be clear.) It’s a story that I know well and take particular delight in telling.
I’ve had the privilege of being a teacher and golf coach at a particular school in a particular city in western New York for nearly 15 years. When I signed on, the opportunity to assist the then-current coach came available and I took it. I’m a fairly mellow dude and the coach was a fairly intense dude. As a result, people would ask, “how do you coach with him? He’s nothing like you.” My answer was always simple and sensible: if he were just like me, what would I learn from him?
Coach and I had the great privilege to coach 4 consecutive NYS independent school champions; unlike our beloved Bills, we actually sealed the deal for 4 straight years. When he decided to hang up the coaching clipboard, my name was selected as the one to replace him. Since I had been coaching the girls’ team for a few years, I now had command of the two golf teams at school, with one admonition: don’t blow it!
We haven’t blown it. We’ve done well over the last four seasons, winning a championship in a new league while representing the colors with dignity, respect and pride. Coach has hung around as an assistant, ostensibly to take over some of the bus driving duties, but mainly to ensure that I don’t damage the program he built (or at least, that’s what I tell him!)
It was with the slightest twinge of jealousy, however, that I received the news that his daughter had surprised him with a special birthday gift. It turns out that she knew someone involved in professional golf and that person happened to have a pair of tickets for each of the first two practice rounds of the 2011 Masters tournament (and that’s nothing to sniff at!) As you can imagine, the jealousy turned to joy as I watched the creases on the face of this hardened hockey, soccer, you name it coach smooth and redden with the pride he felt for his daughter and for the unexpected gift she had given him.
You see, Liz is Frank and Pauline’s only child and the one that learned to skate, ride a motorcycle and swing a golf club from dad. Whenever our conversations would turn to her, his smile would deepen, his voice would swell with a father’s pride and the sun would shine a little brighter.
It’s about 9:30 on Monday, April 4. I’m guessing that Liz and Frank Sacheli arrived at the gates along Washington Road as soon as they opened, perhaps even before. I’m certain that his jaw dropped when he saw the green, that his legs ached as he ascended and descended the hills of Augusta, and that the Pinkertons had to gently remind these two patrons that closing time had arrived… and then smile and encourage them to return the following day, with their second pair of practice-round tickets.
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