Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's Time To Get Inspired

As many of you know, I am an avid golf fan. I love watching golf on tv and love playing whenever I get an opportunity. A few weeks ago, the PGA Tour was in Hawaii for the Sony Open. Just like the last two years, there was a tremendous amount of buzz around the tournament because Michelle Wie was going to try and make the cut in a men's tournament again. (She didn't make the cut unfortunately)

But, there were three other golfers playing in the tournament that deserved much more media attention than Michelle (No offense to her, but her story isn't life or death)

The three men I'm talking about were: Jarrod Lyle, Tadd Fujikawa and Jim Rutledge. Unless you are a diehard golf fan, you've probably never heard of any of them. It's a shame, because there stories are truly amazing.

First, Tadd Fujikawa. While everyone was focused on Michelle Wie, Tadd, who is also from Hawaii and is only 16 years old, not only made the cut in the tournament, but finished in a tie for 20th place after making a birdie on his final hole of the tournament. The crowd erupted, and he became the youngest man to make the cut in a PGA Tour tournament in 50 years.

What makes this story so much more spectacular is that Tadd Fujikawa is even alive, much less playing golf. Tadd was born 3 1/2 months premature and doctors gave him a 50-50 chance of survival. He only weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces and was so small that he could fit in his grandfather's palm. His parents worried that he would grow up with a mental disability. Partially because of his premature birth, he's only 5' 1" tall. But, the kid can play. Oh, did I mention too that last year, he became the youngest player in 50 years to qualify for the US Open as well. This kid's amazing, and I think you'll hear more from him.

Second, Jim Rutledge. What makes Jim special is the fact he is a 47 year old rookie on the tour. His story is one of perseverance, dedication and faith. According to him, he can't even remember exactly how many times he tried to qualify for the tour. He thinks it's at least 13 times. He toiled on the Canadian Tour, Asian Tour and other mini-tours, but never lost faith that one day he would make it to the PGA Tour. Jim credits his wife and family for helping him through the bad times and for encouraging him to keep trying and never give up. He didn't, and he made his debut at the Sony Open. He missed the cut at the tournament, but just being there was a huge victory for him.

Lastly and my favorite story of the three, Jarrod Lyle. Jarrod is from Australia and he finished in the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour last year to earn his tour card for this year. At the Sony Open, he finished tied for 42nd place and won over $19,000. So, what's special about him?

Back in 1999, Jarrod was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. He was very close to dying and spent over two years recovering from the disease. For over eight months, he was bed-ridden and going through chemo that made him feel so bad, he didn't want to see or talk to anyone. But, fate intervened. Robert Allenby, a PGA Tour golfer, who is also from Australia has been a big supporter of cancer research in Australia, and he heard that there was a golfer in a hospital in Australia. Robert befriended Jarrod and started visiting him in the hospital as often as he could. They would talk about golf and life, and Jarrod credits Robert for helping him beat the illness and eventually earn his tour card and make it to the PGA Tour.

I hope reading about these three golfers will help inspire you to do whatever it is you want to do with your life. They all three have had major obstacles to overcome such as physical, mental, monetary and in Jarrod's case life or death.

If they can do what they have done, then there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that the rest of us can't obtain whatever goal we set for ourselves. It's simply a matter of deciding what you want to accomplish and then simply DOING IT.

I haven't seen Will Smith's new movie, The Pursuit of Happyness yet, but I love the line at the end of the trailer when he tells his son, "You want something, you go get it...Period!"

I challenge you to do the same. You want something/anything in life, GO GET IT... Period!

Make it a great day!


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