Sunday, when I watched the scene above, it was like watching the turning point of a horror film. You know the point - the one where the monster turns his knife or gun or chainsaw and points it at unsuspecting victims. The jovial party or friendly camping trip turns to screams and blood. You want to close your eyes, yet you don't; you wonder why on earth you're still watching yet you don't dare turn away.
For amateur golf fans I'll describe the scene. Jordan Spieth was leading one of the biggest golf tournaments in the world - the British Open - birthplace of the game itself. Spieth sprayed a shot 37 light years to the right. It landed on top of a Southport, England towering mound of knee-high fescue grass. I'm still not sure how anyone found the ball; I guess having a few thousand fans around makes it easier for a Spieth to find his errant shot than a Keith to find one of his hacking around a local public course.
As I watched the scene unfold I began feeling sorry for Spieth. His lead was about to turn into another choke story like the one that's haunted him since he imploded and lost the 2016 Masters. I wasn't the only one thinking that. You could hear anguish in the television announcers' voices. And any intelligent golf bettor on the planet would have wagered against Spieth winning the tournament in that moment. No, all logical bets said we were all about to see a reenactment of Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy on the 18th hole of the US Open.
Those bets would have been lost. Because we now know one mind on that course wasn't going where ours were going. While we were thinking up great choke lines to tweet Spieth was still planning his victory celebration. And celebrate he did. He not only finished that hole 2 or 3 strokes better than anyone thought he would, he went on to play the final 5 holes historically and memorably great.
How does someone do that? When all the evidence in the world points to losing how does someone get their mind to press on undaunted in its pursuit of victory?
I remember mile 20 of my marathon last November. My legs were failing. I was so far behind the rest of the runners that I suddenly felt like I was staggering alone and lost in a dessert and not one of thousands of competitors in a race. I'd never run further than 20 miles and there was no physical evidence to suggest it could happen this day. Certainly not 6 miles further!
Then a song comes on my iPod. Over and over it begins to sing out "who can stop the Lord almighty?"
For the next 6 miles that became the question playing over and over in my mind: who can stop the Lord almighty? And for 6 miles my mind kept answering, no one - no one. My body, my current situation, everything suggested everyone can stop Him, but my mind kept insisting no one.
We forget that some days. Our body responds to the demands of our mind. It's not the other way around. That's not to say our bodies can do everything our minds demand of it, but it is to say our bodies can do NOTHING our minds DON'T believe they can and will get done.
After the tournament Spieth credited his caddie for helping him when he started getting down on himself. He had a caddie. I had a song. I think the important thing to recognize here is at times we all need to surround ourselves with people who will keep our minds pointed in the right direction as much as we need people who keep us physically aligned with victory. I believe we need the former much more.
Have you ever had a Jordan Spieth moment? Maybe in your athletic life, a relationship, or career. All the evidence in the world suggested things were about to fall apart but your mind said, in the words of colorful college football analyst Lee Corso: "not so fast my friend." And if so, who or what helped your mind press on, undaunted in its pursuit of success?
Life is like running.