Have you ever been truly happy for someone else’s success? I really cannot remember the last time I was excited for someone else when their dreams were realized – or at the very least enabled. But when I was following Adam Jude’s live-tweeting from Emerald Valley yesterday, where Casey Martin was giving a clinic on how to qualify for a U.S. Open, I was tuned out to everything else. I wanted Casey to win just like I wanted Tiger to win in the old days.
Why? Well for one, I met him a couple times. He might vaguely remember me as this quiet kid hanging out with Ethan Holub once or twice. And there was this one time I was at the same party he was. Okay, it wasn’t a party; just a bunch of Christian guys having beers together. He was there. I was there. I think he looked in my direction.
Apart from kind of knowing the guy, though, I know his story full well. I know that in order for him to compete with the world’s best golfers, he had to sue the PGA Tour for not allowing him to use a cart. You see, Casey has a rare condition in his leg that causes him pain 24 hours a day – a condition for which there is no known cure. Years ago, the Tour didn’t allow him to use a cart to get from shot to shot (the rule was you had to walk the course with a caddie). His story caught so much attention then that even Rick Reilly backed him up saying, “Martin isn’t asking for any help playing the game. He’s only asking for a lift to his ball.” And seeing him still able to compete with the best golfers – let alone still walking on both of his legs when doctors said he’d probably lose one – is ridiculously awesome.
What I think makes this story even more amazing, though, is knowing that it isn’t a testament of Casey’s own will power, but rather of his faith in God. What this says to me is that even years after lawsuits and rules and regulations and traditions (and just a bunch of prominent people telling him he couldn’t), Casey still believes in God’s ability to write a powerful story of perseverance. Casey still hears God telling him that he can. And he’s still marching along as best he can to see it through.
Does that mean Casey’s going to win the U.S. Open? I don’t know. I think it’d be a real capstone to Casey’s testimony, but that’s my perspective. God’s perspective is usually something different. Maybe this Open-qualifying experience is only a taste of what’s in store for Casey? Maybe there’s a bigger dream God has for him that none of us – not even Casey – can really see right now? Maybe God still has unfinished business with Casey’s story? All I know – and I think the only thing we need to take from all of this – is that Casey is still dreaming of something God gave him. Casey is still pursuing with as much vigor as he was at 25. And he’s still not allowing anything – not even his own leg – to stop him.
When the U.S. Open rolls around next week, I’ll be excited to see Tiger. But I think I’ll really be cheering for Casey because to root for him is to root for God’s ability to write a magnificent story. I’m always a fan of that.