NAPA, Calif. — This column this week is about being resilient in both sport and in life.
A few months back, I wrote about a young boy named Christopher Timpone. Christopher was in a battle for his life with cancer, and his family was in a severe struggle financially. I asked anyone who cared to help to write a check.
I want to personally thank all of you in the Naples, as well as from my own database, who responded. You were both generous and thoughtful. Your help did in fact relieve the pressure. It was your actions that gives me tremendous faith in the human spirit. Thank you.
Sunday night, just before the Super Bowl kicked off, I spoke to my 9-year-old friend on the phone. He is a huge Giants fan, and so am I. He is a little more than two weeks removed from a gruesome procedure where they had to remove a fair-sized portion of his jawbone and radiate it outside his body then reattach it.
That is aside from the other chemo treatments this little guy had gone through previously. This young man has never complained; he has been a warrior the whole way. I'm happy — in fact thrilled — to report he was home about to watch his Giants win, but even better, the early reports are extremely positive on the success of the procedure.
I have been cautioned not to get to excited the disease itself is certainly unpredictable, but early indications are good. Monday morning, I called Christopher and asked him how he liked the game. He told me the "Hail Mary" Tom Brady threw up on the last play had him worried.
I thought to myself that this little man had his own "Hail Mary" a few weeks ago, and it was caught for a touchdown. He and I are going to get together in May for the golf lesson we couldn't have last fall. Again, let me say thank you to all of you who sent a check.
On the golf side, a week ago, I sat and watched as young Kyle Stanley self-destructed at Torrey Pines by making an 8 on the 72nd hole to erase a three-stroke lead, then lose in a playoff two holes later.
To anyone who has ever hit one single shot trying to make a living in this sport, you feel the pain so very deep inside. I have never met Kyle Stanley, but felt just awful for him. He went on to be interviewed that day at Torrey, and this week the questions continued at Phoenix before play began. He handled himself on each occasion with the utmost of class and dignity.
Kyle Stanley won Phoenix on Sunday, seven days removed from his disaster in San Diego. Talk about righting the ship!
I'm blessed in what I do. In golf, you get to meet some truly incredible people, many of whom you never see on TV or read about in a newspaper. In golf, you witness some incredible acts.
The Christopher Timpones, as well as the Kyle Stanleys, are both stories of resiliency and dignity. We should learn from each, and every one of these events that pass before us. And never forget while learning ... if you can ever help, please do.
Tom Patri gives lessons at the Quarry on Immokalee Road, and is at Friar's Head in New York from May-December. Patri is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Visit Patri's website at www.tompatri.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.