For love or money

This was the title of the great Peter McEvoy’s book from 2006 and I come to think of it again as I read the news about Augusta States win in the NCAA finals over the weekend. Peter, perhaps the greatest amateur of all times, of course reflected over the difference between playing for money and purely for the glory and the trophy in his book and as sports develop there are not many places where the glory is still the highest price. In fact, you could easily argue that pride and glory have very little to do with it even in the NCAA finals as come the following week pretty much everyone in Augusta’s winning team will be playing professional golf. And if not that week then the week after, as the Palmer Cup has concluded. Amateur golf is no doubt the breeding ground for the professional game and a successful career in college and/or in the big amateur events around the world will give you every chance of a jump start entry into the professional ranks.

As I read Sean Martin’s article on Augusta State though I almost do get a little tear in my eye. Here is the team of five seniors and a Head Coach, all in their Augusta State uniforms for the very last time. The five players are leaving school and Josh Gregory, the coach, is heading to Dallas to take up the Head Coach position at SMU, his alma mater where he played college golf himself. One last round with the old gang – and the underdog once again comes out victorious. Augusta State is the Division 2 school, only in the first division in one sport – golf, that last year showed that pride, committment and team spirit can win you great titles even without the hefty budgets of other teams. They have now done it twice in a row and it won’t matter that they will come nowhere near next year. In performance sports it is about living in the NOW and I have a feeling this was the greatest present that the five graduating players and the leaving coach could ever get. In another sport this would have made the movies.

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