Friday, March 25, 2011

Lee Trevino's Influence and Ours

At the height of his popularity on the PGA tour, Lee Trevino once remarked that there were two things that weren’t long for this world—dogs that chase cars, and professional golfers who miss the green with their second shots. Trevino had a knack for off-the-cuff quips that left the spectators positioned close enough to hear them chuckling in amusement. Growing up as I did in South Texas where I golfed occasionally with my dad, I noticed that Trevino’s notoriety as one of the first Mexican-Americans to achieve success on the PGA tour inspired a lot of other Hispanics to take up the sport. Golf has often been viewed as something of a rich man’s game—given the high costs of clubs and equipment, cart rentals, and green fees—not to mention the exorbitant membership dues of private clubhouses. The economics of golf also dictated that it was predominantly a white man’s sport.

Trevino played a major role in overcoming the racial barrier in golf. He had dropped out of school at 14 to work as a caddy at golf courses in Dallas in addition to shining shoes. After a four-year stint with the Marines, Trevino became a golf pro in El Paso, TX. He won the U.S. Open his second year on the tour and would eventually win 29 PGA events. “Supermex,” or “The Merry Mex” as he was known, was likeable and good-natured, inspiring many young Hispanics to take up golf.

Trevino’s life story prompts me to ask the question, “Whom are we influencing and inspiring by the way we live?” “Are our lives serving as an example to challenge others to achieve greatness?” That greatness hopefully isn’t measured by tournaments won, trophies amassed, or bank accounts enriched, but by faithful service to others in Christ’s name.

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