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Beating the Odds

Jordan Spieth’s Huge Problem

In this digital age, we have new ways of measuring fame.

Example: To Google Jordan Spieth, you need type in only a “J” and his name will pop up.

That’s what happens when you win the Masters in runaway fashion, tying the record held by Tigers Woods.

Now Spieth has a big problem. He must handle all this fame, and he must do it while just 21 years old.

As the saying goes, “There are two types of people in the world: those who are humble and those who are about to be.”

Fortunately, Spieth has someone in his life who can help keep him humble. It’s his sister, Ellie, a special needs child.

“It’s humbling to see her and her friends and the struggles they go through each day that we take for granted – their kind of lack of patience or understanding, where it seems easy for us and it’s not for them,” said Spieth.

In another interview, he said, “She gives humility to our family.”

Spieth speaks of humility as if it’s a gift. He’s right. No less a figure than basketball legend John Wooden would agree with him. Said Wooden, “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

On the same weekend when Spieth won, hockey goalie Matt O’Connor lost. Bigtime.

O’Connor, playing for Boston University in the national title game, blundered the puck into his own net, allowing Providence to tie the score. O’Connor’s team wound up losing the game. You can Google his name for the details.

Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley wrote a touching piece on how O’Connor faced up to all the media questions, when he could easily have gone and hid.

“A really weird, indecisive moment cost us a national championship, I guess you could say,” O’Connor said.

By standing up the way he did, O’Connor took the first step toward handling his defeat.

Baseball guru Branch Rickey referred to victory and defeat as the two imposters.

Spieth and O’Connor must both face that, each in his own way.

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Mike Tully is co-author with Gio Grassi of “Basketball: What Great Players Know That You Don’t Know.”


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