/Column Contest Andrew Clay

Column Contest Andrew Clay

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by: Andrew Clay

It is an interesting thing trying to pick the most enjoyable weekend in sports because at the end of the day my criteria revolves around letting my fan hang out, rather than debating the easily measured variables of various events year round.

We all have that weekend in sports that transcends reason, and we gather around the television waiting in rapture for the outcome to be decided.

As this idea of the “best weekend” rolled around in my brain it became clearer that these events are not based on rationality but a certain amount of pageantry, nostalgia, magic and, of course, victory.

The Masters is the “best weekend” because it embodies these criteria from the honorary teeing off on Thursday until the final putt is sunk on Sunday.

The pageantry of The Masters is in the atmosphere, the overall look and the jacket.

Dozens of golfers have said that that week is “just different,” and part of that is the look. The Georgian landscape of hills, trees, flowers and colors takes one’s breath away and there is no better example than of Amen Corner.

The 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National have lifted or crushed dreams as they test the a player with seemingly simplistic holes that have rags to riches challenges for all competitors.

The right shot will lift a man into the ranks of immortality alongside Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mikelson and Tiger Woods.

A misstep will plummet you into the ranks of the forgotten many who settled for second.

The nostalgia involved in the Masters clinches it for me because while I love sports, it’s not a shared family passion.

My father instilled within me a love for golf at a young age because on Sunday afternoons it was the time to watch and there was no tournament bigger.

It coincided perfectly with the weather change in Minnesota because after seven months of winter, it was finally warm enough to spend an afternoon in the sun.

I would spend hours watching golf with my dad as I learned the game until it was time to escape to the front yard with my brother and a pitching wedge.

Practicing a game I now love with my brother until it was time for the conclusion was the perfect way to relax on a Sunday afternoon and unwind from my childhood stresses.

We would head back in and watch the conclusion before heading back to evening church.

These memories are why the Masters is my favorite weekend in sports above all others.

The tournament is coming up soon, so turn on a round and instead of seeing it as a boring old golf tournament.

Join me in seeing it as a new year full of potential, and watch as an old dynasty returns to power, a young gun claims another major or a dark horse will wear the green jacket on Sunday night.