“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” — Philippians 4:8
At this year’s PGA Championship, the headlines focused on who would take home the trophy. Would Rory McIlroy finally end his major drought? Would Brooks Koepka win his fifth? The journalists and interviews and articles celebrated the big names, as they rightly should. And, at the end of the weekend, Koepka was indeed the one who took home the title. But one look at social media and the crowds on hand to watch the tournament, there was an entirely different story unfolding.
Michael Block, who had spent most of his career working as a club pro in Southern California, was making a surprising and impressive run in the tournament, drawing attention as a feel-good story. His even-par results in the first two rounds earned him the chance to play the weekend, and also put him in contention for a possible top-10 or top 15-finish — the best result for a club pro in decades. Fans wanted to see history made, and also cheer for an underdog who had a chance. Block’s incredible hole-in-one in the final round drew roars from the crowd on a level one would expect for Tiger Woods. Block ended up getting a top-15 finish and an automatic invitation to next year’s PGA Championship, as well as really nice paycheck. But more than that, Block won hearts for exemplifying the everyday golfer — for being the people’s champ.
As the tournament unfolded, it was fascinating to watch these two storylines in play. While the media largely focused on what the top names in the sport were doing, it was impossible for anyone to ignore the sudden popularity Block had gained and the way we as humans love to pull for the little guy. We enjoy it when the top athletes win, but we also live for a good underdog story of overcoming odds and defying expectations.
As a writer, I’ve learned over the years that the real story is rarely what makes the top headline. There is often something equally — if not more — important lying behind the main storyline that deserves consideration and support. While certain people or events may grab the front page, there’s always that hidden gem that’s just dying to be heard.
And I wonder if people aren’t similar in a way. We often focus, like the media, on obvious things like career and skillset, while simultaneously ignoring character and passion — intangibles, things of the heart and soul. We applaud the big names and the big moves, yet miss that there are everyday people living out everyday greatness right in front of us that will never make a headline or garner the same level of praise.
In 1 Samuel 16:7, God made a point that “people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” and I believe we would do well to rethink what we praise in today’s culture. It’s certainly fine to cheer on a winner, but isn’t the one who overcame great odds also victorious? Even though, like Michael Block, he leaves without the big trophy? Perhaps we need to look past the top headline in order to find the real story. We just may be surprised.
— Katherine Singer
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