Phil Mickelson Reminds Us Why We Love Sports

Congrats, Phil. (Screen shot from http://youtu.be/2oY5gXrNsqg)

Congrats, Phil. (Screen shot from http://youtu.be/2oY5gXrNsqg)

There’s been a lot written about Phil Mickelson since his stunning British Open victory last Sunday. After Mickelson birdied four of the last six holes at Muirfeld to shoot a final-round 66 and clinch the championship, some are placing him among the legends of the game. Others are dissecting whether or not his final round was the best of his career or simply just a really good round. Meanwhile, a few are still shaking their heads in wonder over how Mickelson pulled this one off after admitting he wasn’t sure that he could ever win golf’s oldest major championship.

Of course, that’s all well and good. All of those storylines are certainly worthy of discussion. But Mickelson’s victory was notable for another reason as well. Though it is cliched and cheesy, Mickelson’s victory reminded us about everything that’s good in sports.

By all accounts, he’s one of the sports world’s good guys. His family has been through trying times: His wife, Amy, almost lost her life after giving birth to his son, Evan, who himself didn’t take a breath for the first seven minutes of his life. Both would survive and Amy would later go on to beat breast cancer. Instead of creating divisions within the family, these events brought the Mickelsons closer together. These difficult moments also convinced Mickelson to use his wealth and status to help others in need.

Unlike so many athletes these days, Mickelson has never been involved in any kind of real scandal. When false rumors spread on the internet about his wife having an affair and Mickelson fathering an illegitimate child, Mickelson sued an internet service provider in order to track down the identity of a commenter who had been spreading the false rumors. So to sum up, Mickelson is not only a legendary golfer and family man, but he is also trying to stop internet trolls. I know that’s a cause we can all get behind.

Recently, though, it seems that the major stories coming out of the sports world aren’t similar to Mickelson’s narrative. They’ve shifted from the uplifting aspects of our society toward the more distressing ones. The Boston Marathon was attacked by home-grown terrorists, Aaron Hernandez is on trial for murder, college athletics continues to slip further into a world of scandal and hypocrisy, baseball is in the midst of another steroids embarrassment … I could go on but, well, you get the idea. For something that’s supposed to distract us from the problems of everyday life, the sports world has lately appeared to hold a mirror up to our society as if to say, “Hey, see all that ugly stuff going on out there? It’s all in here too.”

On Sunday, however, thanks to Mickelson, that all changed for a short-lived moment. After Mickelson’s victory, his wife and three kids rushed to his side to congratulate him, which led to one of the best photos you’ll see this summer. His caddy, Jim “Bones” Mackay, couldn’t control his emotions after seeing his boss and friend of 21 years accomplish something that they had both worked so hard for. When Mickelson accepted the Claret Jug, he humbly thanked just about everyone that had contributed to his victory.

It was (again, cheese alert) just about everything you could ask for from a sporting event. It’s why we love sports. Whereas the recent stories mentioned above make us wonder how we’ve got to such an ugly place, Mickelson’s victory showed us that there’s plenty of good left out there, too. Moments like Mickelson’s final round are everything that’s good not only in sports, but in our society as well. Thanks for the reminder, Phil.

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CharlieCharlie Crespo (@Little_Utopia) is the editor-in-chief of Little Utopia.

Previously from Charlie Crespo:
Monday’s Viral Video: For Those Senior Citizens About to Rock, We Salute You
Beertopia: Inlet Brewing Company’s Monk in the Trunk
“World War Z” Moves Too Fast for Its Own Good
Ilya Kovalchuk’s Retirement Won’t Worry NHL
Viral Video of the Day: Watch in Case of Bear Attack

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