The Resiliency Of The Human Spirit

While many on the internet were writing off Kyle Stanley after his flaming, quite public loss at the Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, last week, he is learning that a lot of people have more than a little sympathy for him. And some even went to some lengths to let him know.

I’m just overwhelmed by how much support I’ve gotten from people.  It’s been great.

You know, I’m a huge Gonzaga fan.  Their basketball coach texted me Sunday night.  That was pretty cool.  Zach, Strick, just a lot of players have had a lot of nice things to say.  It’s been good.  It’s been good.  The support has been great, and I’m certainly very grateful for that.

What did the Gonzaga text say?

He just told me to keep my head up and that I played tough, and that down the road I’m going to be stronger for it.

Do you know Mark Few [the Gonzaga coach] personally or does he just know that you’re a Gonzaga fan?

You know, I don’t.  That’s why I thought that was so cool.  I’ve been watching Gonzaga play basketball since I was three feet tall.  I live and die with every game they play.  I try not to miss any of them.  So that was real special to hear from him.

So aside from the huge personal disappointments we sometimes experience and the agony that goes with it, when we take a moment or two to really pay attention to the aftermath, it’s not as bad as we think. We are wired to be successful, to win, to be the champion. And when we fall flat on our faces at the worst possible time–Stanley made a wrenching triple bogey when a double would have won–we prepare ourselves for the recrimination of the world. And there was evidence on the internet that there was some:

It was of course all the rage out there on the internet, second‑guessing the decision to lay up and you went for it in a playoff and you should have done this, should have done that.  Are you at peace with the decision you made to lay up?

Absolutely.  Right now I’m pretty much at peace with everything.  You have a couple ways you can take that.  You can either let it get you down, I think, or you can focus on the positive.  I did way too many good things last week to dwell on one shot or one hole or one putt.

But aside from the good things happening in his game, he kept coming back to the incredible empathy people expressed to him. And while the Gonzaga coach was one notable he didn’t know who reached out to him, there were thousands of others he didn’t know either.

One thing I was struck with almost immediately after everything finished Sunday, your peers were going on Twitter and stuff like that.  Were you aware of that later, and is there anything–Garrigus [who suffered his own flaming failure in Memphis two years ago] posted several things.  Was there anything in particular that struck you?

You know, I’m kind of new to Twitter.  I just started about, I don’t know, maybe a month or two ago.  I think I went from like–I think I picked up probably like 6,000 followers or something [which is huge] in the past 48 hours (laughter), and almost every single one of them has sent me a message or done this or that.  It’s just like I was saying earlier; I’m surprised by it.  I’m overwhelmed by it, by the support I’ve gotten, and it’s certainly been nice to feel like I had people behind me.

But before there was time for all of these good things to happen, there was the immediate aftermath.

Run us through Sunday night.  Did you eat?  Were you able to sleep?  Did you cry?  What did you replay in your head off of Sunday afternoon?

Yeah, I mean, I did all those things.  I had Brad, my buddy, and my family with me.  I mean, yeah, there were tears, there was disappointment.  You know, but it’s–I think there was a little bit of shock, too.  I don’t think you can really prepare somebody to maybe digest or handle what happened.  It was just nice to have my family and some people around close to me, close to me there.

Yeah, I did eat dinner.  I did eat dinner and got a couple hours of sleep.

So when he had a chance to work through all of this, when he was exposed to all of the heartfelt sympathies of his peers, this is how his interview began this morning:

The one thing I noticed just on the way down here was the unbelievable amount of support that you’ve been getting from people to keep your head up and get right back into it.  Certainly that’s got to make you feel good as you’re kind of readying for this week here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Yeah, absolutely.  Sunday was obviously a very tough day, but you know, I’m just trying to focus on the positive things I did last week.  I mean, I played some really good golf.  It’s tough to have four really good ball‑striking days in a row.  Sunday I didn’t quite have it, but my short game kind of kept me in it, and that was nice to see.  I’ve been working on that area of my game with James Sieckmann and Mike Taylor, so it was nice to see those results.  Like I said, I did a lot of good things, and that’s what I’m focusing on.

And so, with time, family, friends and people we had no idea cared, we get through these things. We learn from these things. And we go on.

But it’s almost always hard to remember that while we’re going through it.

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