We have known Chris Bassett for 6 years. Chris is a passionate golfer, who is both a student of the game and who represents all that is grand in this maddening pursuit.
Courage is an over-used word (like ‘great’). We often call a golfer courageous because they sink a 4 foot putt on the final hole to win an event. That’s not courage.
Chris’s golf hero, is Ben Hogan. For those that are familiar with the “Wee Ice Man”, as Mr. Hogan was known, you will remember that he was the most meticulous of people. Mr Hogan was the first professional who kept a yardage book and who would want to know the exact distance he had to the hole. He once asked his caddy how far he had to the hole and the caddy responded that it 173 or 174 yards; to which Mr. Hogan replied “Which is it?”
While traveling to a tournament in 1949, with his wife Valerie (in those days all the top players would travel from event to event by car). Mr. Hogan’s car collided, head-on into a Greyhound bus. Just before the impact, Mr. Hogan threw himself across Valerie’s body to protect her. Valerie suffered minor injuries from the wreck, but Mr. Hogan was not so fortunate. Courage.
Mr. Hogan suffered from a series of traumatic injuries and was told that he would probably never walk again, much less play competitive golf. Less than 12 months later Mr. Hogan was back on Tour and finished second in his first tournament. Courage.
“People have always been telling me what I can’t do,” he said. “I guess I have wanted to show them. That’s been one of my driving forces all my life.”
16 months later, Mr. Hogan won the 1950 US Open at Merion Golf Club. Before playing Mr. Hogan would have to wrap bandages around his legs, and each step he took was a painful tread. What made this feat even more remarkable was that he won in an 18-hole playoff, thereby having to play a fifth round that week. Courage.
Earlier this week, we found out that Chris Bassett has been diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma cancer. It has progressed to a stage (4) and is residing in his neck, back diaphragm, colon, and bone marrow. The cancer is very aggressive, so the chemotherapy treatments need to be equally aggressive.
In Chris’s words: “Somewhat distracted from golf right now but I keep a magazine by the bed. I look forward to swinging the clubs again soon.
I am gaining a new perspective on so many things. Most sound like old clichés. Live with no regrets. Decide what you would do if you had but (24) hours left, and pursue that. The future is now.
Never give up.”
The measure of a person is never how they handle the good things that this Life brings us but rather how they deal with adversity. Mr. Bassett and Mr. Hogan are both heroes.
Chris Bassett is going to beat this terrible disease. He will not let this disease, beat him. Chris is a tough man, who will look you in the eye and tell you exactly what he thinks. When Chris plays golf he does it so by honoring the traditions of the game. He is a gentleman in a gentleman’s game. Chris is made up of all the things that we should aspire to be.
Chris is courage.