I have a dream that I don’t really share with anyone because it’s stupid and will never happen, but one day I would love to play in a celebrity pro-am golf tournament with Bill Murray. My dream used to be to make the Senior PGA so I don’t have to worry about rotting in a nursing home hellhole, but I really suck at golf, so that dream was crushed like a beer can under one of John Daly’s ass cheeks. Nevertheless, I play golf because I find peace and inspiration in it, and that’s before I was even aware of amateur golfer Manuel de los Santos’ existence.
A former prospect for the Toronto Blue Jays, de los Santos has been pursuing a career as a professional golfer for the last 9 years or so. But why on Earth would he give up a shot at Major League Baseball for the PGA?
"I was a baseball player and the first time I see the little ball on the floor, I didn't have anything in my mind to hit this ball," the Dominican Republic native said.
"I had to find a way to hit this ball. He was on the floor waiting for me. He do nothing and I had a problem. I only had one leg." (Via the Herald Sun)
Ah yes, one leg. It turns out that de los Santos lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident when he was just 18, thus ruining his once-promising baseball career. But instead of being a mopey crybaby about it, he did what any inspired, motivated athlete would do – he watched The Legend of Bagger Vance. Wait, what?
While recovering, he became inspired by watching the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance, about a golfer who defies adversity. The next morning, he asked to be taken to a driving range where he found a way to balance on his right leg to hit balls.
"I say OK, I try. It doesn't matter when you have only one leg. When life gives you a chance to make it in a sport, you forget your problem and you hit the ball," he said from his home in Paris.
I’ll tell ya, between this dude and Oscar Pistorious, I’m going to have the hardest time ever thinking of an excuse for why I didn’t go to the gym today. De los Santos’ story has been told before, when he first caught some eyes back in 2009, but he’s the kind of guy who should be talked about as much as possible. He has a 3 handicap and played at this week's Betstar Melbourne Golf Invitational Pro-Am in Australia, which also featured a golfer named Scott Laycock and I want to laugh about that, but I’m so focused on how much of a badass de los Santos is.
Check out Manuel de los Santos in action, and if you’re anything like me, I guarantee you’re going to try to swing a golf club while standing on one leg. Try not to do it, I dare you.