29 May 2008

Good Luck, John Atkinson!

"You can either give up, or continue to fight. I've got a beautiful wife and three kids. I will never quit fighting."

The above quote was from Lincoln, Nebraska native, John Atkinson. He recently won an essay contest sponsored by Golf Digest, USGA, and NBC Sports to find one amateur golfer to play the U.S. Open course. The winner would play in a foursome with three celebrities: NBC anchor Matt Lauer, singer Justin Timberlake, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Atkinson's best friend, Terry Beutler wrote the essay and sent it to Golf Digest, and only afterward did he tell Atkinson he had written it and sent it.

Here's what Beutler wrote: "Can I break 100? No. Do I want the chance? Yes, but not for me. You see, my best friend since sixth grade was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer last April. He has never smoked, and it's just one of those life things. He is a wonderful father, husband, friend and son. Last summer he had a double treatment of chemo and walked 18 holes the next day and shot a 76. He's a 5-handicap. The statistics aren't on his side, but, like John says, they have never done a study of 100 John Atkinsons."

Golf Digest has an incredible story about Mr. Atkinson and I encourage all of you to take some time and read it. You can read it here!

Mr. Atkinson, your strength and courage in the face of such an extreme challenge is an inspiration to us all and I know I speak for all of Nebraska when I wish you the best of luck in the tournament!