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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 217: Reflection on Graduation

Updated: Mar 20, 2019


The day began with sunshine as seems to be the case with you. Not only were you always able to park up front but also could bring out the sun. It was your roll. Ease into the day and let it go. Oregon had left the Minnesota weather behind and the day was back to spring. March 18, 2019. Graduation from the Lundquist College of Business with a Master’s of Science Degree in Sports Product Management. Class of 2019. A day of accomplishment. Work done. Nothing but future ahead. All the days of studying, attending class, working with your team, and being a student. Done. Now the industry.

The Castaway was beautifully dressed inside with Duck colors. The chairs neatly rowed and columned. Reserved for faculty, students, and family. The three rows of students front and center of the stage with one chair empty. A picture of you and Murph, your hat, pics of 5Fore, a Hawaiian lei. A reminder of August 14. Your death. Such vast emptiness reflected in a single empty chair in a sea of joy and celebration. Not the end but the beginning for everyone but you except in our hearts and souls.

The day was full of speeches from the heart with Ellen’s opening address and then in everyone who followed. An accomplished group of classmates and faculty. Matt, Kushil, Katie, Hunter, and Satomi. The stories of entering the program much like you did: Full of trepidation, uncertainty, quiet confidence if only, love of sports full on with no regrets. Pasts from around the world. A global program with all of you thrown together in taking the next steps. Gaining understanding not only of the industry but of yourselves and how to navigate the strange world of working together.

5Fore received the Innovation Award. The five of you launching the famous golf hat. Honeycomb bill now referenced as the Tindal Bill. Light, flexible. Classy. Negotiations begun with Under Armor and expansion of the hat to other sports. It’s all about the athlete. Near the end of the speeches, Ellen announced the winners of the KT Leadership award: Hunter and Satomi.

As the speeches were ending, the student section changed: The graduation mortar board hats with tassels were dashed and everyone donned a KT hat. An astounding affirmation of your presence. Indeed, the program has a heart and you are part of the heartbeat. The sadness coming from you not being there to see the difference you made for all of us.

So, the day brought a finality to all of our lives, knowing that we will move on. Together with you and in separate ways. Slowly let the boat drift from shore. Loosely tethered with a spiritual rope that will bring memories of you in and through the day. Knowing that you lived an honorable life to its fullest and left on top of your game.

We will miss you always but remember you forever.

JT, Linda, Sev, and Mads

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