In Rare Air

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Every so often, a professional athlete comes along who does something that no one else has ever done. They are electrifying and they dazzle us with their brilliance and abilities. There are many who can run fast, but only one person at a time can carry the title of “world’s fastest human”, “world’s greatest basketball player” or “world’s greatest athlete”.  And even then, such things are open to debate. I suppose that’s just how life is…it makes for interesting water cooler conversations and betting pools, I guess.

But when someone does something that has never been done before, and never has been done since, THAT deserves some special attention!

Are you familiar with the name Robert Tyre Jones?  No?  Does Bobby Jones ring a bell?  Ah…that might work better for you. Bobby Jones was a golfer…but not just any golfer. To this day he remains the only golfer in history to ever win all four major championships in the same calendar year. This is referred to as the “Grand Slam” of golf. No one else has done it before or since…not Arnold Palmer, not Jack Nicklaus, not even Tiger Woods.  Tiger Woods was probably the one that folks though would accomplish the feat, but he got sidetracked with some horrible decisions in his personal life, health issues and bad swing advice. Tiger did win the “Tiger Slam” when he won four majors in a row…but not in the same calendar year. And so, Bobby Jones stands alone.  Bobby Jones is also credited with starting what is arguably the greatest even in golf: the Master’s Tournament, held each year in Augusta, GA.

His tombstone lies in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA, and he rests alongside his wife underneath the oak trees for which the cemetery is named. When I asked at the visitor center how to find his marker, they said I’d have no trouble – people always leave golf balls there.  They were right, as you can see.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1611, after spending a winter trapped by ice in present-day Hudson Bay, the starving crew of the Discovery mutinied against its captain, English navigator Henry Hudson, and set him, his teenage son, and seven supporters adrift in a small, open boat. Hudson and the eight others were never seen again.

Two years earlier, in 1609, Hudson sailed to the Americas to find a northwest passage to Asia after repeatedly failing in his efforts to find a northeast ocean passage. Exploring the North American coast, he entered the present-day Chesapeake, Delaware, and New York bays, and then became the first European to ascend what is now called the Hudson River. His voyage, which was financed by the Dutch, was the basis of Holland’s later claims to the region.

His fourth expedition, financed by adventurers from England, set out from London on April 17, 1610. Sailing back across the Atlantic, Hudson resumed his efforts to find the northwest passage. Between Greenland and Labrador he entered the present-day Hudson Strait and by it reached Hudson Bay. After three months of exploration, the Discovery was caught too far from open sea when winter set in, and in November Hudson’s men were forced to haul it ashore and set up a winter camp. Lacking food or supplies, the expedition greatly suffered in the extreme cold. Many of the crew held Hudson responsible for their misfortune, and on June 22, 1611, with the coming of summer, they mutinied against him. TheDiscovery later returned to England, and its crew was arrested for the mutiny. Although Henry Hudson was never seen again, his discoveries gave England its claim to the rich Hudson Bay region.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The devastating 2011 earthquake in Japan created a massive 186-mile long and 93 mile wide rift 15 miles under the ocean.

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