Puyallup: Sports

Cascade Christian High well-represented at US Open

The 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay had many local volunteers from the area participate in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And with Father’s Day arriving on the tournament’s final day, some had the chance to take in the moment and appreciate the gift in front of them. Cascade Christian High’s Andrew Tigges and his father, Rick, were a couple of those lucky ones.

At the Open, the father-son team were hunkered in at the information booth, helping people find where they needed to go if there was ever a question. A job like this brings the opportunity to grow as individuals while watching multiple cultures blend together at the course off the Puget Sound.

“I counted meeting people from nine countries who came up to our booth,” Rick said. “If someone had an accent, I would ask where they were from. We met people from South Africa, Fiji and England … you don’t always get that chance to meet so many people at one event.”

And that event happened to be in the Tigges’ own backyard.

For Andrew, who plays for both the Cascade Christian boys basketball and golf teams, it was a chance to participate in something life-changing in a sport he’s passionate about.

When an 18-year-old kid can see that the 2015 U.S. Open winner — Jordan Speith — is only a handful of years older than him, it drives you to want to get back on the course yourself and improve your own game.

“I see someone like Jordan Speith winning the tournament — and he’s 21 years old, only three years older than me — it makes you want to work harder,” Andrew said.

In truth, it’s not about seeing the world’s greatest golfers or being a part of something historic in the region. No, it’s about the time spent together that holds strongest.

And on a day like Father’s Day, it was a special time to share their passion.

“Seeing the U.S. Open was one of my bucket list items — that’s now checked,” Rick said. “To be able to do that with Andrew — I wish my other kids were here to experience it too — but I’m happy I was able to spend it with him.”

Watching the shade

The Tigges weren’t the only member of the Cascade Christian family to volunteer at the Open. Boys golf coach Garren Clark spent his time working as an emergency evacuation shuttle driver for the players.

His job was simple: If it rained, hailed or snowed, Clark was to drive the players to the clubhouse.

“They almost needed me because of the smoke from the fire (at Narrows Marina),” Clarke said. “I’ve mostly been sitting in the shade and watching the world’s best golfers.”

Yeah, the sun and heat really ruined Clark’s time at the Open.

Nestled by the video tower of Hole 15, Clark sat watching golfers come and go within the cooling confines of the tower’s shade. It was a lazy weekend with only one of the best views imaginable.

“It’s incredible to be able to be this close to the best golfers, with a fantastic view of the (Puget) Sound in the background. It’s an incredible experience to be a part of,” Clark concluded.