ANY GIVEN MONDAY with Dylan Cleaver
"Seek Sport, trust Sport, praise Sport," said someone once when trying to unlock the answers to the universe.
It was weekends like the one just past, that the author of this quote – it could have been Peter, maybe Paul, perhaps Luke or even Mark, I cannot recall – must have had in mind.
There are times like these, when sport soars in ways that are deeply religious – not in a vindictive Israel Folau kind of way, but in an uplifting, wind-beneath-my-wings manner.
Whereas last week I could only find reasons not to write a column, this week it feels like there was a sermon in every bounce of the ball, whether it be oval or round, stitched or dimpled.
The sporting weekend ended, fittingly enough, with the redemption story of Tiger Woods, a man who paid a heavy price for his sins of the flesh.
Mind you, he could afford it. With a net worth of US$800 million, he could afford a costly divorce, a multitude of embarrassing headlines – "TIGER PUT BALL IN WRONG PLACE AGAIN" was a New York Post classic – and the loss of a couple of sponsors.
What he couldn't put a price on, I'd suggest, was the thrill of competing for a major championship when teeing up on the 18th on a Sunday.
Less than 18 months ago, after a well-publicised scandal, multiple surgeries and a driving-under-the-influence charge, Woods was ranked 1199th in the world.
"I was done," he said.
The most famous golfer in the world was never the most sympathetic character – tales of his arrogance and cold personality were legion – but his many stumbles started to provoke pity.
In four roller-coaster days, that pity has morphed into admiration. Those who once worshipped his talent can now look forward to his second coming.
If Tiger's win was a blessing from the golfing gods, what the Chiefs are doing is borderline miraculous.
An absolute shower through the first month of the season, the Hamilton-based franchise, after pipping the Blues in an anarchic Saturday night thriller, will be looking for four wins on the bounce when it meets the Lions at home on Friday.
Midtable mediocrity is nobody's idea of success but when you think that the Chiefs spent the first month embarrassing themselves – I mean, they lost at home to the Sunwolves and it wasn't close – then they are gradually turning muddy Waikato River water into cask wine.
All across the globe, sport was working in mysterious ways.
On Merseyside, Liverpool's Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah kept a bonkers title race alive with a stunning shot against his former team, Chelsea, whose fans had recently taunted him with Islamophobic chants.
In Sydney, there was blood (the jockey's) and tears (everyone else) aplenty as the great mare Winx retired with a win in the Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes, her 33rd in a row, a streak of truly epic proportions.
At the other end of the scale, in Boston, possibly the most heartwarming redemption of all came when Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis notched his first hit in 55 trips to the plate. To put it in perspective, even average players tend to bat at a .250 clip, which equates to a safe hit every four times up.
It was Major League Baseball's greatest streak of futility and the longer it went the more macabre the fascination with it became.
"I tried not to let it dominate my thoughts but it was hard," said Davis when surrounded by reporters at the end of the game. "It meant a lot to me; that's a long time without getting a hit."
As Tiger and the Chiefs will tell him, there is something near revelatory about the breaking of droughts.
THE MONDAY LONG READ ...
I can't stomach UFC but millions can. There might be a few of you out there who missed this excellent profile of Israel Adesanya in these pages.
In the spirit of a refresh, if you haven't read Charles P. Pierce's GQ profile of Tiger Woods at 21, then you really, really should.