LITTLE ROCK, ARK (THV11): The bond between a boy and his dad is unlike any other. It’s where relationship is defined, morals are developed and life lessons are taught. For one high school golfer, it’s a bond so strong, that even a year after his father’s passing, his life is still being molded by it. And for him it's the golf course, that's the never ending reminder of the who his father Kody, shaped him to be.
As seasons change and leaves fall, for Cade Riggan, there’s one thing that remains the same.
“He’s always in the back of my mind. It’s not just something you can push away,” says Cade.
With every stroke and every birdie, comes another reminder of the lessons he learned from his late father.
“Never get down on yourself, always stay positive," remembers Cade.
Growing up in the Riggan household, golf was a family game. It was a time where lessons could be learned and the relationship between a father and his sons could be nurtured.
“I was about 3 or 4 years old and my dad brought me out on the course. I’ve been golfing ever since.”
“It was something beautiful to watch between father and sons to watch for sure," says Carla Riggan, mother of Cade.
Which is why in August of 2016, when the Riggan's suddenly lost their father, Cade’s relationship with the game of golf was forever changed.
“I feel like after Kody passed away, he used the love of golf to get him through it. I don’t know how he would have done it without golf.”
For Cade, golf is now a time where he can grieve the passing of his father. But on this crisp fall day, the Searcy sophomore is reminded that it’s still a family game.
"We feel Kody’s presence on the golf course, we feel the closest to him out here, especially this time of year. This was Kody’s favorite time of the year."
Cade’s mother, Carla, has also used this game to grieve the passing of her husband.
"I think that through being on the golf course and watching Cade we both feel like he’s with us and I feel like he’s watching Cade right along with me."
And the two are still able to nurture the value of golf to their family. By cheering on Cade’s successes, staying positive through his failures but most importantly, by remembering to live like Kody.
"So living like Kody just means putting one step in front of the other, be gracious and grateful. And try to put others first. To not take life too seriously, enjoy it and live every moment like it’s your last. That statement here means a lot to our family because it happened to us," says Carla.
Since Kody passed away, Cade has been a back to back all-conference and all-state golfer. At his tournament over the weekend he shot two under and finished third.