Happy Father's Day! The final day of the United States Open always falls on Father's Day, and as a little girl, I used to watch the Open on our black and white TV with my dad. Although he has been gone for 14 years, but I still remember the excitement of Sundays at the Open- watching Arnold Palmer (my favorite), Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gene Littler, Ken Venturi and others with Daddy. I have such fond memories looking back on those days, and I now see that watching golf with Daddy taught me about life.
This year, I have been volunteering at the 2016 US Open at the fabled Oakmont Country Club, a golf course I have played many times (with the course always winning our match.) I have enjoyed volunteering for every Open at Oakmont since 1983 - and I was a spectator at the tournaments in 1973 and 1978. For this event, I have been working as a marshal on hole 8, the long par 3 before crossing the footbridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike on the way to number 9, which returns to the clubhouse. Truly a great assignment!
I love the game of golf, the rules of golf, the honor of golf, and I also love Oakmont. In fact, there is no place on earth that I would rather be than on a golf course: playing, coaching, or volunteering. I have often compared being on a beautiful golf course to walking into a painting of lush and vibrant colors, with the feeling of serenity and quiet introspection. The social aspects cannot be ignored, either, and a person's moral fiber and temperament are exposed in 18 holes of golf more quickly than in any other venue. The famed sportswriter Grantland Rice quipped, "Eighteen holes of match play will teach you more about your foe than 18 years of dealing with him across a desk."
I also love golf because of the many lessons offered by the game. I was a teacher for 37 years and a varsity high school golf coach for 33 years, and even after all those years of coaching and 45 years of playing, I continue to learn lessons from the game, the players, the rules, the honor, and the expectations of golf. Unlike many other professional sports, professional golfers do not make the front page for being "thugs." No thugs allowed in this game! The players are always neatly dressed, shirts tucked in, hats with bills forward, and doffed at appropriate moments. Golfers shake hands with each other, practice good etiquette and manners (on and off the golf course), and follow the rules. Golfers do not disrespect each other in the press, nor do they suffer from anger management issues and lose self-control. In fact, I have been a part of professional golf tournaments for 40 years, and I have never met a professional golfer who was completely inappropriate. Overall, I think most golfers are terrific role models for young people today.
An interesting point about golf: one does not have to play to learn from the game. Lessons about patience, rub of the green, lucky (and unlucky) breaks, and perseverance can be learned just from watching golf on television. Risk-reward is not always the best option; having and keeping a focus and a plan is advisable; a strong sense of self-confidence is imperative; and having a caddy to offer sage advice - and heeding that advice - is optimum. All important life lessons.
I hope you have a chance to watch some PGA golf soon, and/or to have the blessing of playing the game on a lush course and socializing with friends. I hope you have your mind open to enjoy and learn all of the life lessons offered by the greatest game ever invented. According to Hardy Greaves in the film THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, golf is the greatest game: "Ask anybody. It's fun. It's hard and you stand out there on that green, green grass, and it's just you and the ball and there ain't nobody to beat up on but yourself
. . . It's the only game I know that you can call a penalty on yourself, if you're honest, which most people are. There just ain't no other game like it."
May the best player win, and when he does win, it will be with grace and humility.
Quick note about the picture below- I had the chance to meet Jason Day, the world's number one golfer, on tuesday during the practice round. I gave him a copy of GRADY GETS GLASSES for his children, and he did a photo with me! Gracious manners from Jason Day!
Some additional lessons from golf:
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading.
Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom. Check them out! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . The website www.gradygetsglasses.com IS UP AND RUNNING!!!. Signed copies ARE available! Grady plush toys are ordered!
Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl
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