Golf legend Arnold Palmer died on Sunday, September 25, at a hospital in Pittsburgh. He had complications from heart problems which took his life, leaving a huge hole in the hearts of his legions of fans, known as "Arnie's Army."
I first met Mr. Palmer in 1983 while working as a volunteer at the U.S. Open at the fabled Oakmont Country Club, and our paths would cross many times through the years, both through my volunteer work with the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association, my membership in the WGAWP, and my 33 years of coaching high school golf. He will always be my favorite golfer, and no one will ever take his place in my heart.
As I read the local papers, watched the coverage of his passing on The Golf Channel (which he founded) and the major television networks, the outpouring of love and admiration for Arnold Palmer eclipsed anything I have seen in my lifetime, save the coverage of the funerals of Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana. The word "beloved" comes to mind.
All of these accolades provoke this thought: just what was it about Arnold Palmer that made him so special? I think I have some good answers. Arnold Palmer never forgot his roots. Although he lived in Florida and had houses in other parts of the country, he loved being home at Latrobe, puttering in his shop, working with his golf clubs, getting his hair cut at the local barber shop, playing golf at his club, and eating lunch in the grill room. Simple pleasures for a man who enjoyed living simply.
Arnold Palmer cared about his community. He was a major benefactor for the town of Latrobe: he built the Winnie Palmer wing of the hospital; he contributed to the state police drive for underprivileged children; he built a fieldhouse for his high school, and more. His giving is legendary in Westmoreland County.
When asked for his autograph, Mr. Palmer did not shrug off his fans and walk away. In fact, I heard on the news that Arnold Palmer's autograph is just about worthless- because he signed his name with his perfect penmanship so many times! However, that clearly penned name is not worthless to the legions of fans who own that signature, because of the interaction and short time they spent with The King while he was signing. Mr. Palmer had that uncanny ability to make everyone feel important- from the local butcher to the President of the United States. There will never be another Arnold Palmer, and I feel so blessed to have known the man.
Arnold Palmer taught millions of people life lessons - for example, to go for the green and push the risk/reward; that humility in victory is as important as humility in defeat; to treat everyone with respect and to look people in the eye; to acknowledge others as they acknowledge you. He showed good manners and grace at all times - and never let his anger or frustration show in public. I have never heard or read about anyone saying a derogatory statement about Arnold Palmer.
Arnold Palmer's quotations inspired me as a golf coach for 33 years, and I often used his quotes in the team yearbooks I made for my boys. I continue to be inspired and to persevere because of this quote by Arnold Palmer: "The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done." Who would have thought that the son of a greenskeeper who was too small to play football would become such a giant in the sports world?
Rest in peace, my friend. I hope the golf courses in Heaven are as beautiful as the ones you designed here on Earth. You will be missed. And thank you for sending that beautiful rainbow over the golf course and your statue as your ashes were being scattered on the 18th hole. Your special rainbow gift made everyone feel better!
A few pictures of us through the years!
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Eight of Arnold palmer's top quotes are in this article https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/282920
More about Arnie's rainbow: http://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/look-rainbow-appears-over-country-club-after-arnold-palmers-ashes-are-spread/
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!
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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 now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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