Glass Half Full: Enjoying the pleasure of others’ company
September 15, 2016
From 1997 to 2001, I lived in Gahanna, Ohio, and served as Head of Middle School at Columbus Academy. My husband, Wayne, worked for the United States Senate during that period and travelled frequently. With our daughters grown, it was a reasonable time for a commuter marriage. I had lots of free time.
Academy was an independent, K-12 school with an enrollment of just over 900 students. Historically all-boys, it had transitioned to coeducation about six years before I arrived. At that time, the administration was predominantly male, most of them strong golfers. For reasons I still don't quite understand but will always appreciate, they frequently included me in outings on the multitude of courses that abounded in the area.
Recently I wrote four of the gentlemen with whom I played most often, thanking them for their patience with me during those years. Having taken a number of lessons since living in Incline, I am ever more aware of how bad a player I must have been then, yet they never made me feel anything but included. Their responses to my joint email were swift and typically generous.
Erich Hunker, still Assistant Head at Columbus Academy, noted, "Better than golf lessons are the ones of humility, humor, honor, having a sense of calm and being just good, true north folk I learned from all of you. Come to think of it… Why was I ever included in that foursome?" A reminder that, often, we are more aware of our own perceived inadequacies than of others'!
Scott Prince, owner of Prince College Counseling and Educational Consulting in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote, "Golf is about improvement but also the company you keep and I count myself blessed to have shared good times on courses far and near with so many of you. One of the best things about golf is being able to bring different ability levels together — can't think of any other sport that can make 4 hours enjoyable with such a potentially wide range of abilities. My Dad is approaching 80 now and it is as fun playing with him today as it was when I was 10 and he had to be patient with me."
John Mackenzie, now a Managing Partner of Educators' Collaborative, observed, "Time memorializes some events perfectly and fades into inaccuracy on others. (It seems, for instance, that you may have forgotten the sub-par rounds I shot while playing with you.) But, I too, have fond memories of those golf rounds — of good laughs and especially of how easy Scott Prince made the game look."
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In fact, Scott had played on his college team. He was the one we all aspired to emulate. The fact is, over fifteen years later, each of us recalls significant lessons from playing with each other and treasure the relationships that sustained us in both our work and play. We should all be reminded that the pleasure of others' company is far more important and lasting than any game.
Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at http://www.laketahoeschool.org.