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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A Teen's Discovery of Humility

By David Wolfe of Ageless Marketing

Humility was like olives for me; I had to learn to like it.

I was a pretty good golfer as a teenager. I played on the Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school golf team, ranked as the number two player.

On one fine spring day around 1950, we met the team from St. Alban's School for Boys at the venerable Congressional Country Club in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. My opponent was St. Alban's number six man. My team captain, John Eisinger, put me against a weaker player to all but insure a win. The team score was reckoned by the number of individual matches won.

However, a minor tragedy on the second hole threatened John's strategy. On a practice swing, my club slipped in my hands. Its head hit the ground with such force that the top of the shaft broke and the separated bottom ricocheted up into the palm of my left hand.

I wrapped my blood-gushing hand with a handkerchief and bravely tried to play the hole through. Every time I hit the ball a pain shot through my injured hand. By the end of the second hole my opponent was surely certain he would win the match by default. I was doing miserably on every shot.

But I was not through just yet. On the third tee I pulled my driver out and addressed the ball with just my right hand holding the club.

Bam! I hit a shorter drive than usual, but straight as an arrow the ball traveled, landing in a good position in the middle of the fairway. Sensing that I could not manage control of my irons, I took out my driver out of the bag, hoping I could get enough lift from a non-teed position to get respectable distance.

Bam! Once more I hit a perfectly aligned if shorter than usual shot.

Bam! Again I did it, getting the ball on the green.

Now the challenge was to putt. For you non-golfers, a putter is the stiffest club in the bag with virtually no spring - unlike a driver which is the springiest. Without both hands on the putter, I had a poor sense of how hard to putt the ball. Once more, I put my faith in my trusty driver. Gloop-gloop! In went my first putt with the driver.

I won the hole. I was on! I was hot!

My opponent was not happy. A one-armed golfer had taken a hole away from him. I suspect that the very fact of my refusal to give up intimidated him. We continued our match, with me winning more holes than he did. Finally, on the 16th hole I sunk the putt that ended the match.

I was so full of myself I couldn't wait to get to school the next day to tell everyone how their intrepid, second-ranked player on the golf team had with one hand beaten his opponent.

As I was brushing my teeth the next morning, looking at myself in the mirror with gut-busting pride, I was suddenly overcome with a mood-tamping thought: my chastened opponent might be brushing his teeth at the same time, but in an unhappy state of mind as he reflected on the embarrassing circumstances of being defeated by an adversary playing with one hand.

I decided it was not a good thing to go bragging around my school that day about how I had beaten a St. Alban's player with one hand. I kept to my resolve. But an interesting coda to this story is that several days later my team captain told me that a story had been going around the St. Alban's campus about my opponent being defeated by a player in a wheel chair.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

TeeHee! What a funny development. Humility does more for you than pride!

You get high marks for this one. Not too many high school kids (no, make that "people") can walk in the shoes of an friend, much less and opponent. Bravo!

I am proud of you for not telling the story (until now).

I enjoyed this story and your humility. It has a message for the ages. How much better the horn of another to trumpet your victory; both of them.

I found myself in the middle of an argument between two of my friends in high school. It was the beginning of track season. They were both insisting they were going to be the #1 broad jumper on the team. They were both good, but felt my choosing one over the other would prove their charge. "Guys you both will get a chance to compete in the first meet. May the best man win."

Jumping wasn't my event, but the coach said there was room for one more team member to compete and told me to give it a try.

I set a new school record. They didn't ask me to side with either of them again.

Your humility paid off, even if the story got elaborated along the way. Two lessons here; gossip is usually wrong and it pays to be humble.

Good for you on showing humility and on being a heck of a golfer. Do you golf now and why aren't you on the circuit?

This is a wonderful story and truer today then ever. Our children need to know about humility and holding back when appropriate. I'm proud of you to this moment...

Thanks very much for sharing.

My best,
Dorothy from grammology
call your gram
www.grammology.co

Great story. John Eisinger was my cousin and I think he made a good selection. Clayton

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