Teachers and PGA pros have something in common

Posted 8/21/18

Last weekend I travelled to St. Louis for a golf weekend with some old friends of mine, and, as part of that weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. …

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Teachers and PGA pros have something in common

Posted

Last weekend I travelled to St. Louis for a golf weekend with some old friends of mine, and, as part of that weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. And it occurred to me, as I was sitting on the metal bleachers behind the sixth green, feeling a lot like a London Broil in 92 degrees and 93 percent humidity, that those pros play a game that is not at all like the game I play.

The sixth at Bellerive, for this tournament, is a 224-yard par 3 over water. On good days, I consider that “drivable;” these guys are using 5 irons. When I hit the ball into a sand trap, I curse and struggle; these guys shrug and plot the different ways they could hit it to get within two feet. And, on Friday, one of them hit a shot from 235 yards on one hole that had to go over and curve around an 80-foot juniper, to land within 5 feet of the pin.

Now, wouldn’t that be a nice shot to have in your bag?

What these guys have that I don’t, it would seem, (among other things) is power. Tiger Woods can hit a ball over 300 yards on a practice swing. And, on the one hole I almost saw him on, (before a lightning storm cancelled play), one of his playing partners was 30 yards past him in the middle of the fairway. It is unreal how far these guys hit a ball.

Tiger, of course, has another sort of power. While we were waiting for him to reach us on the 17th, you could feel the roar approaching. We were in a good crowd, four people deep around the green; the crowd following Tiger more than tripled our crowd. And, on Sunday, the man playing with Tiger, though he was in contention, barely got his face on TV, and faded off the leader board with scant protest.

That’s a whole different kind of power.

After one of the rounds that me and my friends played, we went to a bar. Now, I don’t hang around bars much any more (hopefully, that doesn’t come as news), so it gave me an interesting opportunity to observe a different gathering of people than my normal one. Among the denizens of this particular bar was an attractive young lady, who had an easy smile and a familiar manner about her, who managed to keep the attention of most of the young men in the bar.

Still a different kind a power.

Sadly, this young lady seemed to be viewed by many of those men as a disposable pleasure. This seems to me to be a great squandering of power — she has the gifts, I am certain, to inspire a man to treat her with respect and elevate both of their standings. But she could choose to waste those gifts.

But the wasting of power is not nearly as troubling as the actual abuse of power. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

That is why I, as a parent and a teacher, take great encouragement from a portion of Superintendent Jason Glass’ opening letter to Jeffco staff this week. In it, he writes “Tomorrow, parents all across our community will entrust their children to us. This responsibility is sacred — and we are honored by it.”

Indeed.

There will be many lively conversations over the next couple months about our schools, and how we manage and distribute the various resources we have. But, never let those conversations distract you from the fact that the vast majority of the men and women who work with your children every day are aware of, are humbled by, and strive to use the power they have for the betterment of your children.

Welcome back to school, folks. Here’s hoping 2018-19 is a tremendous success!

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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