A blog to acknowledge those who should have been acknowledged and thanked more appropriately before, and to possibly help you in your lives and career by provoking thought, reflection and reading material that might well alter your career and life. If it prompts you to contemplate and acknowledge those in your life, even better.

The Formative Years (Part 2)

"Hey Baby" by The Buckingham’s is just a song for many, but for me it is far more, even today as I hear The Buckingham’s on the radio or while attending a Salute to the 60’s Concert Series (the musical equivalent of the Senior Golf Tour).  This was the last song I ever heard Art Hughes sing.  Art was an older (3 years) neighbor kid who sang in a local garage band named the Music Box……I still remember that fall night at the Hoagland High School Gym listening to Art sing Hey Baby and several other popular tunes of the time and thinking of his talent, but never dreaming that I would not hear Art sing again. As I tell this story, it is not to praise his musical ability, but rather, a linkage to what was Art……..an older kid who took the time (hint of today’s lesson) to teach me golf. Golf, you see, was just another one of Art’s skills and but became a game that was hugely instrumental in my life. Golf was important to me not only because I ultimately became a PGA Professional, but also because of the people I met through golf, the experiences I was able to have, and the places I have gotten to see in my life. All of these still resonate as positive memories, none of which would have been possible if not for golf & Art.

Getting back to the story of my journey of a series of grateful blogs, in my last blog if you will remember, I referenced my mother and her way unique way to always look for ways to be germane or at least participate. I was raised in Indiana where playing basketball was the goal of nearly every young athlete, but for a kid who was not quick and did not grow until his senior year that proved to be problematic for me. My mother in her infinite wisdom asked if there was any sport where size and speed did not matter….to which I retorted- “that would be golf mom”………well, she responded, who plays golf that could teach you, and as I am sure you have guessed by now, that would have been Arthur David Hughes (1949-1967). At the urging of my mother (thanks be to Mom) I got on my bike and went the half mile down the road and asked if I might watch Art hit some practice balls. I am not sure whether he took pity, or was just in the mood to have someone shag a few balls for him, but he allowed me to watch him.

I remember being struck by the flight of the ball, and the sound it made when he connected appropriately (which was quite often). I remember thinking how in the world does he do that. But as I watched him practice, it struck me as I learned later from reading about Ben Hogan, “the secret is in the dirt”. Practicing, especially practicing with a purpose turned out to be fairly important for golf, as well as business. Practicing your/our craft or chosen field of endeavor makes up for a lack of talent and will serve us well. Ironically enough it also circles back to my father suggesting that I should consider out working others as a strategy!

I am struck by the amount of people that have made a demonstrable difference in my ultimate journey, many of whom never knew they made an impact, or in some cases didn’t live to see the impact they had made. Art is one of those people. His life was cut tragically short in car crash in November of 1967.

Thankfully, 4 others in Art’s car lives were spared. Art never knew what a difference he made in my life, nor did he realize (or his family members) realize how many other lives he might have changed because of his giving nature and willingness to spend time with a kid who at the time must have seemed like a major pest. The lesson here is- Pay it forward. You never know what a difference you might be making for not only the person you are helping, but for those who may be downstream from those you have helped.

If you know of someone who has made a difference in your life, tell them now, and do not wait to too late or to “blog it” later in life.

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