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 Importance of Friends

Acknowledging friends and the importance of a good influence is the subject of this week’s post. One  person can change the course of events without you even knowing it is happening. For me that person is Rick Williams, a transfer student/athlete who is still a friend today. Even though our time together in high school was but one single year as he was a senior when he transferred in and I was a junior, he made a profound difference in the outcome of my life.

Rick and his brother moved in from another school district between my sophomore and junior years of high school. It was a unique time in Indiana as they were consolidating many of the smaller schools into one somewhat larger entity. For me, that meant that my beloved Hoagland High School Wildcats and Monroeville High Cubs (arch enemies since the beginning of time) merged together to form one school. As it turns out it was much to do about nothing, but as an incoming junior in high school it was near devastating (tongue in cheek). Therefore when my Grandmother asked me to meet these two new arrivals from yet another district, I was more amenable than most 16 year old kids would be.

You see this was a fresh start with someone from neither the existing school nor “dreaded competitor”. Rick and his brother were moving from a school district where my Aunt had lived. This coupled with the connection to my Paternal Grandmother, made it more plausible than many moves into or out of a school district.

Rick and I became good friends over his Senior Year and my Junior Year, perhaps because of athletics, perhaps due to the Aunt/grandmother connection, or perhaps it was just fate. In the fall, off to college Rick went to play baseball and study art (this rather unique combination gives you a window into Rick). What made all of this fairly unique is that the many of the kids in the rural area where I grew up did not venture to college, much less one over 1,000 miles from home. I know I had no intention of continuing with golf or school once I graduated, but over the course of the year Rick was away, I became a bit intrigued, and as you have guessed by now, I also went to the same college (now called Polk State College). From that starting point I continued with golf and ultimately went into the golf business and became a PGA Professional. The interesting part of that is at no one stage (high school or college) would my record have indicated that golf would be my first career, but through Rick’s leadership and encouraging friendship I continued to pursue what became a passion, career, and business asset (golf). Rick, thanks for making me think and believe beyond what I saw, or even what the might facts suggested. Thank you for pushing me beyond my comfort zone and beyond my boundaries in education, golf and life, but most of all, thank you for the gift of friendship which still exists today 47+ years later.

When I started this series of acknowledgement posts, I said my expectation is that each of you reach out and tell someone who you have not yet told (or told properly) what a difference they made in the end product (you). Until next time....


  1. Jim,

    Thank you for the gift of your insight, wisdom and friendship. I value all that you have taught me and continue to teach me. You are an inspitation for Good. Thank you thank you thank you. I am grateful for YOU!

    1. Thanks "unknown". Your kind words are appreciated.


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