Golfing has been my passion since I was in 2nd grade, as my previous blog described. Moving from Southwestern New York to Orlando was one of the best changes I ever made. I was going from an area that had two seasons, last winter and next winter, with a few good days in between. But to move to Florida as a golfer meant almost 365 days of golfing – Nirvana.
Something unexpected happened nine years ago that has changed my perspective on the game of golf and life in general. First of all, I realized that the worst professional golfer on the PGA Tour was a thousand times better than me. I also asked 9 years ago to volunteer with the Kids’ Golf Clinic at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (f/k/a Bay Hill Invitational). One small kid’s clinic was all they asked me to work on. It took me about 20 hours in total to help schedule, set-up, and run the event, but I was hooked. There was just something about working on an event hosted by one of my boyhood golf heroes – Arnold Palmer.
What “hooked” me the most was the support that the event provided to the Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida. Listening to the stories of how the funds from the event were used to help kids pulled at my heart strings. Until now, I have not had to utilize the facilities at either the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children or the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. But that is about to change. My youngest daughter is expecting her first daughter, and we had our first dry run last night. No baby yet, but I did get a sense of the professionalism of the hospital staff and the urgency with which they handle expectant mothers.
And at some point in the evening I realized that I have been, in a very small way, “paying it forward” with all the work I have done at the golf tournament each year! And as hindsight shows you, the little things in life DO count. Like a little newborn granddaughter or a 1 year old grandson. Little things – – that will become big things – – right before your eyes.