A few weekends ago, I played a round of golf with two guys I knew from my high school days. My wife had dreamed up this outing during the long, tough winter; to be a belated celebration of my birthday, once all the snow had melted away, and the golf season was under way.
My friends and I graduated the same year, and we’re all the same age. John and Bob were on the golf team in high school; I played baseball. John and I were band geeks. We hadn’t stayed close through the years, but had reconnected in the last few years through Facebook. We’ve found that we share a similar sense of humor, enjoyment of golf, and a love of all things bacon. They presented me with some wonderful gifts: bacon-flavored floss, bacon bandages, bacon socks, an “I Love Bacon” card with real bacon grease, and a Zip-loc bag full of bacon. It was a fun day.
The time we spent on the golf course and after was an opportunity for me to learn more about my friends’ lives since high school. There were differences: marriages, divorce, kids, health. And, there was one commonality that struck me. We had all lost our fathers in the last few years; one very recently. Maybe that’s why I find myself writing this today, putting to words the feelings I’ve been carrying fondly since our outing. What it is I want to share with you–
When guys get together, there can often be a lot of competition and one-upmanship. But with John and Bob, we were encouraging each other and celebrating each other’s successes. There was certainly some good-natured teasing, but we really wanted us all to play well. We didn’t get caught up in who was scoring the best. In fact, although we kept score, it was truly of little importance.
Maybe it’s a factor of our age. Maybe it’s a generational thing. But, I see a lot of guys our age who are still caught up in how they measure up.
I believe the men that John, Bob, and I are, has been greatly influenced by the lessons and examples of our fathers. We spent a lot of our day together sharing thoughts and stories of our fathers; how we learned humility, respect, humor, and good sportsmanship from our dads. How they showed up as fathers and spouses; as golfers and men. How they showed up for us during our life challenges. Good times we spent with them. And how we miss them.
We are the sons of our fathers. We hope we honor them and make them proud; that we rise to our own challenges with dignity and heart. If that Saturday, and our round of golf, is any indication, we’ve learned our lessons well. We are kind and good men, and I believe our fathers are looking down on us, pleased.
And, hopefully on this day, Father’s Day, they are up there enjoying their own round of golf together. Cheering each other, and us, on.