My husband loves to play disc golf. So, when we travel, we often find local disc golf stores. They’re usually strip-mall affairs peopled by the disc golf world’s version of stoner surfer dudes. But the folks are always nice and quick with a referral to a good local course. We support a local business. Everybody wins.
Our most recent local disc golf shop was something else. It was inside an office building and was a disc golf shop-slash-insurance billing office. But the owner? Well, he was a gem.
As My Guy looked at the assortment of discs, the shop owner told us about two local courses that would be a good fit. And, well, they were both named after guys who had been instrumental in bringing the sport to town. They were his high school history teacher and that teacher’s best friend.
And then? Then, this gentleman whipped out his high school yearbook. It easily fell open to a page that had obviously been accessed often and displayed a quarter-page photo of a guy who looked like Jim Henson.
“See, in 1979, 1980, you were supposed to respect and fear your teachers,” he said. “But Jim wasn’t that kind of guy. He made you feel important. He’d be walking down the hall with other teachers, and he’d leave them to come talk to you. He’d give you a hug and ask about you and make you feel like a person.
“Well, he started the first disc golf tournament in town, and got me and my buddies into the sport.” He pulled a disc off the wall. “This was the disc from that tourney. I felt pretty special having this disc that my teacher gave me. Talk about feeling like a big man the next Monday at school!”
Somewhere in this dialogue, I went from being charmed to being completely torn apart and oozing with love for this man and his history teacher.
Cancer got the teacher in the 90s. But he made such a big impact that my new friend keeps his 40-year-old yearbook at the ready, poised to talk about the man who had such a big impact on his life.
Life goals: be so kind that someone keeps your yearbook at the ready.