I got a message from an old friend this week. I have not seen him much in the past twenty years even though we were best friends back in the day. He lives on the other side of the country now, but tells me he is coming home for a visit next weekend. I was thrilled with the news and it got me thinking about the power of friendships and the many great bonds that I have forged since becoming a greenkeeper.
Our industry is relatively unique in this regard. I have yet to work another job which has yielded so many close relationships for me. Whether it's the super next door, an architect you have worked with, or your favorite salesman, the people we meet can have a profound effect on our jobs and our lives. If we are wise enough to cultivate these bonds, they can help us in ways we cannot easily appreciate at first.
We have a stressful job and at times the battles can take their toll on our well being. The weather, green chairmen, contractors, owners, you name it all can quickly add up, causing undue wear and tear on our coping mechanisms. The toll is even greater if you isolate yourself.
No man (woman) is an island, as poet John Donne so eloquently put many years ago. Isolating ourselves gives the negative stuff a more favourable environment to grow.
Having a few fellow supers to call on during tough times can make a huge difference. A good venting session can unload a lot junk, and give us the clarity we seek. Another point of view is always helpful when dealing with difficult matters. Beyond that, there is always a good chance that one of your industry buddies has dealt with a similar issue before.
Commonality binds us together. A few years back I was fortunate enough to attend a gathering of twenty five international greenkeepers. The entire week was fantastic but for me the best part was the bonds that were created. There were twenty five superintendents from all around the world. Some of us could not even speak the same language, but we all had one thing in common... we were all golf course superintendents; we all shared that special something that makes us get up early in the morning and stay until the day is done. Although each story was unique to the individual telling it, much of what was said was the same. You could see the sense of connection in everyones eyes when we shared our golf course tales.
So the next time your best superintendent friend calls, take the time to chat, take the time to listen, and take the time to thank them for being there for you. Maybe even take the time to head out for a game of golf or even beer and pretzels... it can make all the difference. Youll be glad that you did.