By: Dave Hill WGCA contributing writer A photograph is a still shot in our minds, a suspension of time, a memory that gives and helps of live. This article will be short. I recently lost someone close, a pillar of stability in our family. It is in these times as humans we reflect about life. None of us know our destiny. Our past offers options; we can learn from, dwell on and/or cherish our history. It is the present, however, most worthy of embracing. There is presently a 70-year ongoing Harvard study about happiness. Seven decades earlier, researchers asked a large group of young boys from an impoverished Boston neighborhood what they believe would help lead them to a happy and fulfilling life. Not surprisingly, they all answered, in some form or another, bar none: To be rich/successful and/or famous. We’d likely hear the same answers from our youth today. Four generations of researchers later, the study has revealed a conclusive finding amongst the many kids within who are now in their eighties, only one finding in spite of the plethora of careers and socio-economic standing of the study’s participants. As it turns out, some had very successful careers and others remained impoverished. Some became wealthy, and even one became president of the United States. Again, in spite of where one stood in their respective life 70 years forward, the only characteristic in common attributing to each individual’s fulfillment regarding a happy life was the personal relationships they fostered with others throughout their lives. Some were in the past and based upon fond memories. Earlier, I mentioned cherishing the past. The research participants didn’t cherish the past at all. They cherish the present to provide the best memories. I lost a family member, I lost a friend, I lost one of my brethren (he, too, was a golf professional) and I lost a golfing partner. The memories are fond. We are lucky we work in a profession that most call a hobby or a lifestyle. Some are young getting started, others are in the midst of their careers, while others are seasoned veterans. Whether young, old, or somewhere in between, the next time you are out teaching or playing the game, remember there are two relationships you are nurturing: one with an individual and one with the game. There is only one thing more satisfying than seeing the look of exuberance of a student or a playing partner hitting the perfect shot. It is the knowledge of you knowing they have taken a snapshot of the ball in a still-frame as it reaches its apex as it inevitably toward its intended target. You know this because this is the essence of the game you have lived many times. Everything feels right as the ball leaves the club and your eyes focus in on the hurtling sphere, and the present moment becomes etched in your memory forever. Cherish the shot and enjoy the happiness the photograph provides forever.
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