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Act Like You’ve Been There… Or Else

As I begin my final season of coaching baseball, I have a laundry list of items I want to communicate to players and parents.  Since youth often wear their emotions on their sleeves, this game must be separated from life and death as the ebb and flow of wins and losses can be exhausting.  Thus, one must possess the proper perspective to enjoy this moment in time: play by play, inning by inning and game by game.

According to Psalm 35:15-16, poor sports have existed for thousands of years.  David recalled the times in life when his enemies reveled in his blunders, errors and missteps.  Instead of celebrating, laughing and mocking the mistakes of others, perhaps its better to act like you’ve been there.  If you reap what you sow, Galatians 6:7-8, overlooking the failures of others, this will lead to mercy in the future when you fail.

Over time, wins and losses will fade from memories, leaving one thing behind, how did you play the game?  Did you give 100% all the time, did you take plays off or was your effort based upon your feelings?  As the sand in the hour glass slowly slips away, your legacy is in the balance.  Act like you’ve been there before or else you’ll regret the reputation you earned as a poor sport, slacker or worse.  With the slate clean today, turn over a new leaf now while the season is still young.

by Jay Mankus

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A Caddy’s Life

Having the 2013 United States Open Golf Championship come to Merion, about a 45 minute drive from my current home, brings back fond memories of caddying.  In addition, watching an American Dream, a golf channel special of the life of Lee Trevino, also led me to reflect upon the days I spent working at golf courses.  Nearly one forth of my summers have been invested in caddying in 4 different states and 2 countries.

It all began for me in Chester County, encouraged by a high school friend to introduce myself to the Caddy Master at Concord Country Club in Pennsylvania.  My initial goal was to supplement my grass cutting income.  However, before I knew it, I was working 3-4 days a week, making between $90 and $150 per week each summer.  I still recall receiving my first $100 bill following a member guest, caddying for the Vice-President of Dupont.

From here, I spent 5 seasons at Chagrin Valley Country Club, 45 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  Depending upon the weather, I worked anywhere from 2 days a week to six.  Because of the large membership, double looping, going out once in the morning and afternoon was typical, occurring 2-3 times a week.  With Geauga Lake’s Wildwater Kingdom 15 minutes from my parent’s home, I spent nearly every day on a golf course  and most nights at this park.  A college student could not paint a better picture of fun, sun and muney.

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From a life perspective, my manners, people skills and respect for other human beings come from my days as a caddy.  Despite my feelings for the member or guest I was paired with, I was taught to work hard, go the extra mile and keep my mouth shut.  This blue collar position instilled in me a work ethic that I still possess as I start a new career with Amazon.  My prayer is that I will be able to call upon my past experiences so that the prosperity I enjoyed in college will return in the near future.  Before I say goodbye for day, I want to leave you with a parity of the James Taylor’s song Fire and Rain.

A Caddy’s Life

I’ve seen hacks and I’ve seen pain
I’ve seen rainy days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen awful rounds when I could not earn a tip
But I always long to see my pay check

I’ve seen stiffs and I’ve seen fame
I’ve seen bad holes I thought would never come to an end
I’ve seen slow play that would make a snail look good
But I always longed to see that last green

Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus
I need your strength to go one more nine
My body can’t stand on its own right now
My knees are aching and my head is on fire
Please send me your Spirit to complete this last nine.

by Jay Mankus