One of the more touching tributes that I read about the late Billy Casper was actually a Facebook posting by Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Jim Nelford in which he not only remembered Casper for his accomplishments on the golf course, but also the profound impression he had as a human being on Nelford.
I haven’t asked Nelford to use the posting, so I won’t in its entirety but in a nutshell, Nelford talks about meeting Casper while playing college golf, how he took Nelford under his wing on the PGA Tour, before concluding with this thought.
“I will miss his tender heart. I will miss his warm smile. I will never forget what he meant to me. The world just lost a great Champion. Heaven is having a magnificent party right now, welcoming home one of their shining stars,” wrote Nelford.
I can relate to what Nelford’s saying.
Like so many others in Canadian golf, I felt a gaping void when I heard the news that Dick Grimm had passed away last May. I can’t say it came as a surprise because Dick had been ailing for quite some time, but that didn’t make it easier when it happened.
Of course, there were memories of Dick’s contribution to the Canadian Open, the building of Glen Abbey and the respect he drew from the likes of Jack Nicklaus and so many other PGA Tour stars, but a common theme was the time he always had for everybody despite his position in golf.
GNN blogger Kevin Thistle touched on that several times before and after and I recall one interview in particular I did with Dick five years ago when I was writing a feature for the Toronto Sun’s golf guide.
About the only bitching Dick did before the interview began was that I hadn’t called him and gone out for coffee with him lately. He then proceeded to give me a remarkable discussion, not only about golf but profoundly personal matters such as his battles with throat cancer.
I’d known Dick since the 1980s, so I hope he felt comfortable talking about such matters with me, but it underscored what Thistle has said about him. He always had time for you and would help you if he could.
As Nelford said about Casper, the way Dick conducted himself and carried himself is something we can all learn from, no matter the business in which we operate.
I use the gentlemen above as examples, but I’m sure you can name plenty more who characterized an era that left a legacy of caring behind. I would imagine all of us have somebody from that era who had a profound effect on us, but are we willing to carry the torch and pass it on eventually?
To tell you the business has changed dramatically over the decades would be insulting, but day to day, it is more of a rapid pace.
Contact with people is also less personal. Back in the day, business was mostly on a contact level and when it wasn’t face to face, we were at least speaking on the phone instead of texting or e-mailing.
As time goes on, business in general seems less conducive to actual face to face discussion. You may recall a couple of weeks ago on Bell Let’s Talk Day, this blog asked the industry to look after one another and keep your eyes open for any signs of depression.
It isn’t easy these days, but a conscious effort needs to be made to help mentor people new to the business and to help people who may be going through a rough time.
The other aspect of mentorship is how quickly you’re willing to trade places from teacher to student?
While technology may make the industry a less personal place these days, it’s also made our lives that much easier and some of the people I learn from about it weren’t even born when I first began reporting nearly 40 years ago.
Keeping an open mind works both ways.
Old school is tried and true, but we can’t let it limit us if there is technology or a method that will get a job done more efficiently and/or with more success. The people coming up need to listen and the people who have been around for awhile can’t talk down to them.
The willingness to listen is as important as the desire to pass along your knowledge and help people along the way. Coming up with an idea is as career-enhancing as accepting one.
Taking the time to listen as well as talk is what people will remember years from now.
It’s the same way we remember those who went before us