Change is a natural part of life and has been since the beginning of time. Everyone has, is, or will experience some type of change throughout their lifetime. Changes to health, employment situations, family dynamics, and just about any other aspect of life can happen at a moment’s notice. 

In moments of change, it’s hard to see the silver lining, but often, when looking back with hindsight, the change may have yielded unexpected positive results. With that in mind, I’d like to share a light-hearted story of change that I recently experienced that ended up having surprisingly positive outcomes. 

I joined a men’s golf league this year for the first time. I haven’t really participated competitively in anything since high school football and intramural sports (Class of 2009). The league had about 20 teams, with two people on each team. I signed up with one of my good friends. 

Around the fourth week of the sixteen-week season, my friend decided to quit for various reasons, leaving me without a partner (The decision to quit had to do with external factors and not related to our friend/team dynamic). I knew I didn’t want to quit but couldn’t find a replacement partner. I emailed the league organizer to explain the situation and said I would probably have to bow out of the league myself. In his reply, he said, “Don’t give up! I think I can find you a partner.” 

I showed up the following Monday for league night, unsure if I’d even have a teammate. That’s when I was introduced to my partner for the night, Bob. As we got to chatting, I learned that Bob is the 79-year-old brother of the league organizer. I’ll admit, I was a little unsure about how well we were going to get along and wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of carrying on for another 12 weeks.

To make a long story short, we got along great! We spent some time getting to know each other on the course, and we even won our first match together! After the round ended, we shook hands, Bob told me he enjoyed it, and said he would see me that next week. We ended up playing out the rest of the season together, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the experience. No, we didn’t set any course records or come close to winning most of our matchups, but we had a lot of fun.  

Throughout the rest of the season, I learned about his experience being drafted and sent to Vietnam right out of high school, listened to his advice about golf and life, and overall, I just enjoyed and appreciated the time I was spending with my new, unlikely friend. 

I also got to know other folks in the league over time. I have even been invited on a big, annual golf trip that some of the guys participate in during the spring. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make the trip next year, but I do know that I will be playing in that league again next spring. I look forward to seeing the familiar faces along with welcoming new ones!