The Washington Times - March 31, 2009, 08:56PM

Yet another reason ya gotta love a small town…

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            I was working on a big project with my 7th grade Reading class last week when my classroom phone rang. Answering it, and threatening my class into silence, I was pleasantly surprised by the person on the other end.

  It was our school’s district secretary, and she was calling to let me know that one of our hometown folk had a five-gallon bucket of golf balls. Having salvaged them from the local golf course, and truth be known many of those rescued balls were probably hit off my own inept swings from the summer before, this Samaritan was donating them to my eight member golf team –six boys and two girls. 

Having become the coach by default – no one else would do it – I knew then I had a lot to learn last year.  After all, I was …

  a volleyball coach.

 And I had never golfed one hole of golf, let alone a round of golf in my life.

 For years I had balked at the idea of even picking up a club. A sport? Come on! There’s no running, no jumping, no team chanting, and worst of all –no net. Until now, I spent my summers in a sand volleyball pit or on co-ed softball teams. But, it wasn’t long before I discovered something.

 I liked golf.

I bought a cheap set of clubs. I called in local “experts” – people who actually knew the game — to help me with the kids. Good Samaritans, and great golfers I might add, abound on a golf course in a small town. I was asked to play in women’s league, put on a team immediately, and given an embarrassingly high handicap. No one batted an eye when I hit ball after ball into the lake. They offered tips and even their own golf balls in case I “ran out”—a distinct possibility on some days! They took me in. Come Wednesday afternoons, I always had someone to golf with. I was slow. Painstakingly so, but no one cared. 

What I discovered, and I think what everyone finds, is that in helping others we do a lot for ourselves.  Our Good Samaritan got a great write-up in the local paper this week as I also sponsor the school paper The Saints’ View – and my kids have plenty of golf balls for meets and the drills we run at practice.

As long as they don’t let coach hit too many over the water.