Several years ago. No, a few decades ago. I was an avid golfer. No, I wasn’t really that good, but I was decent.
Over the summer, I played as many as 72 holes between 6:30am and 9:00pm – essentially, if the course was open, I was playing. In the fall, I was on the varsity squad and even qualified for a few matches. One of my good friends, Marty, was in my high school class and, by the time he graduated, he had 6 varsity letters in golf. He was that good. I was not.
It didn’t matter to us who was better or how much. It was a friendship. I was just thinking about him a bit lately (he lives probably just over an hour from me, but we’ve not seen each other since 1992). While we were also in the high school marching band together, we golfed together. We even double dated to our Junior prom together. His family hosted us and our dates for dinner, with his little niece “waiting” on our table.
I realize I am remembering him like he’s gone. He isn’t. I just remember the weirdest things about people and how I spent time with them. For instance, every day, after school, once he had his driver’s licence, he would drive the two of us over to his house for a “snack” of about 4 bowls of Frankenberry or Count Chocula cereal before heading over to the course for 9 holes.
Our travels put us in his Pontiac T-1000 hatchback which, with the model T-1000, made it the “Terminator”. We’d listen to Fresh Prince, Ton Loc, and Young MC every single day on the way to his house, then to the course. Rain or shine. That was before I got my first job, so that wasn’t in the way.
Since high school, I’ve not played that much golf, regrettably. Once we started moving in different directions, I made it a point to keep playing. After all, I gave up other sports to play. And I hope to be playing well into my senior years. One thing I learned is to keep playing. I don’t play as much as I’d like and it’s no longer as affordable as it was – and, well, #becauseschool.
I’m not an overly social individual, so I’m quite fine with showing up at the course (as I did often when Marty wasn’t around) and playing a round with whomever the course staff paired me.
Sociologists and social psychologists name proximity and interests as reasons that friendships form and are maintained. The same happens with romantic relationships. After all, we are more likely to befriend or date individuals that attend school or clubs with us than someone who lives in another state. While most of us would think that’s common sense, we often fail to apply it when we’re adults and wondering where our interpersonal relationships have gone.
I struggle with local friendships, but seem to do decently with a few guys who live in other states. Short of relocating a bunch of us to a farm in the middle of the country, I don’t think there’s much we can do about the geography. But the reality is that we still need people locally to encourage and be encouraged by.
Do you have local support? What are you doing to build one another up and strengthen friendships? I’d like to understand what works for you and share it and learn from it – I imagine I’m not the only one struggling.