Archives For July 2014

On July 10th, my high school golf coach, Loren St. Lawrence passed away. He had valiantly fought cancer for the past eight years. As St. Lawrence put it, “I got cancer but cancer didn’t get me.”

It had been many years since I had last seen “Coach”. We stayed in touch primarily through writing. He was a regular encourager of me even years after he moved back to his home in Oregon and would almost always write back commenting on this blog.

He lived a “brilliant life”.

He was a devoted husband to his wife Barbara.

He was an acclaimed and adventurous race car driver.

He was a tenacious marketer.

He was a fine, honorable golfer.

He was a counselor and mentor to numerous high school students.

He was a successful high school golf coach, leading my high school team to State.

He was not a father per se but he adopted countless high school students through mentoring.

I am one of those students. To me, he was “Coach”, my mentor. 

 

John Marecek, Rick Ewing, and I with Coach at the 1996 State tournament with Coach.

John Marecek, Rick Ewing, and I with Coach at the 1996 State tournament with Coach.

The very first day I moved from Kansas City to St. Louis in 1993, he found me and brought me into his office. I felt little hope before that time as a lost, shy freshman. He immediately plugged me in with Rick Ewing and the golf team and the rest is history. The next four years, Coach invested in me and helped shape me into a confident leader, eventually captaining our team. I am writing this while Open Championship (The British Open) is being played, which is fitting. Coach called me “Radar” because I had the uncanny ability to find missing golf balls. It always makes me laugh because I have lousy eyesight and I just thought I was lucky.
My friend Rick Ewing hanging out with Coach in his office in-between classes.

My friend Rick Ewing hanging out with Coach in his office in-between classes.

Our high school was a public school and our golf team had to compete with the most elite private schools of the St. Louis area. We had a big chip on our shoulder because of this fact and were driven to win but we didn’t know how. Coach recognized this and when he took over as coach he was committed to making our program as elite or better than the private schools. He was impeccably organized to ensure we trained well to compete. He tracked details of how we scored in our rounds including fairways hit, greens in regulation, and tracking putts. These details were usually only captured by college coaches. He even made us look good with better uniforms, bags and club covers. Coach organized spring break trips (with the great help of parents) to go to Florida to play when it was snowing back home. This helped us to keep our game sharp before the heat to the Spring season and were prepared to win. We won our conference tournament four years in a row, sent team members to state every year, and eventually sent our whole team there our senior year. Our senior year he began a new tournament that would serve as a mid-season NIT and we invited all of the top teams in St. Louis to compete. We won that tournament and it prepared us to beat those teams again in the District championship thus taking us to the State tournament.
After four hard-working years, the 1997 Webster Groves High School Golf team wins the District title (the best team in St. Louis)

After four hard-working years, the 1997 Webster Groves High School Golf team wins the District title (the best team in St. Louis)

To young men who played under Coach may not have recognized how blessed they were at the time but as they reflected on their experience later in life, I am sure they recognized how well they had it under Coach’s leadership.
There is not a day I do not go back to my days on the golf course with him or his office talking about life and golf or the random fun of the day. Although I do not play much golf anymore since my family takes up my time, I still cherish those years in the golf course with Coach. I think he would appreciate that and make sure I knew that golf is a game that I will be able to play until the day I die. After all, Coach had played all the way up until the past few years.
Coach’s wisdom and encouragement stay and have fueled me to live life with honor, humility and great adventure on and off the golf course..
Thank you, Coach for believing in me and all of us. Thank you for living well. See you on the links in heaven.
Godspeed,
Radar
Coach's Obituary that appeared in Salem, Oregon.

Coach’s Obituary that appeared in Salem, Oregon.

This summer, our team at work has had the pleasure of working with a handful of interns. They are all 20-22 year olds and eager to gain experience before they head out into ‘real world.’ This generation is known as “Generation Y” or referred to as “Millennials.”

It’s hard not to read the internet or watch the news and hear negative things about this generation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some very entitled people from this group. I’ve also met those people from older generations, especially my own, Generation X.

Here are five things interns have impressed me with this summer:

  • Their willingness to learn.
  • Their humility in recognizing that they don’t have the knowledge or wisdom (yet) to do certain things
  • Their tech-savvyness rivals all of us
  • They seem confident about themselves in a positive way
  • They grew up on change so interruptions don’t bother them.

Buzzfeed recently published a great quiz about quotes referring to specific generations. http://www.buzzfeed.com/chelseamarshall/youths

For fun, here is a sampling of it so guess which generation these quotes come from (don’t cheat, answers are at the bottom of the post).

Does each quote come from Generation Y or “another generation”?

1.  “They are lazy, entitled, narcissists”

2.  “The youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.”  

3.  “They have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike the Himalayas than climb the corporate ladder.”

4.  “a period that will become known as the “Me” Decade.” 

5.  “A generation of effeminate, self-admiring, emaciated dribbles.”

generation

Each generation has the opportunity to rise up to answer the call to the time. By that, they leave a unique mark on history. I look at Generation Y and realize that I’m witnessing history. I’m proud of these people and am committed to helping them to be as successful as they want to be.

This generation doesn’t need critics.

It needs someone to believe in them.

The words from some of the most admired people of the past 60 years resonates best in how we should view and help our youngest generations.

“We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.” – John F. Kennedy
“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” – Ronald Reagan
“Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God’s word.” – Billy Graham

In scripture, Jesus wanted the children to come to him. He wanted this because he knew their faith was stronger than the older generations around them. They were full of hope and a willingness to worship him and serve with gladness.

That is my hope for this generation. 

 

 

 

 

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Key:

1. Joel Stein, from 2013 TIME Magazine piece on “The Me Me Me Generation”

2. Socrates

3. 1990 issue of TIME Magazine

4. Tom Wolfe from his 1976 book The ‘Me’ decade and the Third Great Awakening”

5. 1771 description of the “hipsters” of the day.