Almost every Tuesday the past 25 years I have met with a friend, and this meeting stands as one of the most cherished moments in my life — a moment built around the lunch hour that evolves as we age.
The moment has served as many things at different times: a conversation, a study, a meditation, a laugh, a focus, a boost, a frustration, a collaboration, a doubt, a reaffirmation.
It was never planned to be that way. It grew ever so naturally. And the Tuesday thing, by the way, had nothing to do with Mitch Albom's book, Tuesdays with Morrie, which details how Albom met with his mentor, Morrie, on Tuesdays.
It just happened to be that Tuesday around noon proved to be the best time to meet with my friend and mentor, Jamie Jackson, at a golf driving range.
Jamie is a golf teacher. I am his student.
What have I learned after 25 years?
On the surface I have become a relative expert on the golf swing, any swing, from a pro to a duffer. This has come from hundreds of hours analyzing thousands of swings with Jamie on his computer, which he rolls out for every lesson.
Jamie puts my swing on the screen next to a swing of Tiger Woods, or Rory McIlory, or whoever, and we break down the swings in every way.
I have learned it takes years to understand how the fundamentals of a golf swing work, and yet even after 25 years, the swing remains filled with mystery.
The golf swing is an evolving puzzle that keeps Jamie and I coming back, energized, every Tuesday.
Every time I have questions for him, and every time he offers insight, and every time — if only for just a little, teeny, tiny adjustment — I get a little better as a golfer and as a person, whether I realize it at that moment or not.
You may ask what are the greatest lessons I have learned from my teacher, a 67-year-old golf pro with degrees in political science and psychology, who remains a constant reader of books on philosophy and well being.
The lessons are easy and simple to remember, but are often difficult to put into practice.
For starters, I have learned the best way for me to live — and this is something Jamie has said a million times — is also the best way to play golf: In the moment. The past is gone, the future doesn't exist, so all that matters is right here and now.
Some other life lessons, related to golf: Worry is a waste of time. Walk tall and strong because body language translates to confidence. You are what you think, so always think positive thoughts. Develop good habits because habits are hard to break.
I have repeated these things to myself pretty much every day, because, as Jamie says, that's how you will get stronger.
He's right. It took me years, but it has worked. I have grown in confidence.
I tip my hat to "Tuesdays with Jamie."
I think back to the first time I met him. It was at the funeral for his father, Jamie Jackson Sr., a local legend who had given me golf lessons 10 years earlier as a teenager while I attended Brandon High School.
We talked briefly and he said he would call me to set up a golf lesson with him.
A few weeks later, he did. Now he will wave to me with a huge smile each Tuesday and say, "Hey there Scott," as if there is no other person on the planet he would rather see at that moment than me …
I have heard some teachers say, "I assure you that I have gained more from teaching my students than they have gained learning from me."
I don't see how this is possible with Jamie and me. But I hope, somehow, it's true.
At least in some moments.