It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon with the sun shining bright, birds chirping and a nice breeze in the air. Nothing mattered more in the world, at such an early age of 15, than playing golf with my brother. Rich and I just finished up the seventh hole, each coming away with a lousy double bogey.
“Ugh, what an awful hole for us!” I said to Rich.
"I know that hole is never easy, but there is plenty of golf to play,” he replied.
We put our putters back in our golf bags and jumped into the golf cart. We began to make our way up the steepest hill in the entire golf course, which lead us to the eighth hole, a 150-yard par 3. We hopped out of the cart and grabbed our appropriate clubs for the hole, and Rich was up first. He took his usual 100 practice swings and he finally approached the little white ball sitting on the tee. He began his swing and there it went! Slicing right, like a missile into the woods. Branches were falling everywhere while tons of birds and a few deer began to run and fly for cover.
“Holy ****, Rich!” I said.
“Wow! It’s just not my day,” he said, while laughing.
We both shared a good chuckle and now it was my turn on the tee box.
“I don’t think I’m going to do much better here. The way we’ve both been playing here today, I wouldn’t be surprised if I join you for a party of two in those woods,” I said jokingly.
I placed my ball on the tee, took a step back to look towards the green, in which I couldn’t barely see with the sun shining right into our eyes.
“I don’t think you’ll need to watch where this one goes, but just in case I do hit it straight, can you keep your eyes on the ball for me,” I said to Rich.
“Sure, no problem,” he answered, while laughing.
I took my swing and there it went!
“I see it, I see it. Nice shot! That’s going right at the flag stick,” Rich said.
I saw the ball hit the green, took a hop and then disappeared!
“Where did it go?” I asked Rich.
“I don’t know! I saw it hit once and then disappear! Let’s go and take a look!” Rich replied.
We hopped into the cart and made our way down to the green. We began to look around the perimeter of the green and in the sand traps.
“I don’t see it anywhere. You don’t think it went in the hole, do you?” I asked Rich.
“I don’t know, let’s take a look,” he replied.
We both made our way to the flag stick and peaked into the cup, and there it was!
“Oh my God! I got a hole in one!” I screamed.
We began to high-five and hug as if we just won a million dollars. The rest of the round of golf was just a blur and I couldn’t wait until I told my mom what had happened. We finished our round and there was that green Astro van sitting in the parking lot. I was moving so fast but I felt as if I was walking in slow motion. I opened the side door, took my seat in the back and Rich jumped into the front next to my mom.
“So, how did it go guys?” my mom asked.
“Well, we played like garbage, but…Sean here got a hole-in-one!” Rich said.
I was smiling from ear to ear, anxiously awaiting my mother’s response. I knew she was going to be ecstatic and jumping out of her seat.
“Oh, that’s nice. What do you guys want to do for dinner?”she said, without any hesitation.
I couldn’t believe it! Rich then whipped his head left at her, in amazement of her response.
“Mom, you do know what that is right?” Rich asked.
“I believe so. It’s when you make it in the right amount of times on that particular hole?” she answered with hesitation.
Rich began to laugh and explain to her what it actually means to get a hole-in-one, in which she then pulled the car over, celebrated with extreme joy, looked back and gave me the biggest smile ever.
On the job
“This is a big deal. I have to make sure this looks really nice,” I said to myself as I was kneeling on a cold concrete floor.
I had a torch in one hand and solder in the other, ready to make art out of copper. It was the first time my father had left me alone on a job all by myself and I was ready to prove to him that I was fully capable of doing so. I was assembling a main 1¼ copper water line, with a regulator, ball valves and hopefully a beautiful manifold setup for a public restroom in the town park. Each solder joint was done perfectly, the spacing’s between each copper tee were exactly the same, which was beautifully supported by bracket straps with threaded rod. When it was all said and done, it was truly a work of art!
Time that day flew by so fast, being that I was now actually doing the hands on work, rather than assisting my fellow co-workers. Before I knew it, it was the end of the day, and I heard my father’s truck pull up to the job. I made my final, last-minute touch-ups, swept up the hardened solder mounds on the floor, and positioned the drop lights towards the piece of art I had created. I will never forget that moment, when my father walked into that utility room.
He smiled from ear to ear, gave me a slap on the back and said, “Looks great, Sean! Nice and level, neat and secure. Great job!”
When my father spoke those words, it was worth the hard work and effort that went into creating that plumbing masterpiece. Still to this day, my father will share his thoughts and feelings on each of our plumbing performances, both good and bad. His response gave me the confidence in my plumbing abilities and I was now ready to take anything on! I now try as much as I can to apply my father’s enthusiasm towards my fellow co-workers and apprentices.
We all as human beings want to feel important and to be praised for things we’ve done right or well. There is no better feeling in the world than hearing someone say, “Great work. Nice job. I’m proud of you.”
It’s amazing to me though how difficult it can be for some people to actually say those words of encouragement. We all are quick to talk bad about people and their flaws. However, when it comes to praising someone for their hard work and accomplishments, we tend to shy away. I’m sure many of you who are reading this now can say they fall under that category.
I encourage those people to step out of there comfort zones and give that employee some praise. That particular employee may feel he or she has accomplished something great, high-fiving themselves because they are so proud and all they want to hear is, “Great job. Nice work," and get a pat on the back.”
There is nothing worse than feeling as if you accomplished something great and not getting the praise you anticipated and deserved. Try it sometime guys, and I guarantee you will see a major shift in that person’s energy and work ethic.
Sean McCormack is co-owner of BMC Plumbing and Heating Inc. He can be reached by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone 845-596-7770; Twitter @seantheplumber1; and Periscope @seantheplumber. Visit Sean’s website at www.seantheplumber.com.