Good health can disappear in a blink of an eye due to illness, injury, or the natural progression of age. Making it a priority to take care of ourselves can be a challenge in and of itself. Many of us require significant motivation from others in order to get into and maintain an exercise routine. More often than not, activities we’re passionate about require good health.
I enjoy golf as a means to get outdoors, stay active, surround myself with friends, meet and maintain business relationships, and spend time with family. I began golfing when I graduated from law school over 22 years ago. (Although some of my friends think I still look like I just began golfing.) My wife, Pam, and two kids, Alex and Grace, play golf as well. To be more accurate, Alex lives golf.
Alex began golfing with me when he was about five years old. By the time he was 13, though he was one of the smallest kids on the course, it was clear he had a future in competitive golf if he chose to pursue it. It became apparent that adding strength, flexibility, and endurance to his smaller size was imperative to gaining a competitive edge.
About the same time, I had stopped going to the gym due to time commitments and the lack of personal motivation. As a founding member of Call & Gentry Law Group, my career dominated my available time. Middle age had caught up with me. I was out of shape. As such, my own personal golf game suffered. But here was Alex, gunning to win the Missouri Golf Association Junior Tour as an eighth grader.
Rather than become the persistent, nagging father barking, “Do as I say, not as I do,” I reached out to Scott Minor of Show Me Golf Performance. I understood that Scott was a Titleist Performance Institute-certified coach. TPI uses a thorough evaluation process and computer technology to determine your body mechanics, golf swing sequence, and balance, but we needed someone close to home to help create habits learned in TPI, someone that could dovetail with Scott’s coaching and provide additional personal training.
Nick Baker was the man for the job. His slogan, “Training for life with Nick,” resonated. He focuses on the whole picture rather than just pushing weights. He listens to his clients carefully, helping them thoroughly create a plan to improve health for their personal needs. His process focuses on nutrition, physical training, mental strength, relationships, and communication.
We formulated a nutrition plan coupled with a personal training plan and an accountability plan. Perfection was not necessary nor was it the goal. Initially, it was a brutal battle to get my slumbering teenager out of bed an hour earlier. My primary method of helping motivate Alex was by simply leading by example.
The results? As I approach 50, I am healthier than I have ever been. Meanwhile, Alex, in a few short years, has climbed from being unranked to being the No. 4 ranked junior golfer in Missouri and No. 335 in the country for the class of 2020. He has been ranked as high as tenth in the country in the Golfweek Junior Tour. At 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 140 pounds, he can crush a drive over 300 yards. In April, Alex shot a 30 on the front nine, which tied the Helias school record. He won the tournament with a 66. Alex has won five of seven high school tournaments, leading Helias to several wins as of this writing, in early April.
While my improved health and Alex’s rise in the competitive junior golf ranks are rewards in and of themselves, working out, discussing nutrition, traveling to and from tournaments, and playing together has provided the most treasured gift of all: time together.
Two of my favorite quotes keep me motivated to help Alex and I continue to improve our health while we both chase our respective dreams: The first is from John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
The second is attributed to Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Inspiration and excellence. What Alex won’t realize until much later in life is that he inspires me. He drives me to excellence. I am truly blessed to be able to share this journey with him. His motivation to continue improving his health is to dominate golf courses and the competition. My motivation is to be able to walk the courses with him pain-free and with energy, watching him live his dream.