Think back and try to remember if one of your parents, or any adult in your life, ever sat you down and explained to you how to meet a new person. I know that no one in my life did. What I do remember is awkward introductions to my parents’ friends at the grocery store or the mall. My parents always said I was just shy. Actually, I wasn’t . Like all kids, I had a lot to say. I never said much because I just didn’t know how to interact. As a young adult, I figured it out through trial and error – mostly error. To this day, I have trouble remembering the name of someone who was just introduced to me. But I’m getting better.
With all that said, it’s not hard to figure out why Meeting and Greeting with ALR is one of my favorite Par lessons. It gives a simple structure for a young person to meet a new person of any age. Our kids pair up and meet each other, as if for the first time. We always start with the question, “What do you like on your pizza?” It’s always amazing to see someone you don’t expect to open up and really get into the exercise. Kids can be creative, so favorite toppings have ranged from “pineapple” to “crickets” to “hockey pucks.” If life is all about “who” you know and not necessarily “what” you know, then this Par lesson is one of the most valuable for young people to make those initial connections that may take them to great places.
I was out to dinner with friends recently, and one of them brought their 12 year old daughter. Going right into “Coach Mode”, I went out of my way to greet her with an open hand. She limply stuck out her left hand and avoided eye contact as she greeted me. I felt bad because I knew how she felt – as a young person, I’ve been there. This short interaction demonstrated the value of the Meet and Greet lesson and the value of what we do as teachers and mentors.
Nothing impresses me more than when one of our players greets me with a handshake and a smile. If I know it impresses me, then imagine how much it impresses an adult who meets a First Tee player in one of those awkward grocery store situations.
Submitted by: Coach Jeff Lebedda, Southern Regional Manager