The Golfing Buddy Effect

Graded my first set of research papers last night and wanted to cry, or quit. Was like where were you guys the last three weeks. In class? My class? I had maybe one A and way too many D’s. Sad.

Then graded the next set. Was going to say took a stiff drink, then started on the second set. Well, I felt like I’d need a drink.

Surprised. The first paper was good, very good, an A. Wow. Refreshing. Picked up the next. She captured my attention, made me think, made me want to join her cause. Another A. Read the next paper. Smiled again and picked up another and another. Not all were A’s, but most were good, exceptionally good.

What happened? Same teacher. Same information. Did the registrar send me all honors students? Don’t think so. I’ve seen this before. Here’s my take on it. These students had worked in groups, and good writing is contagious, as is its opposite.

Call it the golfing buddy effect. Don’t play much; not very good at it, but I have discovered this. One tends to play up or down to the skill of his golfing buddies. Which means good golfers playing with me are going to have a bad day. But they’ll help me shoot my best score.

It’s what our parents always told us. Friends are powerful influences for good or bad. And since I know most of you reading this, let me say thank you. If life is like golf, I’m not the most talented guy on the course. Far from it. But, if I’m out there with you, I’m likely playing my best game.

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