Dad Loved Sports “7 Gets You to Heaven.”
In the earliest days my father fell In love with sports; ice skating on the lower pond in the winter, and swimming in the Salem Pond in the Summer. We know he loved baseball, basketball and especially football telling us stories of his days as Quarterback and Captain for Spanish Fork High School.
The grandchildren all know how they would love watching sports with Grandpa. Many great hours were spent in front of the tele with Grandpa watching his favorite teams play. If you asked the grandchildren if they came over in the day, they would sit down and watch golf with him. At night there seemed to be always a basketball, football or a baseball game on the big screen. Dad loved to watch both professional and college sports with family and many great times were had.
In fact, one final game of the World Series back in 1988 in which the Dodgers were playing, I will never forget. It was two outs and down to the final pitch. It was just Dad and I watching. Kirk Gibson was injured earlier in the season and Tommy Lasorda decided to bring him in for the final at bat as a pinch hitter. Kirk took a swing and hit the ball out of the park for a game and World Series winning home run. Dad and I both got up and screamed with elation - even actually hugging each other! It’s one of most exciting sports’ moments I can personally remember in my life time. What’s more...to witness this exciting event with my Dad was so extra special. I will always treasure this moment!
Note: I remembered it was a grand slam homer; but it turns out it was just a walk off World Series home fun which gave the Dodgers the world title.
As you have already heard from my brother Brad and my sister Teri, all who knew Dad know he loved the game of golf.
From many accounts, his love for golf all started back East as he was attending Case Western University in Cleveland. He knew he couldn’t really play until he graduated from Dental school. But, in the back of his mind he knew that one day he would find out how to play this mysterious game but never yet had a chance to do so.
One day as he was walking by a pawn shop on an old street in Cleveland, he spotted an old pair of golf clubs that he could see through the display window.
He then decided to walk in, Dad said, “how much for the golf clubs there in the window?” The owner of the shop said, “how much you got?” Dad pulled out all the money he had in his pocket and showed the owner - a clump of bills. He held up his hand with the crumpled dollars twisting through his fingers. Dad then proceeded to count the money pulled from his pocket. “It looks like seven dollars,” Dad told the owner.
The owner smiled and said, “you’ve got a deal...they’re yours!”
And thus, this was the start of the Dad’s love and dedication to this great game of golf.
So with two kids and me on the way, graduation day came from dental school and the family was on the way to Vandenberg Air Force to serve in the Air Force.
The day that golf really became part of dad’s life was quite remarkable. The story goes that on Wednesdays the Lieutenants played golf at the Vandenberg’s nine hole golf course. Well Dad did not participate as since he had the time off, he chose to go down into the town to pick up a few extra bucks with some part-time work.
His Captain called him in one day to inquire as to why he didn’t go to the Wednesday golf outings? Dad informed him the reason he didn’t go on the Wednesday golf outings was that he trying to make a few extra dollars to support his family.
The Captain heard what dad said then said, “from now on you will join us on Wednesday’s golf play with the other lieutenants. That’s an order Lieutenant Taylor.”
This was the turning point for Dad’s passion for golf. He then became “hooked” on the game in his early 30s.
He fell in love with the game; but really wanted to improve and get better.
Fast forward to his dental practice in Hacienda Heights, California. As he was working hard to build up his practice, he took some lessons at the local par 3 / driving range. Well, his instructor said it was now time to go out on the ‘real course’ and show him how the game is played. As the story goes, on the first hole, Dad said he asked his instructor “what should I hit here?” The instructor said, “7 iron!”
Dad said, “okay.” He teed the ball up (as he tells the story) hits the ball, it takes two bounces and goes right in the hole. He turns to the golf instructor and the golf instructor sat there in amazement and said, “ Wow! I’m a pretty good teacher!”
We’ll, Dad had a total of seven holes in one in all. I am fortunate to merely have a meager one hole in 1! From what we turned up with the ‘fact-checker,’ he had a hole in one at the Big Tee, three at Hacienda Golf Club, one at Alta Vista Golf Club and finally two at Bloomington right here in St. George. Amazing! In fact, there are some pros that still haven’t been able to attain this accomplish ment of a hole in 1! What a great talent he had for the game!
It is my understanding that Dad did so well on the course because Dad had core values like:
*Being a good sport when things weren’t going his way
*A belief in one’s self
*Faith that you can make it
Interestingly enough, these values were not orally told to me; but we’re embedded in his repertoire on the course.
I learned from Dad by example of what traits I had to adopt to be a good golfer (and be a responsible, great citizen and follower of Christ).
For it is my belief that golf parallels life so closely. In order to be successful on the course you have to have so many of the good traits of being successful in life (as mentioned above).
Also, no matter the traps, the rough, out of bounds and lakes that attempt to get you “tripped up” in, don’t let it get to you. Keep going and don’t give up or give in. These obstacles or traps are merely a temporary set back. Don’t get discouraged. You CAN recover from trouble.
These are the lessons that Dad displayed day after day, month after month that even though you face tough obstacles, these are opportunities for growth and lessons of life in which we can learn valuable lessons.
Watching my Dad on the golf course taught me important principles that I use even today.
In turn, I have used my Dad’s work ethic and his unwillingness for to give up and to preserve to teach and help others who are struggling.
Dad, thank you for this example you set. Instead of telling me how to act, you showed me in action. What a powerful lesson you taught me.
Lastly, my Dad did the very best he could do every day of his life and showed me how to live life to its fullest.
Dad always said, “don’t to a half job.”
Perhaps the best quote I could think of on how to describe my Dad is from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Les Taylor led a quiet example of how a hard working, man of God should live. He showed us a way to get through this wilderness by showing us the way by being a true man of God.
In closing, my Dad’s quite leadership of being a man of action following God’s word in all he did. He reminds me of one of my favorite Prophets (Isaiah - meaning, the Lord saves) when he
was imploring to his people that the only way he hey could make it was to lean or wait on the Lord for strength, “Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; shall mount up with wings like Eagles; they shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint.”
Dad, your example of a life modeled by the word of God has had a very broad reach beyond that you ever knew or realized. I thank God for the blessings of my Dad having such an impact on my life and the lives of many many others.
We love you always and forever️‼️
1/8/21 - St. George
In honor of my great and faithful father Lester Taylor.
Douglas C. Taylor