So here I am, sitting in a folding chair on the putting green at Mallard Creek Golf Course, writing my monthly President’s Report during my break between my welcome and closing comments while everyone else is playing 18 holes of golf at our LBCC Foundation Annual Golf Tournament. In front of me are a couple of large lawn tents under which we will have our closing luncheon and program at somewhere around noon, while off to my right is the burned out shell of the lodge that was supposed to be there for us….. but now isn’t.
Stuff happens (there’s another way of saying this that perhaps makes for a more powerful statement but, for my purposes here, the word “Stuff” will suffice).
Buildings burn down, budgets are cut, adversity comes from unexpected places, the sun clouds over and the rains fall. This is the “Stuff” that happens and, for some, this is the stuff that defeats. But here I am at a golf tournament fundraiser that feels more like a family event because the challenge of pulling this off has pulled us closer together….. players and sponsors and volunteers and golf course staff all together because it isn’t really about the game or the prizes or the lodge that is a total loss. Instead, we gather on this beautiful crisp morning because we believe in the difference that a particular community college makes in students’ lives and in the communities that are ours to share.
Over this summer I finally had the time to read Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book, David and Goliath, and in it I saw the characteristics that I think contribute to LBCC’s success: the right size for being nimble and quick on our feet, a passionate sense of why we are here, and a willingness to draw together when “things” happen. Like a golf tournament that rises to the challenge and finds something deeper and wider than just a game, like David who defeats Goliath because he believes in something more than Goliath does, we at LBCC find our success not in our circumstances but in our character. And it is in this realization that we are at our best.