Guest blog by Sandra Donohue

Here is another guest blog from one of my students. Sandra joined Pat Erickson in my first graduating class of my memoir series. Enjoy!


Two weeks ago, I won my flight in the Tahquitz Ladies Golf Club Championship.  And then, a week ago Friday, I lost!  I was D’Qd (disqualified) from the tournament!  I broke one of the longest standing rules in golf….I forgot to sign my “card” (score).

So many feelings washed over me during those couple of minutes when Joan phoned.  My initial reaction was to try to soothe HER.  Imagine!  As a good friend, I knew she felt terribly having to give me the news…”the tournament committee has met and decided”, blah, blah, blah.  I tried to assure her that that was her job as Tournament Director, it was her duty.

One thing about retirement is that it affords great opportunities to play and to volunteer, but it comes with a caveat.  As a team player, one has responsibilities and duties they need to fulfill.  This little event became memorable for all.

Anyway, after hanging up the phone, a feeling of embarrassment started to overcome me.  You see, I had already been announced the winner at the luncheon following the end of the tournament.  The Spring Luncheon, with wines, raffles, and prizes. Marilyn had done her usual “no money” beautiful centerpieces, which I auctioned off to beef up the coffers, and $60 cash was given to the flight winners.  But then, two days later, the runner-up in our flight was declared the winner.  Yikes, I felt awful.  There was this feeling of shame, my pride had been hurt, and I wondered if I might just have to have a tear.

I just kept thinking, how was I ever going to show up and play with this group again?  How could I have been so stupid to have not signed my card?

Thinking about it now, it really wasn’t stupid, it was just plain forgetful.  When we’re almost 70, I’m thinking we should be allowed to cut ourselves some slack.  And besides, Pam, my sister-in-law was here, and we were having fun.

Bottom line?  I know that when there’s a lot going on, I have to be very careful, very deliberate with my movement and presence.

Anna Quindlen says that “life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement.”  I think our life lessons are learned from these moments as we make a connection between them. I wholeheartedly agree with Quindlen when she says that she has learned to love the journey, not the destination.  Winning a tournament is nice, but losing is o.k., if you learn the lesson.  So, I ask myself, what did I learn?  I was reminded of one of life’s great lessons.  I was able to be part of the game, be it golf, or be it life.

I remember a little book called, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.  The book is tiny in size, with little chapters, but it had a big impact on me.  Richard Carlson wrote, “Ask yourself, is this situation really as important as I’m making it out to be?”  And honestly, I ask myself, will this matter a year from now?  Of course not!  I do need to take a  look at those feelings of shame, of embarrassment, and realize I’m sweating the small stuff.  I know that being able to be part of the game is the Mother Lode of all winners.

6 Comments to “Guest blog by Sandra Donohue”

  1. Sandra, I love this article. Your true, honest, selfless self shines through.

  2. Yes, Sandra is a class act! Thank you for sharing this Sandra!

  3. Sandra, heartfelt and humble musings on the little things in life. Thank you so much for sharing !!!

    • …and at the time, they sure don’t seem so little! This process of writing has given me a perspective that I will always be grateful for.

      Thank you Ann

  4. Pat, you’re such a cheer leader for me, thank you

  5. This sitting down, putting pen and feelings to paper all stems from, guess who! Thanks, Tammy

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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