Hello, I'm Jimmie James. I recently retired and began a one year quest to play the Top 100 Golf Courses in the Country. I started to play golf 13 years ago. My quest was not the result of years of planning. I am building it as I go, with the help of many people that I'm meeting along the way.
As I approach the final twenty five courses on my quest, I've decided to share a little more about my life, what drives me, how important everyone on this journey with me has been and how much I appreciate you.
As Steve Martin said in the Jerk, "I was born a poor black child." For me that quote is a reality. My life began in the backwoods of Texas in a house without electricity or indoor plumbing. Drinking water was drawn from a well by a bucket or collected during a rain. Food was cooked on a wood burning stove. What we ate was mostly grown or killed. Heat on cold winter days was generated from burning wood chopped by our own hands.
With that type of start to my life, setting and working hard to achieve aggressive goals are a way of life for me. The first significant goal that I can recall setting was when I was five years old. I set a goal to become the first person I knew who graduated from high school. Yes at five years old, no one I knew was a high school graduate. I did not attend head start nor kindergarten, but by the time I was five, I already understood the importance of education and how it could serve as a pathway to escaping poverty.
Certainly by the time I graduated from high school I had met others who had done it, starting with my first grade teacher. So, I did not become the first person I knew to graduate from high school. I did however become the first in my family to do it and the first in my family to attend and graduate from college.
I've set challenging goals throughout my life to demonstrate to myself that what we achieve and contribute during our lives is determined not by the circumstances we face but by how we deal with those circumstances. What we do at the intersection of aspirations and adversity is the determinant of our life's achievements or failures, not the circumstances. I believe that circumstances define what we must deal with to achieve our goals. I do not believe they determine whether we can achieve them or not.
I believe that what we do when our biggest hopes and dreams are threatened by our biggest challenges is what defines us. I also believe in the goodness of people and that it is our interconnectivity that makes the achievements of any one of us possible. I believe that we can do many things alone, but that anything meaningful and lasting requires the help and support of others.
The most amazing thing about this quest has been the efforts that have been demonstrated by old and new friends alike. I have been touched by your hard work, your determination, and your generosity. I could not be where I am on this quest without each and everyone of you. Thank you for who you are and what you have done.