You know that feeling you get when talking to someone that is so passionate about something? It could be something as simple as high school football, but when they speak to you it is as though they are lighting a fire within themselves and their energy can’t help but rub off on you?
Jimmy “Ace” Kozorra was one of those people. He was a greens keeper at our neighborhood golf course, Feather Sound Country Club, for over 20 years, and was a friend to all who played. “Ace” was one of those unique people that bonded with and related to everyone, the janitor all the way to the high level CEO. Simply put, you immediately were inclined to like the guy. He was extremely loud when he spoke and had the most incredible knowledge of sports of anyone I have ever met. “Ace” was like a walking dictionary when it came to sports facts, not just pro sports, but all sports, even high school football.
I have been playing golf at Feather Sound CC for 22 years and seldom was there a day I didn’t see and talk to Ace. His favorite past time was making small wagers on college football and he was very good. Like the Tampa Bay Times said in an article this morning, “Ace” devoured ESPN like a pastor devours the bible. So whenever he would pass me in his golf cart, I would flag him down and ask him whom he liked to win the big games that weekend. It normally turned into a 15-minute conversation, as he would follow our group for the next several shots educating us on his favorite subject. My son, who is an avid golfer, would generally start his day practicing his putting while he talked to “Ace”, who lovingly referred to him as “kid” rather than Jake.
His favorite story was of famous daredevil, Evel Knievel, who used to play in our group on the weekends. Evel would slip him a little cash to set the day’s pins and tees where he liked them the most for his round of golf. “Ace” didn’t mind giving the daredevil a little advantage on us!
This past Saturday night, while crossing the main street outside our neighborhood, my friend was hit and killed by an SUV. He had just left his favorite watering hole, Courtside Grill, and had no doubt spent his last evening doing what he loved the most, watching sports and enjoying a few libations. Things will never be the same at Feather Sound and “Ace” will be missed by all that knew him.
I wish I could tell “Ace” how much I enjoyed our brief encounters, but life is fragile and time waits for no man, so don’t wait to make sure the ones you love know it. Take the opportunity right now to give someone you love a hug, tell a friend how important they are in your life, or simply call someone you have not spoken to in a while to catch up.
And make it a point, just like “Ace”, to get excited and passionate about what you love the most!
Wishing you all the success you will allow yourself to have!