A 61-year-old man is going back to school, but not for reasons you may think. Don Byers will be the newest member of the golf team at Bellview University in Nebraska this year. Wait, what?
True story. Think of it as the movie “Old School” meets “Caddyshack.” Now that’s a movie I’d pay money to see! ESPN’s Jason Sobel has the inside scoop on how in the world this happened:
Like so many innovative ideas, this one was induced by innocent banter.
As their foursome made the turn last autumn at Champions Run, a former Web.com Tour venue in Omaha, Nebraska, Byers was a few strokes under par, thanks to an early eagle and his usual steady play. That’s when Rob Brown, coach of the golf team at nearby Bellevue and one of his playing partners that day, turned to him and quipped, “Man, I wish you had some eligibility left.”
The two men laughed at the one-liner, hardly taking it at face value. A few holes later, the idea was broached again. “You know,” Byers told Brown, “I do still have eligibility.”
They kept talking for a couple of weeks, the notion becoming a bit more serious every day. “He kept bugging me,” Byers says of those conversations with the coach. “As I later found out, he was recruiting me.”
Bellevue has more than 12,000 students, but nearly 90 percent are enrolled only in online classes. Of course, Byers couldn’t simply join the team without also joining the student body. Despite having owned no aspirations of becoming a student again, his spring semester will be filled with courses in English, communications and history.
“My academic adviser is younger than my kids,” says Byers, who has three grown children and is a grandfather. “He said I ought to take recent history because I lived it.”
Wild, right? Talk about living the dream! From time to time, I’ll recall my “glory days” of high school golf and wonder what might’ve been if I had the perspective on the game I’ve got now. Chances are the scoring average would’ve been a lot lower understanding that every shot wasn’t life or death. Oh, to do it over again! But, I digress…
Whether Byers will go streaking through the quad and into the gymnasium remains to be seen.