The Power of a Gallery of One!

IMG_4958My wife, Diane, plays in a women’s golf league at Forrest Crossing in Franklin on Tuesday of every week. It was on one of those Tuesdays that I found myself driving past the golf course after finishing a morning of errands and meetings.

On a whim, I pulled into the parking lot and talked one of the staff into giving me a cart. Dodging errant drivers, I drove backward on the course until I saw Diane’s group approaching. I pulled off the cart path and planted myself on a little hill beside the green. 

I had just become a gallery of one.  I cheered and shouted words of encouragement as she approached the green and chipped her ball to within 10 feet of the cup. I danced like an idiot as she dropped that putt into the bottom of the cup for a par. Later that day I asked Diane how it felt to have one, rather demented husband, cheer her on in front of her friends.

“It felt really good!” she said.

Just “good?’ I reminded her that she had nailed triple bogies on both of the holes before and after I stopped by. Surely it was my presence that directed the ball to the bottom of the cup. “Nope,” she insisted, “it just felt good.”

Michele Cushatt, author, speaker and a valued member of our Dynamic Communications team, tells a powerful story of being a “gallery of one” for her son, Jacob. It was a hot muggy day and Jacob, in the 8th grade, was running his first competitive cross country race. Michele positioned herself toward the end of the race, at the base of an imposingly steep hill, a gallery of one.

As a competitive racer, I can testify that a steep hill toward the end of a race can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back!

Michele watched as dozens of racers passed her lonely position on the course. Where was her son? When Jacob  finally came into sight, Michele knew he was in trouble. The confident stride was gone – Jacob’s body was covered with sweat and his face twisted in anguish.

Michele began to shout, “You can do this Jacob!  The finish line is just beyond this hill – you’re almost there! You’ve got this!” Evidently a MOM is a “Super Gallery of One.”  Jacob set his jaw, picked up his pace and finished the race.

At the finish line, Jacob greeted his mom with his amazing smile and words that show the power of a gallery of one. “I did it mom. I did it!”

Jacob recently took second place in a half marathon.  I am convinced that a gallery of one cheering him on as he struggled toward the finish line in that 8th grade race, the one woman standing in just the right spot convincing him he could conquer a hill, was critical to making his recent victory possible .

Michele and Jacob1What is the power of a gallery of one?

It feels good!
It can mean the difference between success and failure!
It can guide a golf ball to the bottom of the cup for a par!  Note: This has been disputed by one female member of my family!

Has anyone ever been your gallery of one?
Have you ever been a gallery of one?



  1. Gene Walker, an Elder in my home church and who has known me my entire life, asked me a puzzling question when I was 20 yrs old. He asked, “David, when are you going to go?” I replied, “Go where, Gene!?” His gallery of one moment came next as he said:

    “Into ministry. I see it all over you.”

    I have had several other voices of encouragement in my life, but those words…in that moment, changed the trajectory of my life. It’s now 17 yrs later and I haven’t forgotten those words.

    1. A gallery of one is powerful. Someone who is willing to really look at what life is throwing at someone else. I have been blessed by having that occur more than once in my life, and need to be that GOO for others more often.

  2. I can relate to Michelle, My oldest son ran cross country in high school. Cross Country is not the most spectator friendly sport. And sadly most of the parents of my son’s team mates did not show up. So I was the loudest cheerleader for the whole team. I even showed up to cheer them own for a a whole 2 seconds as they passed during the Atlanta half-marathon on Thanksgiving morning. We all need to be a gallery of one for others. Somtimes we may really be the only one to inspire them.

  3. 14 years ago I met a woman who became my spiritual mentor and friend — she was crazy and brave enough to cheer for me, tell me the truth when I needed it, and see things in me that I couldn’t yet see. I pray that I’m the same kind of life-changing Gallery-of-One encourager for the people in my life!

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