Golf Changed My Life But There Came A Time When I Had To Walk Away From The Sport I Loved
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Golf Changed My Life But There Came A Time When I Had To Walk Away From The Sport I Loved

I am golf. At least, I was.

Golf Changed My Life But There Came A Time When I Had To Walk Away From The Sport I Loved
The Lakes Golf Course, Wentworth, SD

Growing up, my family liked to do things together. One of those things was golfing. It seemed like just about every Sunday in the summer months, we would go to church, grab some lunch, go home and get ready, and we would head right back into town, destination Lakeview Golf Course. There are few things in my life to which I have been committed on such a level as I was to golf. Golf changed me. I am golf. At least, I was.

I played golf throughout junior high and high school, making a few varsity meets in the eighth grade and being a permanent varsity member near the close of my freshman year. Naturally, I wanted to golf in college, but I knew that a Division I or even Division II school probably was not for me. I was not consistent enough to play at that level, so I started browsing NCAA DIII and NAIA DII schools. I also considered not even golfing in college and going to a school that best fit my educational needs (best choice, right?).

However, in September of my senior year at Mitchell High, I received a letter from Buena Vista University in Iowa. Being a DIII school, athletic scholarships were not an option, but nevertheless I decided to golf there. I loved golfing at BVU. My teammates were great and golf made me happy. Overall, however, many situations and circumstances led me to be unhappy and I transferred schools for the start of my sophomore year. Dakota Wesleyan offered me academic and athletic scholarships for assistance, I was able to be in my hometown, work at my wonderful job and attend my fabulous home church.

My scores improved some, but not drastically. The Great Plains Athletic Conference is highly competitive so I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to medal regularly. I met some of my closest friends through golfing at Dakota Wesleyan. Golf was everything to me. It was a huge part of my identity until I had no choice but to walk away. It was the end of my junior season. I did not even walk away, I was pushed away, removed from the team, and ultimately done with competitive golf at the collegiate level.

Blindsided, hurting, and practically broken, I did not know what to do with myself. I was majorly depressed. But then it dawned on me. Golf was not my identity. It was merely a part of it, and it still is. I am not golf. I am Madison, and I like to play golf. I spent that summer (after my junior year) playing scramble tournaments with my usual partner, as I had done in summers previous, but my emotional approach was different. Obviously I still wanted to win. Who does not? That being said, I found that I actually enjoyed what I was doing.

My junior season, I was pleading, literally begging God for a way out. I did not want to lose my scholarship, I did not want my parents to be upset, and a host of other things flooded my mind and clouded my judgment about quitting the team. I made decisions I should not have and that ultimately affected my player status. While I do feel that outside opinions and situations influenced this, I blame mostly myself.

I know what I have done and still do to improve myself as a person. I am a work in progress, just like anyone else. The long-run presented that God had given me a way out. It certainly was not how I wanted my collegiate campaign to end, but God still answered my prayer. I ended up with much more time that should have been for academics anyway, socialization, other sporting events, and most importantly, Jesus. I had forgotten that he is meant to be in charge of this whole enchilada we call life.

I absolutely miss parts of competitive golf. I really do. As a whole though, for me personally to be whole, I needed that part of my life to end and God knew that. I am in a much better place than I was at that time. I am so grateful for that. No matter what is going on in your life, know that it is OK to walk away. It is OK to take a step back. Change your life for the better, and keep your eyes on the prize, whatever that may be for you. I promise you will be so much happier.

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