What High School golf taught me

Walking 18 Holes For 4 Years Of High School Golf Taught Me Priceless Life Lessons

Is golf even a sport?

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Golf is one of those sports that you never think you're gonna play until one day you find yourself buying overpriced metal sticks and wearing the ugliest shirt ever created. Yeah from the outside it sounds ridiculous, like who would ever play such a sport when there are much better sports out there to play. Well, coming from someone who has had these thoughts my freshman year of high school and ended up a third-year varsity letter in golf by my senior year, it taught me a lot and I wanted to share for anyone who may be in my same shoes four years ago.

Ever wanted to be a sporty person but never lacked the skills to be that sporty person, Yeah that was me. I tried out soccer once and realized I did not have the endurance for running or anything athletic. Always wanting that sense of a team and being a part of it, I kept searching for something that would give me that feeling. Golf was never that sport for me until I was pushed into it by my best friend at the time. Even as I had no golfing ability, I still was able to be apart of a team that felt like a family. Sometimes you find what you are looking for without actually looking because it is already right in front of you.

Golf also taught me how to corporate with individuals I do not personally care for. It showed me that not everyone in the world is gonna like you and you are not going to like everyone, and that is perfectly okay. Even with a coach who favored others over myself and would talk about how I was not good enough for her with the sport to other players, I still had to proceed on. I still was required to work with them because I had gained a love for the sport that I never thought I could love and I was not going to allow other people to ruin that enjoyment.

The last thing that golf taught me was to keep going even when everyone and everything is trying to tell you to quit. Going through a rough beginning half of my senior year, my coach proved to me that she really did not enjoy my company and the fact that I was on her team because I did not grasp the advanced golf capabilities that some of my fellow players could grasp. At this point in the year, I was ready to quit. Without my friends telling me that I should not let my coach win and I should finish out my final year strong by playing a sport that I loved. And with that, I learned to never quit even when the time is rough. Don't let people force you out of things you know in your heart you want to do. While I struggled a lot throughout my four years playing high school golf, it was some of the best experiences of my high school career.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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