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HS Boys Win the Class C State Golf Championship

State Golf Championship: I still don’t think it’s really sunk in that we won the Class C State Golf Championship and that our season is now over.  Part of me doesn’t want it to be over because it’s been such a memorable year.  We get to add 3 new banners to the gym, Conference, Districts and State Championships.  What an amazing year!  

When people look at golf scores they tend to look at the totals, what did they shoot?...  how does that compare to their personal best?... how does their total compare to the totals in the other classes?  While score does matter, golf isn’t played on a standard layout like so many fields, courts and tracks where you can compare one meet, match or game to another.  Each course presents its own challenges specifically for that day… temperature, wind, sun and magnitude of the tournament (nerves) play into that match on that day and it will be a completely different course the next day.  Each player in the field is truly playing against the course on that day under the same conditions.

Knowing this, we had two completely different courses in the two days of the tournament.  The first day was cold (in the 50s), windy (avg. wind speed 25mph = wind chill in low to mid 40s) and a little wet from the night before.  Then the second day was beautiful, sunny, upper 60s, light SW wind around 5mph… to me almost perfect golf weather.  So on the first day, I honestly don’t think nerves had much effect on the their games, I think all were in survival mode and trying to post the best score they could, given the elements that day.  I’m sure a glimpse of what was running through their minds was ‘ how do you play a 340 yard, narrow par 4 from an elevated tee box, directly into a 20+ mph north wind that is cutting through your layers and making your body cold and tight, do you add 20 or 30 yards to the distance you want to hit?’.  Knowing all that, for our guys to go out there and post a 321 team score (our 4th highest total of the season) and still be 3 strokes ahead of the next team, Kimball (who set a school record earlier this year with a 298 team total), shows that our golfers got it done in under difficult conditions against the best in the state.

Now were on to day 2.  When the weather is perfect and you’re playing from the lead, you’re expected to win… right?  In that sentence is the struggle that all golfers go through on every team, EXPECTATIONS.  Each golfer plays individually, almost on an island.  They don’t know what their teammates are doing, how they’re playing, and in that player’s mind their teammates are getting it done, and they don’t want to let the others down.  Each teammate feels that expectation squarely on your shoulders and it adds a level of pressure and stress that you have to now carry around for 4 hours and weigh against each shot. 

I’m going to digress here a little and I’ll get back to day 2, but I want to share what we talk about a lot during rounds, letting go of the past.  Golf is a lot like life.  As you go through your round, much like life, you have great things happen to you and you have bad things happen to you… you may hole out from 187 yards for par (true story) or you might miss that 6 foot eagle putt that would change your round (also a true story).  You can drag that past stuff on and let it affect you now, OR you put it aside because you can’t go back and change it and keep your focus on the moment and what you can affect in the future, which may be good or may be bad.  We have to play our game and live our life for the future, we have to stay hopeful that whatever comes is what’s intended, blessing or heartache.  This is where I believe we have an advantage over everyone else in competition, we know the redemptive power of Christ and that our future is in Him, and that all the rest of this (joy and pain) is just life (or golf).  Granted, we still need to use the past to help us look forward and guide the future decisions we make, but nothing good happens when we drag the bad things along with us.  SO in golf, much like in life, bad shots and missed putts have to be forgotten, but we use that experience to try to change the outcome if we encounter the same 6 foot breaking putt for eagle… on the next hole.

So, back to day 2, our biggest hurdle on day 2 was ourselves and definitely not the weather.  We started out, let’s say, not as well as we did on day 1.  With only a 3 shot lead every bogey makes you feel like you’re letting the team down.  This is where the experience of this year (I believe) kicked in.  We were notoriously slow starters this year, bogeying opening holes, digging (what seems like) a big stroke deficit right out of the gate (C-1 Districts seems to come to mind) but this group of golfers can string pars and birdies together like nobody’s business.  They didn’t panic (well, maybe a little) and they stayed with the game plan, and didn’t hit driver on every hole and only on the holes we agreed to, before the first day.  They hit fairways, played to the middle of the greens and 2-putted to make the pars that were necessary.  They had faith that if they took care of their business and stayed focused on what’s ahead of them that in the end the team would be fine, because they trusted their teammates were doing the same.

In the end they did exactly what they needed to do, they relied on each other, their gift to play golf and they got it done.  Low score each day and a State Championship!  Elijah Frost was the state runner up, and showed everyone the game we all knew he had. Grant finished tied for 5th (third top ten in the last three years) and the rest of the team played solid like they have all year and shot their season average score (almost to the number). At this point I have to confess that I probably added (at least) 6 strokes to Dylan’s score on that first day because I didn’t follow my own advice on his last hole.  I should have told him chip out to safety and hit his next shot on the green but I gave him too aggressive of a line.  He trusted my advice and hit the shot and got into more trouble.  So in my mind he shot an 85 both days, instead of the 92 on the scorecard the first day.  There, that feels better.

I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss this team, they have a special place in my heart and life.  I’ve known three-fifths of them since Kindergarten, and they are all like sons to me (and one is).  I’ll miss the conversations in the van (and yes I do listen), the laughing and the heartfelt love for one another.  This is not just a state champion team but a wonderful group of young men that will change the world, given the chance. I love them and will miss them but I know they will be my friends for life.

Coach Carl

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