Way outside of the realm of BuffaloGolfer is high school girls coaching. About 10 years ago, a small group of ladies at the school where I teach came to me with a request: would you help us found a girls golf team? Never mind that it plays in the spring and the majority of WNY teams (now, but not then) play in the fall. My answer was yes, as I imagined it would give me insight into how young ladies grow through their teenage years, thereby helping me to be a more-aware father to our three daughters. One of our lasses played a few years for the team, which was even more enlightening, but I digress…
Last spring, the varsity team won its sixth consecutive league championship. Before you jump to any Wooden-esque conclusions, it is NOT the coaching that does the trick. I drive a small school bus for a team that ranges in skill and interest from never-touched-a-club to tournament-hardened competitor. We move from course to course, from range to range, when the weather cooperates and allows us to play outdoors.
Most of the girls have at least ten irons in the fire outside of golf. Asking them to set aside an entire summer to work on their games is not only impossible, but fairly illogical. Work on your game through August, then wait until the following April to compete is a notion that doesn’t enchant many of them. Instead, our only goal is to build a sense of community and ensure that the girls enjoy each other’s company. I have to remind the ultra-competitive ones that the less-focused teammates serve a purpose, and vice-versa. It’s not always easy but we usually end the season around the same dinner table.
There have been years going into championships where I considered us the favorite. The last two years have not been among them. I was, quite honestly, stunned that we came out of 2012 and 2013 with titles. Actually, include 2011 in that bunch. The courses we play at the championship, for whatever reason, are invariable tight and swampy, fraught with repeated opportunities for complete disaster. I’m not certain how we’ve avoided them, but we have.
So here’s my salute to the six-time champs. The 2014 season may not end similarly, but the journey will supersede any loss or triumph along the way.
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