“You’re holding three medals, we are insanely proud of you, there are other little girls with no medals, don’t cry.” These were my words to my daughter two days ago after she competed in the sub regional for Drive, Chip and Putt at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club. She was naturally upset that only the top two finishers advance to the regional at Crooked Stick in Indiana and she had placed third. Six points stood between her and advancing, when all was said and done.
Hailey was completely inconsolable; meanwhile my Husband and I were in complete awe of her ability to garner 60 points with her effort. You get three putts, at different distances, three chips at the same distance and three drives. Right out of the gate, she holed the first putt, the second putt was within inches of the hole and the long distance putt was close enough to garner some points. As I was watching this display, I was thinking I ought to be taking putting lessons from my nine year old. She came in 1st place for putting, scoring 45 points.
When it came to the chipping portion of the competition she struggled but in fairness the chip was downhill, the green sloped left to right. The children were setup to chip from the far right side of pin. I debated about whether to say anything to my daughter about making the ball land left and run out. I did not. Looking back, I wish I had said something to her, to avoid her being disappointed about not advancing. At the same time, I’m never going to be standing next to her, arming her with extra information on a golf course, unless I am caddying for her. She went on to only score one point for the chipping portion of the competition.
The driving portion of the competition is last. The fairway was fairly wide, giving the children a fairly good chance of scoring points. Hailey scored 14 points, all three of her drives counted for points. She came in 2nd place for driving.
It’s such a delicate balance as a parent to a natural athlete, as Hailey is, when it comes to helping. My Husband and me have a hand off policy with her, in that we exert no pressure. We do not do overbearing helicopter parenting. She is also an incredible soccer player, very tenacious for her stature. People have been approaching us since she was seven with regard to recruiting her for travel soccer. We decided as parents that travel soccer at seven was not in her best interest.
Now, she has had some lessons with PGA teaching professionals in Maryland and Illinois. My Husband and me have given her general golf instructions. The two children that advanced had proper swing instructors. The notion of a swing instructor for a nine year old seems like overkill to me. I don’t want to ruin golf for her at nine; I want her to love this game for a lifetime. She has been blessed with such a beautiful natural move at the ball, the type of swing that makes a pro scoring a competitions jaw drop. Part of me is afraid to let anyone intervene at this stage.
In some ways I can’t relate to my daughter. I have always been athletic but I have always had to work really hard to achieve anything. Here, I have this little girl who is naturally gifted with an insatiable desire to compete. So, I stood there trying to console her, telling her an anecdote about how I came in second in a basketball one on one competition at age eight. I was attempting to illicit a smile or laughter, informing her that only two people showed up to he tournament. I’m parentally at a bit of a loss, with that in mind, this closing portion of the blog is directed at my Hailey, who thinks Mom writes a blob and that it is incredibly nerdy.
Hailey, you have given my life more meaning since you came into it a little over nine years ago, than it ever had. You and your little brother are the reason I get up every morning. You are my heart. If you scored no goals on the field or no birdies on the golf course, (she nearly had an eagle a few weeks ago) it would not make me love you less. Everything you do, you do with so much heart. In life, the effort that you put in is what truly matters, and that you have fun. You got three medals on Wednesday, all by yourself. You outdrove and outputted the little girl that won the competition, which makes little sense looking back on the event. You accomplished all of this by yourself, without a swing instructor, or me and dad hovering over you. You were remarkable. I marvel at you. We will spend more time working on your chipping and next year, you will return victorious.