Being from the northeast, girls golf teams were few and far between. My time playing high school golf was an amazing and fun experience. I consider myself lucky because this is not the case for a lot of girls who are a part of co-ed golf teams. It’s 2020 and the last thing that any high school student should be worried about is acceptance from their teammates. I want to share my positive high school experience with you and highlight the one factor that has made every team I have been a part of successful.
It’s a week before school starts, I show up to our home course for tryouts. You could say that I was a little nervous because I had prior knowledge that the last time any girl made the varsity team was 5 years prior. I am about 20 minus into my warm-up when I realize I am the only girl there. Now the anxiety really starts to set in, I had a million thoughts running through my head. Are they going to like me? Do they want a girl on their team? Are they going to talk to me? I spent the next 20 minutes prior to my tee time working myself up over… well over nothing really.
I thought the guys would stereotype me, not give me a chance and that was not the case. I realized immediately that the guys were kind and treated me like they would any other person.. The only reason I was scared was because of the stereotypes of women in golf. Over the next three years on the team, I made some of the best memories with my teammates. Through it all I come back to one factor, one factor I think is essential for keeping a positive team atmosphere whether it is golf, soccer, football, men, women, co-ed, everyone!
My high school golf team had a respectful atmosphere. The guys on my high school team treated each member of the team as an equal. Shooting a low score did not make you popular and having a bad day did not get you ostracized. This is the main reason my experience was so great. It had nothing to do with men vs. women or freshman vs. seniors, we were all out there trying to shoot the best scores we could and have fun doing it.
Any athlete would have bad experiences with teammates that have a lack of respect for one another. Not only will they have a bad experience, but the team will also crumble. You often hear the phrase “a team is only as strong as its weakest player”. My question then becomes, why so often do we hear stories of teammates putting each other down if someone is faster, stronger, shoots lower scores? By choosing to participate in such behavior the bully is making their own team weaker. In my high school and collegiate experience, no matter the sport, true teammates respect one another.
I could have written this as a list of stereotypes of women in golf and a list reasons why they are not true, but I think we have all seen enough of that. There was never a day I woke up and did not want to go to practice. I wanted to hang out with the guys, we always had fun with one another. My advice to everyone reading this is to just be respectful of everyone you encounter. No matter the race, ethnicity, gender, or the other million things that make every person unique in their own right, treat everyone like a human being. We could all use some more respect and positivity in our lives, be the person to spread that to others.
I’d love to hear your stories as well! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.