Hi, my name is Alejandra Ayala, I’m 14-years-old and I’m a proud member of the First Tee of Atlanta. This is my video for succeeding together, version 220. I remember since I was young, just being another normal girl who was always trying to get involved into different sports, and then in the Fall of 2008 I went to see my first PGA Tournament ever. That was the Tour Championship and it was won by a well-known Columbian golfer named Camilo Villegas.
It was a very special memory that I don’t think I will ever forget, because first, I’m partially Columbian, and also just watching them play with confidence, especially Sergio Garcia, in that playoff. And at that moment, I just knew that golf was the game for me. Soon after we got into the First Tee of Atlanta and I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Hawkins and many other people and the majority of them are volunteers.
Ms. Hawkins talked about responsibility. She encourages us to make our own decisions, to be independent, but also to be accountable for our actions. We meet almost every Saturday and I still remember that one very session where we came a few minutes late. Well, here we have a policy that states that you have to arrive always on time. We tried to explain and explain, you know the usual. We live about an hour away from the course and the traffic and the weather. It didn’t work. Now we always plan and prepare to come on time. Thank you, Ms. Hawkins for teaching us about being more responsible. One of the areas where I’ve been working the hardest is definitely my putting game. I’ve been working with many coaches at the First Tee, including Chris Hawkins, Coach Burke and Coach Mike [inaudible], who is one of my mentors. He is a great coach. He has been helping me for five years. I practice everyday and about half of the time I work on putting. Sometimes after homework, I even putt at home. Coach [inaudible] said make it fun, be creative. Well, I wonder if this is what he meant.
This is one of the things I do every day, something that Mr. Mike [inaudible] told me to do. He said, take a 2×4 and we got this at a construction site, it’s an easy piece of wood, and just make sure you lean the club against it because I tend to cut across it, and that’s not good for a very accurate putting stroke. So, let’s show you a little bit. Some people think that mentors are designed for short periods of time or that you can only have one, and the truth is that some individuals who are my mentors never even realized it and still don’t even know it. They taught me important lessons of life, or as we call it, the First Tee Core Values. In my last five years, I have seen so many examples that it’s hard to pass on and not name just a few. I’m talking about the display of confidence shown to be Camilo Villegas in that term, by the teachings of responsibility from Ms. Hawkins, a player like Webb Simpson presenting real life examples of honesty by calling a penalty on himself, costing him a possible win that later he eventually got back with a well-deserved victory at the US Open, or even Angel Cabrera last year at the Masters with great gesture of sportsmanship, congratulating Adam Scott. Later, he said, “Golf is a sport, not a [inaudible].” I see all my parents and coach’s examples of integrity almost every day and yes, I do have a brother. He also plays golf and is a member of the First Tee. Sometimes we’re best friends and sometimes we play golf. But anybody who knows him or has played with him, will agree with me on his level of courtesy and decency when he treats others. They and many others are the people that have inspired me and I call mentors. But my very favorite core value by far has to be perseverance. This is why I work hard and I practice every day. This is why I was able to win the Gabrielson Cup and make progress every day as a result of this. This is why I’m participating in Succeeding Together again. This is a photo I drew for Ricky Fowler in 2010 before going to the PGA Championship and fortunately he signed it and the next time I’m hoping we’ll get –. Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest football coaches and one of the greatest mentors of all time once said, “he greatest accomplishment is not never failing, but in rising up again after you fall.” Thank you to all my mentors and thank you to everyone for taking the time to watch this video.