The First Tee of Greater New Orleans

Which of The First Tee Nine Core Values has helped you the most on your personal journey to become a better student, citizen, golfer or better prepared for life?

The First Tee Core Value that has helped me most is confidence. My parents taught me at an early age to believe in myself and my ability to do great things! Their early guidance over me, helped mold the confident person I am today. They taught me to believe in myself in a way that has allowed me to push through challenging times yet embrace challenging experiences. One example of this was starting the first ever golf team at my school. At the outset, there was some push-back because students were not interested; however, I met with a small group of male and female students to explain the fundamentals of golf and how learning to play could benefit them on and off the course. I explained that golf is the kind of sport that strengthens one’s mental stamina, one’s ability to focus. Before long, we had enough interested students to start a team. Rather than back away from the idea, because of indifference, I felt confident in my ability to help my peers realize the benefits of learning to play. Although we are still a very young team in terms of skill, we are indeed a team.

Which core value have you employed to help someone else achieve their goals?

A core value I have employed in this way is perseverance. It was at a community event where young children had been invited to learn about golf. I was assigned to a group of third graders who had never played the game. It was a hot spring day, and the kids were restless. They wanted water, they wanted their parents, they wanted to leave! Being a teenager, I felt ill-equipped to manage their complaints. Nonetheless, I had to keep my composure and push through. I got them each a cold drink of water, which helped. Then, we sat on the green and got to know one another better. I told them of the silly way I played when I first started to learn. They liked hearing my story. I even modeled some of the silly swings I used to make. The kids laughed! Once relaxed and having fun, we started to practice again. They had learned one another’s names and had begun cheering each other on. At the end of the day, I presented the kids in my group with certificates of achievement. It made me feel good that I hadn’t let my frustrations get the better of me.

Identify a lesson that you have learned from a mentor, peer or role model that you have translated into your daily life.

My father is the biggest role model in my life. He steers me in the right direction and keeps me focused to complete my goals, every single day. But one day that stands out above all was when he talked to me about my future. He sat me down and looked me in my eyes. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life. He explained to me that I had to worked my butt off and be persistent to get where I want to be. I will never forget when he said, “If you want to get to where you’re at the top, you have to work harder than the next person, because others are trying work just as hard to achieve their goals.” It was simply stated, but it was compelling and made so much sense to me. From that moment on, I began to look at life differently. I realized that consistency was key in everything I did. I couldn’t practice well for golf but underwhelm in my studies. I couldn’t excel in school but slack on my responsibilities at home. Consistently excelling is the discipline I now live by.