Friday, April 27, 2012

Cameron Wilson shares the inside info on the team

My teammates have used this opportunity to talk about their golf games, highlight the many ways in which Stanford is a great place to be, and detail some of our results thus far. I thought I’d use this blog to tell our supports a little more about each of my teammates and coaches. Before I do that, I’d like to extend a quick thanks to our supporters and donors who have supported our program this year. You all are too numerous to thank in this post, but know that your efforts are appreciated by everyone on the team. Nowhere else would we be able to have so many great experiences all in the course of one season.

            That said, here are some of the idiosyncrasies of each player/coach on the team. These descriptions are 100% accurate, especially the final part of Wilson’s.

Coach Ray- Longs to return to his high school days as a three sport star and lead in the school play. Would prefer that we hit irons off most tees and never hit the ball above the tree-line. This philosophy is exemplified by the tee shot he calls the “seed ball” or “crop duster.” Favorite place to hang out is tee boxes on par 3’s, closely followed by the Duck Blind at Dutch Goose.

Coach Rowe-Has a propensity to put hook spin on all of his short shots. Uses his knowledge of wedge play and chipping technique to dominate short game contests. Calls Butler National in Chicago “The greatest course in the world,” mainly due to his career round of 68 in September.

Wilson Bowen- Resident bio-mechanical and medicinal expert. On occasion hits his driver prodigious lengths. Also the only person I know that still carries a two iron. He is rumored to have killed a mountain lion on the Dish with only his bear hands and said two iron.

David Chung- Best distance runner on the team, by a close margin over Shane. Who lifts more weight is a matter that I am not allowed to disclose. Hits flop shots that would make Phil Mickelson jealous. Best known for his “pop catch” in which he makes a full swing with a wedge, hitting the ball straight up in the air and only three feet forward.

Andrew Yun- Formerly known as “Iceman,” rarely shows emotion on the course. Plays golf with machine like precision. Proud of his undefeated record vs. Coach Ray, as well as his two hole in ones on the 17th hole at Stanford.

Steven Kearney- Possibly the farthest and straightest driver of the ball on the team. Always has surfboard in his car, just in case... Known for winning last year’s Wilson Bowen Invitational at the Olympic Club. This year’s event has been named the Steven Kearney Invitational in honor of his phenomenal victory.

Andre de Decker-Deadliest with a wedge in his hands. Often scares the hole from 20-50 yards, as well as most greenside bunkers. Wields the long putter efficiently, rarely missing from inside 10 feet. Has a funny accent, probably Australian but possibly South African?

Shane Lebow- Most excitable team member, as well as most energetic. Master of the bump and run shot, as well as all shots from deep rough.  Always contends for victory in team runs, often surging ahead in the final lap to overcome leader.

Cameron Wilson (description by Andrew Yun): Resident geographical and political expert. More likely to be reading NY Times than to go on Facebook. Effectively uses wide hips to hit booming drives. Driest sense of humor on the team.

Patrick Grimes- Biggest proponent of using the long putter. Uses his long putter to make putts from everywhere, but also to attack playing partners that take too long or step in his line. A California native, he knows every single college golfer in the state of California.

Patrick Rodgers- Sometimes known as Daddy Longlegs for legs that reach to most peoples’ neck. Without a doubt wears the longest inseam on the team. Believes Indiana to be the greatest place in the world. Also is adamant that Q’doba is better than Chipotle. 

Marcel Puyat- Team’s best putter from 5-10 feet. Repeatedly bends down to pick his ball  out of the hole before he has made the putt. We do not know if he spends more time practicing or playing Words with Friends on his phone. Most forgetful, very prone to locking keys in car and leaving headlights on.

Cameron Wilson, sophomore from Rowayton, Connecticut

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Freshman Marcel Puyat shares an extract from a Humanities paper he wrote

Freshman Marcel Puyat
One of my biggest worries in coming to Stanford was how I would manage balancing my time between working on my golf game and doing school-related work. I struggled a bit in the Fall Quarter with motivating myself to work on writing some of the papers assigned in my Introduction to Humanities class, as I always found myself too tired from a day’s work in the gym and on the range/course to get myself to do schoolwork. This definitely showed itself in some of the very average grades I received on some of these papers, leaving me determined to find a way to improve on my study habits without taking away time from my sport.
            In analyzing what I would do with my time on a weekly basis, I knew immediately that the lazy Saturday and Sunday mornings had to go. I made it a point to sleep much earlier on weekend nights throughout most of Winter Quarter, allowing me to get up early and put some hours into studying and getting work done before practicing or playing some holes in the afternoon.
            This extract from a paper in my Introduction to Humanities: Epic Journeys class is a product of my new sleep and study habits on the weekends. Although some of it pertains to specific portions The Epic of Gilgamesh, the gist of my thesis discusses how struggling through tough times, no matter how adverse they may seem, is the only way to truly undergo a significant and life-changing learning process. While it is explored in my paper within the context of this epic poem, the subject of struggling through adversity is very relevant to the life of a competitive golfer.

The interactions between gods and mortals that occur in several epic poems result in varying types of outcomes that can be viewed as both beneficial and detrimental towards the hero’s journey. From gods acting in favor of certain characters due to biases in their proclivity towards certain races of people, to gods that do everything in their power to make life difficult for the hero, these relationships between heavenly figures and characters that live in the mortal world tend to be significant matters that can dictate the way the plots of certain stories unfold. However, with the knowledge that almost every hero’s journey ends in his return or symbolic resurrection with the attainment of some manifestation of an elixir, the validity behind the true meaning of the conflicts faced throughout the hero’s journey comes into question. Are these clashes between gods and heroes truly meant to delay the fruition of the protagonist’s mission?  In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the conflict that arises between the goddess Ishtar and Gilgamesh answers this question with a resounding “no.” With the descent of the Bull of Heaven that led to the death of Enkidu, and ultimately Gilgamesh’s awareness of his task to fulfill on earth, this friction between god and hero ends up becoming the turning point in allowing Gilgamesh to realize his destiny as two-thirds god and one-third man. This proves that the opposite of the question previously posed is the actual truth: these god-hero conflicts are essential to the development of the hero’s journey.
This progression of events that led to Gilgamesh’s realization of his fate as a mortal would not have been occurred at all if not for the discord that took place between Ishtar and himself. The way certain gods create obstacles to challenge the hero, whether physically, mentally or emotionally, plays an important role in the transformation that occurs in his journey. As ironic as it appears to be, Gilgamesh would not have gone on his path towards his acceptance of his own mortality if Ishtar had not tried to kill him. Expanding on this idea of the god-hero conflict being a significant positive step in pushing the hero in the right direction, it is worth arguing that these conflicts prove to be more crucial in guiding the hero towards his destiny in comparison to the helping hand of the gods that act in favor of the hero. Gilgamesh is forced to face his formerly unknown fear of mortality through the death of his best friend, and this life-changing type of experience was brought about by an angry goddess. These types of struggles create the conditions for a learning process to occur. Ironically, the gods that intend to help the hero are not able to put him through these tough endeavors that challenge the hero to grow and mature in their journey. It takes the intervention of a divine opposing force such as Ishtar for Gilgamesh to realize his purpose in the world. In striving to make it through these types of challenges, the hero comes out stronger and wiser in the end. Conclusively, the existence of a god that tries to hinder the protagonist in his pilgrimage is an absolute necessity for the evolution in a hero’s journey to occur.

            My golf game this year might have gone through a few more “downs” than “ups” so far, but I remain hopeful that the hardships I face will only make me come out a better and more mature golfer in the end. As the saying goes, what does not kill you will only make you stronger!

Go Card!
Marcel Puyat, freshman from Makati City, Philippines