Monday, January 4, 2016

Isaiah Salinda (aka "The IS") Shares Stanford Beginnings

            Although I have barely scratched the surface of my four year Stanford experience, there is already so much I can write about. Just like everyone else, Ive had my share of ups and downs the last 12 weeks or so, but its the positive memories that stick out and are definitely worth sharing.

            One of my fondest memories dates back to the first day of the preseason in September. Opening my locker and seeing a Stanford bag with my name on it and all this new Nike gear was a pretty special moment. I waited a long three months over the summer to join the team and it was at that moment that I knew I could call myself a Stanford golfer.

            One of the greatest perks of being a Stanford golfer is playing at pretty much all the nicest courses in the bay area. Some of my favorite courses we have played so far are Pasatiempo, Cal Club, Half Moon Bay, Sharon Heights, and San Francisco Golf Club. SF Club is probably my favorite one of them all, since it is also host to the annual Big Game Cup. Every year during the week of the Stanford-Cal football game, the golf teams from each school pair up with Stanford and Cal alumni/members of the club and compete in a best-ball Ryder Cup like competition. This year, the weather was nice, the course was in good condition, and more importantly Stanford won! A key highlight from the Big Game Cup came from sophomore Frank the TankHuang, who had an ace on the par 3 13th hole. Tank was rather nonchalant about it (very typical of Tank) as the rest of us were more excited about the hole-in-one than he was. Nonetheless, the combination of beating Cal and Tanks hole in one led to a very memorable van ride home

            Speaking of vans I have had the privilege of becoming very familiar with them this quarter. Being on the team means having certain responsibilities. All 10 of us have specific team jobs and Chris (one of my freshman teammates) and I were assigned cleaning our two team vans 2-3 times a quarter. While at first I thought this would be a very mundane and boring task, it has proven to be rather enjoyable. Since the size of our vans prevents us from going to a normal car wash, we have to take the vans to a self car wash in Menlo Park. Spraying the van with water/soap out of the high pressure nozzle is actually kind of fun and for some weird reason, I really enjoy it.  Cleaning the vans inside and out is a job I take pride in. Also, since I dont have my car on campus, cruising around in the vans fills the void of not being able to drive. I think Chris and I got pretty lucky with our team job.

            Finally, on a more serious note, my most memorable experience thus far was playing in the Gifford Collegiate at La Costa. It was my first college tournament, and after struggling early in the season I was able to turn my game around and make the lineup for our last event of the fall. The whole trip was just a great time, and we as Stanford golfers have a pretty luxurious lifestyle while traveling. We got to visit the Taylormade Kingdom, stay 4 nights at the beautiful resort (which included buffets for most meals), and play the Legends Course which has hosted multiple PGA Tour events. The Gifford Collegiate was a fun week and also a great learning experience for me.

            While I only mentioned a few memories that stuck out, it is important to note that all my time spent with my teammates, (whether it be during morning workouts in the weight room, afternoon practice at Siebel, football games, or team dinner) is a memory in itself. Ive learned that the season is a day to day grind, but it is reassuring knowing that I can enjoy it with 9 other guys who all share the goal of winning a national championship. That being said, the fall season as a whole was a memorable one and I cant wait to see what awaits us in the spring.            

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