I should probably start with a little bit about myself. I’m a perfectionist. I like to have control. I like to plan. Everything I did in regard to golf in the past year was focused on the goal of contributing to the team when I arrived on campus. I planned my entire 2017 schedule so that I would be peaking in September, and I was. Then I injured my calf three days before the team reported for preseason practices, and my entire plan was thrown out the window.
I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write about for this post, so I started with the best source of inspiration I could think of, The Truth. I read Ashwin’s recent blog post (it’s a must read by the way), and realized that despite being in the same position as incoming freshmen, we had significantly different first quarters. While the team was competing against Army in the Bush Cup, I was back on campus with our team trainer getting treatment on my calf. Instead of lifting during workouts, I was doing physical therapy exercises. During practices and qualifying, I was sitting on the metaphorical sideline that doesn’t exist in golf. I’ll be honest, it was frustrating. I was around the team, but my physical limitations made it difficult to feel like I was contributing, and it weighed on me mentally.
So, I trusted the process. I couldn’t control the fact that I was unable to play golf, but I could control how I reacted to a difficult situation. I did everything I could from a rehabilitation perspective so that I could be back playing as soon as possible, and I tried to focus on the positives. I had great teammates, great coaches, and the Eagles were winning (and still are. Nick Foles is taking us to the Super Bowl. Don’t @ me.). I realized that I wasn’t going to have the fall season I had envisioned for the past two years since I committed to Stanford, but that didn’t have to be a bad thing. If anything, it made me appreciate Stanford even more.
For starters, the weather is absolutely unreal. From when I arrived on campus to winter break, it rained once. Yes, once. I don’t think I checked the weather past the middle of September once I realized it was going to be somewhere from 65 to 75 degrees and sunny every day. That’s not exactly what I’m used to coming from Pennsylvania.
Despite how great the weather is, it is the people you meet and interact with every day that makes Stanford unique. I quickly realized that there’s a reason why the acceptance rate was 4.65% last year. Stanford students are special. I’ve met Olympic gold medalists, published writers, Heisman finalists (the voting is rigged), and the list goes on and on. Just in our freshman dorm, we have multiple national champions, a PAC-12 freshman of the year and first team All-American, founders of successful businesses, public figures, and probably more than a few other future millionaires. Over our three-week winter break, I had a friend attend a U.S. soccer national team camp, a friend who studied in Israel, and a friend who did this:
Like I said, pretty special.
I’ve learned that every student at Stanford has a reason why they are here, because they are capable of doing great things. I really feel like that’s true of our team this year. Some have written us off after graduating two incredible seniors in Viraat and Mav, but having been on the sideline, I’ve seen how hard our guys have been working, and I think we’re poised to have a special spring season.
As for me, my calf is starting to feel better, and hopefully I’ll be back playing soon. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to keep trusting the process.