“To the window, to the wall, sweat drips…” This inappropriate song blasts through the van as I wonder what differences these 19-year-old boys have compared to the 15-year-old boys on Westtown’s golf team. None. The loud jokes and rude remarks circle through the van as if a tornado was coming through. I want to join in and tell them to shut up, but I cannot. I don’t know anyone. I’m being ignored and no one wants to know who I am, where I’m from, or what I’m doing at the Academy. All I think of is how nervous I’m going to be once we get out of the van. Ahhh.
We approach the putting green as we watch three master pros teach us the proper technique of putting. “Now guys, you can’t always be worried about the exact technique. It’s about feeling. It’s about your ability to feel what’s comfortable and what’s not. Don’t get so caught up in the perfect put. If you keep thinking the ball has to go in, it will not. If you keep telling yourself to get it close so your next putt can be accurate, it’s going to go in.” I like this guy already. This makes sense. I’m beginning to feel better about this all. I think I can really learn something,
“Okay, I have a drill for you all” the next coach says. He proceeds to make a medium-sized box around a hole with white string. Hitting 25 feet away, the player to make it in the box is the winner. Or let’s say, the people who don’t make it in the box start to lose their ego. One by one each of the 12 boys hit. Nicole, a junior from Canada, and I, are never called. Just ignore the girls, like usual, I say to myself, worried I had said it out loud. “Casey, looks like you’re up” Lyndon, another coach says. Yikes. No one has made it in the box so far, so there’s no way I can. Why try? If they cannot get it in that small box and have been at this academy since August, there’s no reason to try. I try to shake off my nerves and step up to a ball lying on the green. Here we go. It seems like all 15 of them are staring.
“Looks like it takes a girl to get the work done around here” says Lyndon. I look up. My ball is just off the box about 2 inches. I’m closest to the hole. I try not to smile. It’s either a fluke or I’m getting a bit better. One boy, with small glasses and filled with freckles, stares at me. “Great putt” he murmurs. Those two words may have just saved me.