Someone to root for
May 20, 2012
I have always been much more interested in the human element of sports than the actual score. That's what got me into this business. I like stories. I like the drama, and I like to watch how humans react to victory and defeat. It is awesome to be on a field after a team wins a championship. The raw emotion is something I feel blessed to have experienced. The guys or girls spent hours and hours working hard each day to reach the goal of being the best and achieving a lifelong dream.
Now for the point of this story. There is a high school senior in Eugene Oregon who pretty much defines a champion. She won the state title in golf her freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. She was set to become the first girl to ever win four titles in a row. She went out and dominated the field. She was awesome. She shot a 69; A score locking up the Oregon state title once again. But then she made her first big mistake of her high school golf career. She signed her scorecard, which gave her credit for shooting a 68. She was automatically disqualified.
I read this story about Caroline Inglis sometime last week in the Oregonian and couldn't help but think about how this poor girl must be feeling. She worked hard each day to try to become the first to ever achieve what she was trying to do. She did it. She experienced the excitement for a few minutes and then the excitement turned to pure disappointment. I must admit, I would not have handled it well. I would have talked about how stupid the rules of golf are. I would have complained about how careless my playing partner was for giving me par on the 18th hole when I really shot bogey. I would have been bitter. Caroline may have experienced some of those feelings, but she didn't show it in public. She gave an interview the day after the tournament. She admitted she was very sad about what happened but then said, "I am really proud of myself for the way I played. Mistakes happen. I might as well get over it because I have a lot of big things ahead of me." She was even able to joke about how ironic the entire thing was. Her father, Bill, also signed an incorrect scorecard 41 years ago which cost his team a shot at the state title.
Caroline will play golf at the University of Oregon next year. I can't say I've ever paid a bit of attention to Oregon women's golf. Why would I? But I will be keeping an eye on Caroline. She showed a lot of class after a very big disappointment. She's the kind of person who is easy to root for in sports. It will be interesting to see what she does from here. It's clear she has a great amount of talent for the sport, and now she has a little extra motivation to go win again and make this an even better story.