They say “Don’t be a victim, have integrity, have a dream, and no dream is too big” and it completely resonates with what my mother has always taught me. This is the lesson that has shaped my life, my actions, my goals, and my relationships, but in the face of failure, would I still be able to follow these ideas? I was not clear about this question.
Finally, after a long day of playing golf in the brutal conditions of Carson City, Nevada, I walked through the cold rain and high winds back to the clubhouse. Before I even reached the steps of the covered patio, my teammates eagerly rushed out to meet me. Their excitement could be seen on their faces as they asked me what I shot. Since we were five shots behind the day before, their reaction gave me hope that there was still a chance that we might have won. As we walked back together to the scoring table, they told me that as long as the other team’s first seat did not beat me by five strokes or more, we would win.
After shooting ten worse strokes as compared to the first day shooting, the feeling of uncertainty slowly began to rise in my gut. The time that the officials took to carefully count the score, making sure to account for every stroke, felt agonizingly long as we waited to hear the final results. Finally, the time had come. Everyone crowded toward the scoreboard as the officials wrote the score by hand. As the amount of white space on the board went down, my feeling of dread went up. When they finally got to the last two schools, it was almost suffocating. I could barely look as they wrote: Lake Mead – 895 and The Meadows – 896. As soon as the black sharpie finished the smooth curve of the 6, I lost all feeling. Slowly, the numbness went away as we congratulated all the teams.
At first, this loss has devastated me. It felt like all my efforts, the 11 years that I have been playing this sport, had been all for nothing. I have let down my school, my team, my mother, and myself. As we were flying back to Las Vegas, all I could think about was how within the endless amount of mistakes I made that day; one stroke could have prevented all this. During that time, I felt that giving up the sport was the only thing I could do. But somewhere from within a voice uttered in my ear the very lesson my mother had been nourishing me with. With the spur of that moment, I decided I would never lose hope in my life.
Since then I have realized that what I have been doing is totally against what my mother has taught me. I was a victim instead of finding a solution and was about to throw away the dreams that I have been trying so hard to achieve my whole life. I also have realized that even the best professional golfers also face failure in their careers. A player that I look up to, Dustin Johnson, suffered a devastating defeat at the 2015 US Open, one of the four big majors of golf. At the last hole, he missed two makeable putts and lost the tournament by one stroke. Moreover, when he finished out the hole, even after knowing he blew his chance and had lost, his expression remained calm and professional. Instead of letting this incident slow him down, he used it as a way to improve himself even more. As of 2016, he was ranked the 3rd golfer in the world, and by 2017 he took the 1st spot.
From this experience, I have learned the value of not letting a failure inhibit my chances of success, but instead, use it as a reason to improve myself even more. Having a goal that I want to achieve for myself instead of my mother or teammates also helps me to imagine and manifest the bigger picture. By following the words my mother has always told me, I now know and believe that to succeed failure is needed to see improvements.