Teeing Off: The many doors opened through golf
     2014-07-31      By Kaitlyn Krzyzanowski    kaitlynk@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo - Kaitlyn Krzyzanowski makes a practice swing during the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islander Classic held in Corpus Christi, Texas on February 24 and 25. 
As many of my readers may already know, I have been playing golf for quite some time. As long as I can even remember and because of this I have been given some amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise which have significantly affected my life. I currently attend the University of South Dakota where I am working towards a degree in what is basically strategic communication (which I mention because school is very important to me, too) as well as participating on the women’s golf team, which is NCAA Division I.

I’m going to be honest, it’s not all glamour and glitz playing a sport in college and there’s plenty of hard work that goes on behind the scenes but that’s what makes everything else worth it. During my first year, I can sum up most of what I have learned. First off, time management. This is hugely important because not only are you attending practice every day, but heading to workouts three days a week before the sun is up, missing many class days for tournaments, and trying to keep your grades up. This is something easier said than done and it requires plenty of late nights, studying on car rides and plane flights, and working twice as hard to get everything accomplished on time. I rely on my planner heavily during these situations.

I’ve also been able to push harder both during practice and at workouts. At this level, you can’t always expect to rely on talent alone. It’s easy to lose confidence on the course but learning how to push yourself can change a whole lot in the long run. I remember days of being painfully tired during workouts, but I can always push myself to do more because I’ve developed that mindset. You also acquire the value of teamwork. Although golf seems to be individual, the team score is even more important in college. You have to be a teammate and encourage and push each other to do better because at the end of the day, you want to come together on top as a team. Not only that, but I have built strong friendships with some of my teammates. Here’s the deal, sometimes your personalities are going to clash with others and you can’t guarantee you’ll like everyone on the team but you learn to support each other and work together.

Those lessons open opportunities for me because they have shaped my character and allowed me to receive qualities that I might not have otherwise if I wasn’t in those situations. But I do have to say, the greatest door golf has ever opened for me is to be able to travel across the country to play and meet people through the sport. That is something that is irreplaceable and from knowing some of the people I do through golf, it may be able to help me in the future. Whether that be just from knowing somebody in the area to having someone who is there for me. I wouldn’t trade the memories I have made for the world because they truly mean everything to me.

I guess in sharing this with my readers, my ultimate goal is to encourage each and every one of you to continue doing the things that you love to do because you never know if that passion will lead to something greater.

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