Sophia Martinez, a freshman golfer at California High in Whittier, has won a national essay contest through the Women’s Sports Foundation that has earned her a trip to New York to be honored alongside Billie Jean King.
Martinez, who is a member of the Southern California Golf Assn. junior program, wrote about what golf means to her. It’s titled “What Inspires Me to Keep Playing.”
Here’s the essay:
Like many kids these days, sports came into my life because my parents wanted me to have an extracurricular activity. There was a rule in the household that my parents wanted us to follow: Do well in school, play one musical instrument and one sport of your choice. For me, playing the piano and golf became my two passions.
In the beginning, golf was all about fun and games, and still is to this day! I was learning something new, making new friends, and enjoying time outdoors on the course. Unlike other sports or activities I tried before (soccer, tennis, ballet, musical theater), playing golf was different. Golf was special for several reasons but most importantly because it taught me how to be a better decision maker both on and off the course. The SCGA junior program encouraged us to remember an acronym G.O.L.F.ER., which helped me through many tough decisions and situations:
G: Grip it- define the decision
O: Observe and collect information
L: Link in the right people
F: Finalize the decision
E: Educate those involved
R: Ready golf, time to act
This game continues to motivate me to be a better version of myself. Golf teaches you to be independent, patient, honest, respectful, a problem solver, and numerous other values. When I am presented with a tough shot or a bad round, I always remind myself to remain positive and apply good decision-making steps to solve the problem.
I’m almost 14 and have been playing golf for almost eight years now. As I have become older, I have become more aware of issues in our society. I recently watched the film, The Founders, which tells the story of how thirteen women golfers battled the odds to form the Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA). As a female junior, I connected with this film as their efforts are the reason why women are allowed to play golf, and professionally, today.
Women still face inequality today and golf can be a way to break down those barriers. My mother is a working professional and I see how golf has allowed her to network both for work and personal reasons. Golf is a unique sport as it can bring all kinds of people together: young and old, all ethnicities, different interests and occupations. I meet different people on the course then we go our separate ways. However, in that couple of hours we have played together, despite our differences, we’ve bonded over the love of the game.
Golf is a lifetime sport. I will be forever inspired to play this game in the future not only to challenge myself but to teach the beauty of this game to others.