by Hayden H. '19
It was a beautiful day at Jackson Park Golf Course and I was set to play in a sudden death playoff for my spot in the district golf tournament. It was the beginning of my freshman year and I wanted nothing more than to play my best and not let my team down. I remember standing on the tee box with three other golfers, all experienced seniors from other schools, surrounded by Lakeside students I didn't even recognize. High school golf generally doesn't have the biggest fan base, so you can imagine how excited I was to have some fans in my corner, cheering me on. I had never experienced that kind of support and it helped me to play my best in such a crucial moment of the season. I felt like my older teammates had my back even though I was just a freshman and new to the team.
I remember absolutely crushing my drive off the first tee and hearing the cheers from my fellow Lakesiders. I was so hyped up that I went on to hit a 4-iron just short of the green, which was something I hadn’t been able to do for most of the season. Standing over that chip, the nerves kicked in and I second-guessed my club choice. Thinking back to what I had learned in practice, I took the “big miss” out of the picture and played a shot with a larger margin for error. Coach Porter and Coach Shethar always emphasize the importance of being able to hit different types of shots in different situations, and that advice served me well in the playoff. I hit my chip to within ten feet of the hole, and then drained my putt for a birdie and a spot in the district tournament.
Fast forward to this year, I’m a junior coming up on the end of my third golf season at Lakeside. After making it to the state tournament last year, my personal goal is to advance to state again this year and make the second day cut-line. As a team, our goal is to win the Metro tournament and place inside the top five at the district and state tournaments. This Lakeside golf team has a tremendous amount of talent, and our potential for the upcoming post-season is incredible. I believe what strengthens us even more than our talent is our support for each other. It is that support that I remember most about that day from my freshman year.
Looking back at that experience three years ago, I realize how representative it was of the Lakeside community as a whole. It showed me the value of school spirit and the support of my fellow Lions. When my high school career is over, it's not the wins and losses that I will necessarily remember. It's times like that day during the Metro playoff, which embody the camaraderie and friendship of high school sports, that I will value most.