Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A path to victory.

In life, we all have to deal with the unexpected. Just because we’re believers, just because we’re good people or doing the right thing doesn’t make us exempt from trouble. The scripture says, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” When something unexpected happens or you find yourself facing a crisis, don’t automatically go into “panic mode” or just fall apart emotionally. Realize that the crisis is NO surprise to God. It may be unexpected to you, but God knows the end from the beginning. He has solutions to problems that you haven’t even had yet. He has equipped you for every battle, and He goes before you to make your crooked places straight. Today, instead of focusing on your problem, focus on your God. Focus on the fact that He is with you. Remember that He is leading and guiding you to a place of peace and victory. No matter what has happened, He will take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it around for your good. He always leads us in victory. So keep moving forward knowing that He has a good plan for you.


What would happen if you went into every round remembering this. What would happen if I went into every round remembering this. I know for a fact that I would NOT fail. I will NOT have concerns. I will NOT be worried about my outcome. I will NOT be scared. I will accept the outcome (whatever it may be), because I know that God will not lead me astray. I know He has me on the path to victory. A victory that I may not know yet, but a victory that is MINE. A victory that He has given just for me. We all have our own victory that He is guiding us and leading us too. It is our choice to take a ride on this path. And I am happily aboard. This path is my Victory. Being lead by someone who was willing to die for me, that loves me unconditionally, that forgives me for my wrongdoing - why would I ever want to be anywhere else. My victory is God. My victory is eternal life. That in itself is peace. And we are extremely blessed to receive such a wonderful blessing. 

The scripture says, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13

We are going to make bogeys, or doubles, maybe even a triple here and there - not only in golf, but in life as well. But we are also going to make birdies, eagles, and an ace. It is all apart of His plan for us.

Golf is full of the unexpected. That is why I think so many people have a love/hate relationship with the sport. It is exactly like life. You never know what is going to happen. It can change in the blink of an eye. You never know what is going to happen on the course. You never know what lie you are going to get. It is all out of your control. 

If you are like me, then you absolutely HATE things being out of your control. I like being in control of the situation. An example of this for me is driving. When my friends and I want to go do something, I always want to drive. Because therefore I am in control of the car, and I know that if something happens - I am to blame. I was the one in control, and I can do something about it. It isn’t that I don’t trust others, it is just that I like to be in control of situations, and I feel more comfortable when I am in control. However, I play a sport where basically whatever happens out there isn’t in my control. The wind, the speed of the greens, the bunkers being hard, or the rough being too thick, I can’t control my surroundings, but I know that I can accept them. I know that God has control. I know that he has equipped me with what I need for every battle that I face. Therefore with that piece of information, I am ALWAYS in control. He has equipped me for everything that I will face, because He already knows what I am going to face before I do. Therefore He has given me the ability to be in control without me even knowing it. And with golf being full of the unexpected, that is something I need to remember constantly - before and after every shot I hit.


Now I know no one ever expects to hit a bad shot, but no one ever expects to hit a good shot and get a horrible break out of it either. The unexpected happens when we least expect it. I’m the master of the obvious aren’t I. But how many times have you hit a great drive down the middle of the fairway and ended up in a divot. Or hit the pin and have it shoot off the green into the water. That is the unexpected. You never expect those shots to occur, and when they do - what do you do? Panic mode sets. Emotionally you fall apart. And you start to rush things. Or I do at least. How many of us know this is exactly what you cannot do, but when you are put in this moment, it just naturally occurs. That is normal. It happens to everyone. Now you just need a way to remind yourself that the unexpected happens, and God already knew that it was going to happen, and guess what. He has equipped you with what you need to deal with the unexpected. It isn’t a surprise to God, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to you. It should be a blessing. It is apart of your plan, and you got to see the next part - whether that be lying perfectly in the middle of the fairway - or perfectly in the middle of a divot in the middle of the fairway - that was part of your plan, and slowly it is being revealed to you.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PURE michigan

I would just like everyone to know that the SMU Women's Golf Team made Michigan more PURE this past week.


Victory is ours!

This past week we went up to PURE Michigan and played in the East and West Match Play Championship. It consisted of 36 stroke play and then the teams were divided into a championship bracket, and a consolation bracket to determine match play. We eased our way in to the championship bracket by one shot, placing 4th. That one shot was all we needed to keep our heads high and head into the championship bracket knowing we could win the whole thing. 

Getting paired with the top seed, Ohio State - we were the underdogs going into our first match. UNDERDOGS WE WERE NOT. We all fought our hardest, and finished with a bang. We ended up beating Ohio State 3&2 but it went down to the wire and the 18th hole in two matches. Still victorious, we were on to the next one. Beating Ohio State meant we were in the championship match against UC Davis, for the win. UC Davis had a lot of good players who challenged each and everyone of us during our matches. However, even though they started with a bang - we finished with a KABOOM

In Jennifer's match - the girl she played with dunked it for eagle on the first hole. Already being one down, JP never gave up, fought her butt off, and on hole 4, she birdied to make the match all square again. Then she won holes 7 and 9 to go two up in the match headed into the back nine. Jennifer said that she could tell her opponent was pressing and putting pressure on her, but JP dismissed it and fought back by birdieing hole 14 to be three up. Jennifer knew that if she played the next hole well, she would be done with the match. And therefore she FMF'ed it and drained her 18 foot birdie putt to win the first match of the day 4 & 3.


I was down 3 through the first 5 holes. I was feeling the pressure, when I was reminded by Jennifer (who was playing behind me) that I got this. She ended up putting a note in my bag (that I found on the next hole) saying: You're much better. <3  I ended up winning the next two holes, and going into the back 9 only one down. Then ended up winning the tenth - and was All square. I got to one up at one point, but lost the 15th hole bringing our match back to all square. I knew two people had already lost a match, so I needed to make something happen. Coach Sutherland walked with me the entire back 9 which helped me extremely. She kept telling me that a putt would fall, and to just keep trudging along. On the 16th, I made a birdie putt that put me at one up, and then ended up winning the 17th hole to close the match and win 2 up. It was super exciting! 

But what really made things exciting was LINSANITY. Our anchor, she had the last match of the day - and she was 4 down after 7 holes. Lindsey didn't give up. Despite being 4 down after seven, she won her next two holes - and then fought back to get the match all square after 13. I can't imagine how she was feeling going into the last couple holes, knowing that the winner of the tournament was relying on her match. But Lindsey showed no nerves. In fact - she looked confident as ever, and hit the most amazing shot into the 17th green. Putting first, she stepped up to her putt, and drained it right into the middle of the cup for birdie, which allowed her to win the hole, and eventually the match. The second that putt dropped in the hole, our team went CRAZY! It was such an epic moment. And it was one of those moments that allowed our team to come together and really play and root for each other. Something I hope that we will take into stroke play as well. It was AWESOME.

It is always exciting when it comes down to the last couple holes, because with our EDGE, I think we were more calm and felt less pressure under the circumstances we were in, compared to both Ohio State and UC Davis. We had our finest moments coming down the stretch when it mattered most, and that was very noticeable to everyone. 



 The team rooting on Celli during her match. We all got in one cart to head out and watch her play her last couple holes. Coach photobombed us in the back.


Aside from our awesome team victory, I took second individually which was exciting as well!

I was very pleased with our whole team effort during this tournament. I think match play helped our team camaraderie and got us excited to play in future events. I know the moment when Lindsey drained her putt on the 17th that sealed the deal on our win, is something we will be talking about for a long, long time. I think it also helped us realize that we are a force to be reckoned with, and we are ready to compete and make it to Nationals this year - considering Nationals has added a match play component.  

Pony up!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How will you respond?

"Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today, I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."


One bad round. One bad round in match play, and I had lost my confidence. Luckily, God has blessed me with some amazing people in my life, and Samantha Marks, who is an amazing golfer, and currently plays golf for Arkansas, is one of them. I was feeling down, and I had been working really hard on taking my losses and regarding them as positives in order to help me become better. However, I will openly admit that after my match, I was more focused on the negative than the positive. Thankfully, Samantha helped me remember the positives; how it was God's plan - and that one off day does not change how I had played the previous two days. She told me how, "yes there is no way around the fact that losing is not fun," but then she ended that statement with: "But it is how you respond to it that makes you a champion. It's just ONE bad day."

I really needed that reminder, and at that time too. I am very thankful for her wonderful advice, and it allowed me to reflect back on my round and take away the positives from it. It allowed me to accept what had happened that day, and still be confident in my game. It reminded me that God has a plan for me, and losing my match was part of His plan for me. It reminded me to thank God for how far I had come in the last year, and reminded me that my hard work is paying off - I just have to keep moving along, and one day it will all make sense. It reminded me that God's plan is greater than my plan.

Then Samantha sent me a passage from her book: "365 Pocket Prayers for Women," and it not only hit home, but eased my anxiety on the round I had had earlier that day.



A prayer about WORTH When I'm trying to measure up

Heavenly Father,
It's hard for me to believe that your approval doesn't depend on what I do. I can get so caught up in the experience of serving you that I lose sight of the greatest privilege of all-knowing you and being known by you. May I never forget that having my name registered as a citizen of heaven means that I belong, without question, to your eternal Kingdom. Thank you, Lord! Nothing else I do on earth can compare with that privilege or joy. Free me from the trap of basing my identity and self-worth on my performance. I rejoice that my worth is based solely on your unconditional love.






How awesome is that? Completely turned my day around when I read it.

"Free me from the trap of basing my identity and self-worth on my performance."

If you are anything like me, then you have suffered from this so-called trap. In fact, I greatly suffered from it after losing my first match at the US Women's Amateur a couple of days ago. Although it never feels good to lose, this loss really got to me; it lowered my confidence. Coming off the loss, all I felt was embarrassed. I was more worried about how people were going to see how badly I lost, and overlook how well I played earlier to get to that position in the first place. I was extremely down on myself. I let my performance overtake my identity. But my performance does not prove my self-worth, it does not shape my identity. How amazing is it that my self worth is not based on my performance on the golf course, but it is SOLELY based on God's unconditional love. Sometimes I get so fearful of not measuring up to what people's expectations are of me, and when I don't play well - I feel like my self-worth is at an all time low. That is when you need to remind yourself that your worth is based off of God's Unconditional love, and no matter how you perform/how you play/what you shoot, it is not going to change the fact that you have someone who loves you - a bad day of golf WILL NOT change that, even if it feels like it will. It won't.

Another thing is you also need to develop your own unconditional love for yourself; that way if your performance is not up to par, you are still content with the day and what has happened, because it is just ONE day of golf. Instead of being hard on yourself, love yourself for fighting through the round, and getting the most out of it that you possibly could have. Love yourself enough to remind yourself that a bad round doesn't take anything away from all the good rounds you have played. Love yourself enough to believe that a bad round does not mean that you are a bad player; it simply means that you are human - and golf is hard, for everyone - even the Pros. Love yourself to know that you are much more than your performance. You are able to take away the positives, and know what you need to do to prepare better for the next round of golf. You have the power to make yourself happy or unhappy. Not events. YOU get to choose which it shall be. That round of golf is over, there is nothing more you can do about it. Focus on the NOW. You are able to choose happiness. I have right now, and I choose to be happy in it.

Always remember that you are worth SO much more and your identity is SO much greater than your performance on the golf course and the score you posted that day.

My motto: God's plan > my plan.

Like Samantha said: "Yes there is no way around the fact that losing is not fun, but it is how you respond to it that makes you a champion."

I'm choosing to respond in a way that will help make me a champion. I'm choosing to love myself unconditionally, just as God loves me unconditionally. I'm choosing to be happy today, and not let my performance reflect on my self-worth and my identity.

So how will you respond?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Who are you playing for?

I was hitting balls on the driving range today when a man brought his two sons that were less than 4 years old. Dragging their two little golf bags up to their spots on the range, they took out their clubs and started hitting ball after ball - not caring about how far or straight the ball went. All they wanted to do was advance the ball, and after each shot they'd shout "Hey dad did you see that one! It went so far!" And far was about 10 feet in front of them, but when you're little - that's like the greatest golf shot ever. I looked at their dad and he said "Sorry for the noise, the littlest one only knows how to say 5 words and they all consist of golf terms." He was the most joyous little boy I had ever seen. "golf! golf! golf!" was all he said the entire time he was out there. You could tell he felt like he was at Disney World or something with how happy he was. That little smile after each ball that he hit 10 feet in front of him was the highlight of his day; and it became mine.

It took me back to the days when I was little, and I would beg my dad to take me out to the golf course. Our countless hours of him teaching me how to swing the golf club - and the excitement of watching the ball get even the slightest bit in the air. Those were the days.

Those were the days. Wait. They still are the days.
Although now the ball goes a little further than 10 feet, and I have started to care more about how far the ball is going and how straight I am hitting it. But they still are and should be 'the days'

All that joy you had when you were little and out there playing, you should still have now. Sometimes I get days where I feel like golf has become 'work' - and the pressure to play well has escalated. I get days where I really hate practicing, and I would rather be anywhere else than on the putting green slaving over 3 footers. Every athlete has a point where they get burnt out, it's at that point where you need to take a step back and remember that this is what you love to do - and being on the golf course is where you love to be. Being on a team, playing with your teammates - whom are my second family - is the highlight of my day. It fires me up and reminds me why I started to love golf in the first place. Seeing their happy faces does influence you and your mindset, and my teammates being in love with golf as much as I am - helps to remind myself of that fire, passion, and love I have for the game of golf. It helps me when I am out practicing slaving over those 3 footers, it gives me the drive to succeed, and it reminds me that golf isn't work, but instead what I love doing.

I am a competitive person, I love the thrill of going head to head with someone, and when I am on the golf course - I compete. I put on my game face, and no matter what - I want to come up on top. But putting this all aside, if I don't win or if I don't compete to the best of my ability - you know what? I am still doing what I love.


I am playing for the 3 year old Alexandra Rossi that went out to the driving range with her dad everyday, just because it was fun to do. I am playing for the 3 year old Alexandra Rossi, because that is when I fell in love with the game of golf. Who are you playing for?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

You're not defined by the score you posted today.

Today I started thinking about all the times I've told myself I was going to "quit" golf. Then I thought about all the times I went to practice or play later that day or the next day. 100%. I'm sure you can count on one hand all the people that have said 'they wanted to quit golf' and actually have - because in reality who would really want to quit something that is so much fun. It challenges you to persevere - it challenges you to deal with negatives and take away positives from it. It is a sport unlike any other, and I have a love hate relationship with it, and it switches back and forth on who loves who and who hates who - but in the end I could consider it the love of my life. And like all relationships - you go through struggles and hardships, but the thing that makes a difference is that you get through them, you keep persevering, and you keep fighting to make yourself better at what you do. In the end you have to remind yourself that golf is just a sport. It is just a game. A hobby. A thing people do. It is not who you are, it does not define you.

From personal experience, I have always struggled with the fact that golf defines who I am and that my score reflects the person I am. But in reality - it is just a score. Golf is hard, people understand that; and it doesn't always go your way on the course. That is golf. That is life. It is how you deal with it that matters. I cannot tell you how many times someone has told me: "Alex, your score doesn't define who you are." or "Alex, golf doesn't define you." It is easier said than done. But I decided to try and explain how I deal with this, and how I realize that I am not defined by what I do.

Rory McIlroy, who just won the The Open Championship, said it best when it comes to myself and my golf game:

"The way I play golf shouldn't determine who I am as a person, that's sort of been the case sometimes this year. I'm very hard on myself and feel like I'm emotionally connected to my golf game. If I play bad, I'll be in a bad mood. If I play well, I'll be in a good mood. Sometimes I feel I need to differentiate that. It's something I feel I've gotten better at and something I need to continue to get better at." 

Rory here basically speaks my mind. I know I am hard on myself, and I have high expectations for myself, and I also am 100% emotionally connected to my golf game, considering I've been swinging a golf club since before I could walk. And although this isn't necessarily always a bad thing, it can become one - and like everything, there needs to be a balance.

Golf is not who I am, it is what I do. I am not the score on my scorecard that I turn in after the round - whether it is good or bad.

How do you drill this into your head so that you believe it each and every single time you play golf? It's hard. It isn't easy, because again I am emotionally attached to my golf game - it is the love of my life. Realization is key - realizing you are more than a sharpied number on a scorecard, or the different stats you have circled on your stat sheet. What helps me realize is my faith in God. My all time favorite quote by Tim Tebow is: "I don't know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future." You might not have played well today, but who knows what God has in store for you the next day, month, year.. etc... Before I played in a qualifier one year for a USGA event, my dad took me aside before I played and said: "God has already determined your score today Alex, now you just have to go out and reveal it." That quote has stuck with me since. How awesome it is for me to know that my score has been determined by someone Higher than me, and a heck of a lot smarter than me; so who am I to question or get angry with the score that God has set for me today. It was my job to go out there and hit the shots and reveal what the score is, and that is what I did - whether good or bad, I completed my task at hand - and that in itself will teach me what I need to work on for the future.

Like Rory states: 'I'm very hard on myself... if i play bad, i'll be in a bad mood. If I play well, I'll be in a good mood.' But why? I understand that when you do not play well, you do not have to be jumping up and down with joy - but why put yourself in a bad mood for the rest of the day. You have the control to realize that the score does not define you, and once you turn in the scorecard - it's over. It's done, and you go out the next day and forget about it, because there isn't anything you can do about it.

In the end golf is just a sport - and something that you GET to do. Like Jim Morris states to Brooks in the movie The Rookie: "Do you know what we get to do today Brooks? We get to play baseball."

So next time you get out before your round, just remind yourself that you GET to play golf, and what could be more fun than doing something that you love.

And remember, you are not defined by the score that you posted today.

Pony Up!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Goals

A month or so ago Coach Sutherland emailed everyone on the team and told us to tell her our goals for the summer - and what we would like to accomplish. 

I thought I would share with you what I wrote just to give you an insight on what my summer has been looking like, and also so I know I will be held accountable by the world since this is now public to anyone who wants to see it :)

I would also like to state that even though these goals are what I am working on this summer, they are also things I will continue to work on even after the summer is over and our season starts. 

This summer I want to accomplish two things. First and foremost my short game. I want to keep developing my chipping / and get to where my up and downs are 75% above every round. I will continue to work around the greens, go out and play and hit different shots so I become comfortable with each shot. I will continue to look at the green, pick the target I want to land the ball at and picture the shot in my mind. I will measure my progress by keeping track of my up and downs throughout each round I play in the summer. I will keep myself accountable, and make sure to get a couple hours of practice in on my short game each day. When I achieve it, it will look like success. It will feel like success. And I will be one step closer to becoming the best I can be. 

My second thing I want to achieve this summer is getting stronger. I am working out at the facility in Austin called train 4 the game. I work out every morning at 7. (Besides Sundays) Working on core / strength to help me get physically ready for the season coming up. I have kept myself accountable doing this, and my coaches at train 4 the game have as well. 

In the next year or two, I want to accomplish a couple of things. First and foremost I want our team to make it to Nationals, compete at Nationals, and win Nationals. I want us to be a contender in every tournament we play throughout the season. This is also my dream for my team and myself. 

Start spreading the news

There's a month left of summer, and an exciting trip still to be taken. Jennifer and I are headed to New York in a week to play in the US Women's Amateur at Nassau Country Club. We both qualified at the qualifier in Dallas. Jennifer took second in the qualifier shooting a nice little 2 under 69 - and I finished T3 shooting 1 under 70. Only 11 players qualified out of the 106 players that tried out - so there was a ton of competition. I am so excited that both Jennifer and I have qualified and I cannot wait to take on New York with her in a week.