Dealing With Challenges by Coach Val Patrick
I consider myself an upbeat, confident, patient and positive person, and I am the “glass is half full” personality. What I have learned over the years about challenges is that they come to us and through us – through many streams and in many ways.
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Growing up for example, at age 15 my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was out of work for over a year. That presented many challenges for a family of seven people to figure out how we were going to survive. Where would we get food if dad wasn’t able to work? How would my mom take care of all of us if my dad did not survive?
I am the oldest of 5, and I had plans to go to college and play on a college [golf] team. No one in my family had gone to college – I was the first. Would I be able to go if my mom needed me? Golf was everything to me – literally. I found myself clinging to my clubs for comfort knowing my dad taught me how to play. What would I do without him?
That was a HUGE challenge and decision facing me, so my dad and I talked a lot. He said he wanted me to go to college and not worry about what was going to happen at home. This was as important for him as it was for me. He is the one that put a club in my hand when I was 8 years old. He wanted to see me play college golf.
Fast forward to High School graduation, soon it would be time for me to leave for college in Miami Florida, a LONG way from home! Dad and I agreed I would go in August. He said this is “YOUR TIME.”
“YOU” have worked so hard for this opportunity, and he was right. Now I had a choice: go or stay home. I wanted to continue to make him proud. And so, it was – I left for Florida driving my car with a friend (because the trip would be too much for him). Saying goodbye was awful. “What if…what if?” kept going through my head. He said “it’s okay – you go play like you know it. Show the other girls on the team that Michigan has good golfers too! Not all good golfers come from Florida!” We laughed and he gave me a big hug. I got in the car (packed with everything it could hold) and while backing out of the driveway, my mom and dad waving, I hoped this would be the scene when I came home for Winter Break – that he would still be around.
It was close to Thanksgiving and mom called “Val, can you come home?” I said “yes.” She said “good, I think your dad needs to see you.”
Back then, flying was a big deal for a kid. I flew from Miami to Detroit, my uncle picked me up and we drove 75 miles to our home in Jackson.
Dad had a million questions and was short on energy. I told him how the college team was doing and how the coach was outstanding. He was happy, that meant everything.
Dealing with challenges: they do not care how old we are, how smart we are, what we are wearing, or who we know. Challenges are opportunities that help us reach deeper within ourselves to bridge relationships or circumstances that are far out of our control. I have learned it is important to have the patience to understand the situation (no matter what it looks like) and negotiate the ‘what-if’ scenarios with other people that may be involved, or at times with your own inner voice. Challenges will always be a way of life, just like what we are all facing now with the monster of all challenges – mitigation of spreading a virus – and it feels like everything has stopped and that time is the force in control, not us.
Stay positive, live positive and face challenges with an open heart and mind. This is my experience: be patient. I practice patience. Breathing exercises and meditation are amazing tools for the heart and mind. When a person has patience – you can overcome challenges.
Patience is a wonderful gift from the universe.
“This is by far my favorite picture. To be standing beside one of the two remaining (living) founders of the LPGA, is such an honor. It’s because of Shirley Spork’s passion, confidence, and perseverance girls and women around the world can be a part of the game of golf!”