Athlete of the Week

When I was a sophomore in high school, our school's athletic director said something to me along the lines of "I have decided that you are going to play on the golf team" to which I responded with something like "that's really funny." To which he responded with something like "nope. Serious about this." To which I probably responded with laughter at such a ridiculous idea.
So I ended up on the golf team.
I’ve never been known for my athletic prowess. Sports and I are like oil and water- we can exist near each other nicely, but the mixture isn’t really ever going to happen. So, obviously, I spent two years playing on the varsity golf team.
I went to a tiny high school --  less than 200 kids in the entire high school tiny. My graduating class was 42, and all the senior girls were in a single health class. I’m well aware that my high school experience was more than a little atypical. That meant that sometimes the athletic director could get a ridiculous idea in his head- say, me, playing golf, on a team... and it would actually happen.
My golf skills were vaguely passable. I wasn’t good but I could get by. The way that our league’s matches worked was that each team would put up 6 players- ranked in skill order, and each of those players would have a direct opponent from the opposite team. The two players would compete for the entire course. A point would be awarded to the player in each pair who won the front nine, who won the back nine, and who had the lowest score overall. I played in a few matches, always in  the number six spot.  Of course.
My school's athletic director and I. He calls me his favorite Pelavin.
My brother does not appreciate it even a little.
One of  my matches  against a Jewish day school in the area.   
I was in the sixth spot, of course, and up against a guy who warned me from the get-go that no matter how far we were in the course, he needed to leave at 6 pm so he could get to Hebrew school on time. I nodded, and went along with it- we were almost always done by six; I didn’t see why it would be a big deal.
So we’re somewhere around the 7th hole when the kid starts panicking. By the 8th he’s throwing a fit. By the 10th hole, he’s gone.
I was confused. I wasn’t well versed in golf etiquette, and I definitely hadn’t gotten the lesson on what to do when your partner just leaves halfway through the match. We had been paired with the number fives from each team, so I just stuck with them and kept playing by myself. It’s not like I had anything better to do.
What this meant, of course, was that I technically won my match. Like, in the purest sense of technicality. Winning because your opponent leaves still counts as a win on the score sheet.
I mostly thought it was kind of funny. A weird story to tell about how the only way I can win is if I am literally playing against no one. But the school athletic director was overjoyed.
He decided that my ridiculous win- the only win for my team that day, sadly enough- was a lesson in perseverance and determination.  He was so proud that he, non-ironically, made me Athlete of the Week. He stuck my picture up on a bulletin board with a write up of the match and everything.
He was right.  That’s clearly the key to winning—perseverance and determination. That and the other guy leaving.   

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