Last night at our year-end golf banquet, I tried to make a speech about just how much my coaches and teammates have meant to me over the years, but I wasn’t able to finish because I got so emotional thinking about all that we have been through together. So, I wanted to take this chance to write out what I couldn’t say.
Coach, Kevin, Mark, Laura, Mariana, Sierra, Marissa, Allison, Emily, Michelle, Olafia, Greta, Erica, Hop, Toni, Jen, Ines and Anna,
Growing up as an only child who moved a lot, I was nervous about going off to college because I had formed such a close relationship with both of my parents. I was looking for a place that would become my new home, and where my team could become my family. This was my ideal situation, but I never really thought that such a place existed. And then I found Wake Forest.
I remember the day that Coach came to watch me play at the North South Junior at Pinehurst. Most people would have been nervous to see the coach of such an incredible university following them for 18 holes, but instead I felt very calm. I had already visited the campus and had fallen in love with the small southern school with a big school feel. So when she offered me a spot on her team that day at Pinehurst, I was sold.
What I didn’t know at that time was that my golf career would be plagued by constant illness throughout my freshmen year, a fractured foot my sophomore year, and surgery my junior year. Needless to say, I was never able to fully compete as a collegiate athlete with my teammates.
When I tell my collegiate golf story to other athletes, they expect me to next say that my coach kicked me off the team and I lost touch with all of my teammates because we had nothing in common anymore. But what they don’t realize is that Coach and Kevin created something with our team that far exceeds what happens on the golf course.
We are a family.
I want to say thank you to my coaches for giving me the opportunity to be a Demon Deacon. Thank you for believing in Rachael the person, not just Rachael the athlete. Thank you for being my constant source of inspiration and the people I know I can always come to, no matter what. Coaches like you are truly one in a million and I feel so fortunate to have both of you in my life.
And to all of my teammates, past and present, thank you for letting me be a part of your Wake Forest family. Thank you for inspiring me daily with your passion, hard work and smiles. Each of you have touched my life in a special way and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity I was given to get to know you on and off the golf course.
It is sad to think that Mariana and I won’t be here next year, but at the same time, I know we will always be a part of the Wake Forest Golf Family . . . and for that, I am grateful.