With our high school golf team halfway through its second PSAL season, we checked in with freshman Jaden Jackson about the team’s first victory, what it’s like to play on the team, and how lessons learned in our after school program have made an impact during matches. (Jaden is the lefty in the video above.)
What has being on the team meant to you?
We all knew each other before we started playing as a team, but it feels like we have become closer because we support each other whether we’re down or up. It’s made us more united.
Can you think of specific examples?
In the match we won against Community Health Academy, Josiah hit a bad shot off the first tee, but everyone said it’s going to be OK, you’re going to do well and you’re going to win this match. And he did!
What non-golf lessons from the after school program have made an impact on you as a team member?
Some lessons from character education, and some of what I’ve learned about how to present myself. When we make presentations in character ed and other projects, we have to be put together and focused. I’ve used that in golf. You can’t be wild, and you have to dress for the weather and have your shoes right. It’s also influenced me with my opponents. For example, when the other team makes a bad shot, you can’t laugh.
Which characteristic that you’ve studied in character education has been the most valuable for golf, and why?
Grit. When I hit a bad shot, I have to stay on it. I know that one shot is not going to be everything for my match. I just have to keep grinding and get better.
The team is made up of freshman and sophomores. How far do you think you can go before you’re done with high school?
We’re just getting started. I’m a freshman playing varsity, and I feel like we can go far. We’re trying to win the PSAL by the time we graduate. I feel like once I’m a junior and this year’s sophomores are seniors, we could win the PSAL championship.
What was it like when you went back to school after winning your first match? Were your Eagle Academy peers aware of your win?
My teammates and I were hyping it up before the match, and the next day people were asking if we won, and we were like, “yeah.” For them it’s kind of weird because they don’t play golf, so it’s weird for us to play and be good at it, but they still support us.
Is there one player on the team who stands out to you as a leader?
Zion is a leader because he sets an example and gets us all together and gets our minds straight.
Beyond swing tips, what advice have you gotten from your golf coaches?
Mainly strategy. Since the PSAL is all match play, if you have one bad hole, it doesn’t really matter that much. No one is looking closely at scores, so Coach Randy said to just forget bad holes and focus on the next one.
What has been your best moment with the golf team so far?
When I won my first match, but also encouraging my teammates because I know that they get nervous, and I can help calm them down. I just tell them, “you got this,” and when it’s my turn I take my own advice.