COLLEGE ESSAY: Avery Maier to attend Dartmouth

Avery Maier

Every year, the Scroll publishes a series of college essays written by the graduating seniors. This is the college essay of Avery Maier, who will be attending Dartmouth College this fall.

By Avery Maier ’13, Co-Editor-in-Chief

You know you’ve become a true golfer when you cry because of a bad round. Not a misty-eyed kind of cry, but a full-out sobbing kind of cry—usually in the run-down bathroom of a public course with the coach of your team rival outside the stall asking if you’re okay. This moment tests your dedication to a sport in which you attempt to swing a thin metal pole at a tiny white ball.

I arrived at the 2011 Sectional Tournament clad in my standard attire: sleeveless

polo shirt, lucky socks, and pink Lilly Pulitzer jacket. My stomach hurt because, like usual, I had eaten too much at the team breakfast: seven pancakes and a vanilla milkshake (I’m a 115-pound girl with the diet of a 300-pound man). Despite the stomach ache, I eagerly stepped up to the first tee box, placed my white Nike ball on a tee, and then swung. Thus began what would be the longest round of my life.

On the seventh hole I lost my composure. My tee shot had landed only 40 yards from the green, and I simply needed to chip over a small pond. I instead hit three balls into the water, which left me with a score of 11—7 over par and the worst hole of my life. Then the crying began. The sleeve of my jacket became covered in salty tears as I tried to wipe away the evidence, but the sniffs were audible, and I knew my eyes were red. My fear of crying in public is even greater than my fear of spiders, so after finishing the ninth hole, I ran to the bathroom, desperately trying to avoid a public meltdown.

While the thought of staying in the paper-strewn stall was appalling, so was facing the looming back 9. It was up to me to decide whether I wanted to wallow in self-pity and continue to play poorly, or move past the front nine and play the way I knew I could. I couldn’t let my team down, so I wiped the remaining tears away with my damp sleeve, ate my fill of Lays potato chips, and walked back onto the course determined to put the past 9 holes behind me. I was not going to finish with the score I wanted, but I was going to make the best of the holes I had left. My back nine improved by 11 strokes, and for the first time in school history my team qualified for the District Tournament.

My golf coach always jokes that the only middle-age adults afflicted with any form of self-loathing are drug addicts and golfers. Even after hours upon hours of practice, golfers never have a perfect round. There is always the putt that skims the edge of the hole; the chip that lands left of the pin; the shot that hits five trees and a squirrel. That golf can never be perfect has been a difficult lesson for me to learn.

Since that day at Sectionals, golf has become my lifestyle. This past summer I spent every day drenched in the Cincinnati humidity playing a round with my friends. Despite spending hours on the course, I never tired of hitting the tiny white ball (or searching for it in the surrounding woods). Like most teenagers, I spend Friday nights at the bar, but it’s at a country club with an Arnold Palmer in hand and middle-age ladies by my side. We discuss our round, and all its imperfections. Then we happily arrange our next tee time.