Hey guys. It has been a while. I can’t really say why, either, just haven’t had much motivation to write. But last week I saw something that really touched me, and I knew I had to write something about it.
I was working at the store, and the Golf Channel was on, showing the Women’s NCAA Championship. It was during the semi-final matches, pitting Arizona against Stanford for a chance to play for the National Championship.
The first time I saw Haley Moore, I did a double take. She’s a big woman. Even as I type that I realize how awful it sounds. I’ve spent most of my adult life overweight. I’ve always been conscious of it, and have always been concerned with what people thought and said about me. So who am I to say or think anything negative about someone else?
But I wasn’t judging her the way you may think. I suppose more than anything I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I saw how fluid and powerful her golf swing was. She can move the golf club!
As I watched the matches unfold I was struck by the thought that Haley Moore has most likely had to deal with bullies and assholes most of her life. You know kids are the worst when they encounter someone that looks different than them. No doubt she’s had to pretend she didn’t hear the whispers. Certainly she’s felt the stares.
I suppose that I have no right to think or feel these things. How dare I project my feelings on her, right? It’s just that I know how my weight has affected my attitude, my energy, my confidence. And I expect that she has felt the same.
I immediately became the biggest Haley Moore fan that has never met her. I watched with concern and admiration. I pulled for her putts to fall. I was fixed to the TV as much as someone at work could be. When Arizona won the match, I immediately began looking forward to the Finals.
This team was not supposed to be here. They beat #1 UCLA. They beat Stanford 4-1. And heavily favored Alabama awaited. Haley was penciled into the final match, the anchor of a team that had fought through a playoff just to make the final eight.
In the match play format, there are 5 head-to-head matches to decide the winner. Most coaches will put their strongest players out in the first 2 matches and the final match, knowing how important a lead can be – and how monumental that last point is.
These matches played out perfectly – Alabama won 2 of the first four matches – Arizona won 2. All tied up, the entire National Championship came down to the final match: Haley Moore vs. Lakareber Abe. Neither golfer fared well in the stroke play competition. Both carried the pressure and weight of their teammates as they approached the final few holes.
Abe hit an awesome second shot to the Par 5 18th hole to force a playoff. She almost holed out from the bunker on the playoff hole to force Haley to follow suit. But when Abe missed her birdie putt it opened the door for Haley Moore – 4 feet for the National Championship!
I watched the finish three times that day – and each time I teared up. Her teammates rushed onto the green after the putt dropped. Haley began to cry as her team engulfed her in hugs. This girl, so different from the others, but so like them.
That night I imagined Haley posting to her social media accounts – a picture of her smiling ear to ear holding the National Championship trophy giving all her bullies and doubters the middle finger.
I’ve never met Haley Moore, I likely never will. But I became a fan last week, and will continue to cheer her on as she makes her way toward the LPGA Tour.