“He didn’t just give them clubs; he gave them everything — balls, shoes, hats, towels, gloves,” said Cyprus athletic director Erin Tanner. “I could not believe the quality and quantity of what he donated.”
Tanner said the Pirates, like many schools, have had trouble retaining female golfers because they do not own their own clubs and sharing is difficult.
“What’s important to us is the fact that he gave five girls the chance to compete this year, who otherwise would not have participated,” said Tanner.
One of those is Alma Bramudez, a junior who doesn’t play any other sport. She said she wouldn’t have answered the call to come out for golf if the school hadn’t offered her a set of clubs.
“I thought it would be something new, something fun to try,” she said, as she and her teammates prepared to compete in a region tournament last week. Added her friend Yadira Martinez, “I like golf. It’s not easy. Everyone thinks it’s boring, but it’s actually really hard to get used to.” She also said she’d have been intimidated to start a new sport without the proper equipment. Now both girls say they plan to continue golfing.
The donations didn’t just help the girls who received new clubs. It helped those girls who desperately wanted teammates and success for themselves.
“My freshman year, I was by myself a lot, and that was really sad,” said Marin Easton, a junior. “I couldn’t find a ride home, we’d forfeit every time; it’s just so much more fun this year.”
The girls were shocked when the coach showed them the clubs that were donated, but maybe more shocked when they were told the equipment was theirs to keep.
“It was a big surprise," said Tiara Price, who’d borrowed her uncle’s clubs last year. “It was really nice. It makes a big difference because now we have more girls. It makes a big difference if you can’t afford to buy clubs, that someone would donate them to you.”
All of the girls said it’s made a huge difference in how well they play.
“We can play more because we don’t have to share one set now,” Price said. “It was difficult last year, and it really didn’t work well. A lot of girls started, but just dropped because they didn’t have clubs.”
Tanner said she’s grateful to Peterson for his efforts on behalf of the girls, but also to all of those who donated equipment.
“It is really amazing,” said Tanner. “We’re just so grateful to everyone who donated. I don’t play golf, but I see the positive impact it has made to even just a few kids at our school.”
Studies have consistently shown that participating in activities and athletics helps students achieve higher grades, as well.
Peterson is an honor student (3.97 GPA) who will attend — and golf at — Westminster College next year. He said sports are much more than a distraction for high school students.
“I don’t know how my life would be without sports,” he said. “All of my friends are from baseball, basketball and golf. It honestly kept me getting good grades because I wanted to play college sports,” he said. “I knew I needed to get good grades to do that. It kept me out of trouble for sure, not only with my parents, but I didn’t want to let my team down or my school down. I wanted to make everyone proud.”
Peterson puts his hands in his pockets and smiles when asked how he feels about giving so many girls the chance to experience a little of what he has enjoyed as a high school athlete.
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