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Port Orange Observer Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2018 5 months ago

To young athletes: Start early, play often

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You never know what you're capable of until you try it.
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

I recently had the pleasure of teaching the game of golf — the sport I love most in this world — to two of the sons of my editor, Brian McMillan.

The eldest boy wanted to try out for Matanzas High School’s golf team once he entered ninth grade. He’d never really touched a club before. I had a golf club in my hand from the time I could walk (no, really). I learned the game from my father, a Class-A PGA professional, and I currently maintain a plus-3 handicap (that’s three below scratch for those of you who are unfamiliar with the handicap system). So, I offered my services.

We met at Palm Harbor Golf Club on the morning of Saturday, April 7, and beat balls for about an hour. I showed them — to the best of my abilities — the proper grip, takeaway, down swing and finish.

And at least for the older of the two boys, there were some promising results. For someone who’d only ever hit Wiffle balls in his life and had never had any real instruction, his swing showed promise; flaws that needed to be worked out, but promise.

I went home thinking: What if he had started playing earlier in his life? What if he actually dedicated himself to practicing and competing? How good could he be?

Now, I’m not saying playing at the professional level is likely. That’s not the reality in any sport. But the chances of attaining some success in sports should logically increase if you starting playing, seriously playing, at a younger age.

I must point out, you should only play a sport(s) if you want to, and you should only dedicate yourself if you love it.

But if you find that you do have that passion, that inner-drive, here’s some advice: Start early in your life and play as often as possible. You never know what you’re capable of until you try it.

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