Eye On The Birdie – Post #23 Interview With An Intermediate First Tee Participant

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As promised in Post #22, I am continuing my interviews with my younger siblings. This time, I will be interviewing Eagle, my nine-year-old brother and Par level participant. (See the pseudonym? The dear boy is following in my footsteps.) He took this interview very seriously, even commenting at one point, “I’m starting to sound like a commercial, aren’t I?” Maybe he has a talent for making things seem overly pompous and solemn, but he is very truthful and sweet (unless he is jumping onto you in the dark hallway).

The interview got off to a bit of a rough start, as I started recording while Eagle was unavailable and had to restrain my sister and Fore (remember the name from the last post?) from yelling into the speaker. Then I dragged him off to a somewhat secluded spot by his finger. He commented, “Ow. I think you broke my finger.” I didn’t care; I wanted my interview.

Once we actually started, I asked him how long he had been doing First Tee classes. He answered, “Four years.” Then I asked why he started taking First Tee classes. He said it was because his older sister (me) had taken lessons. In his answer, he referred to me by name, and I told him I was not _________ at the time. He told me he was now Eagle. With this out of the way, I was completely out of subject matter. My sister said I should ask him what his favorite dance move was, but we declined. I called in reinforcements in the form of my mom.

Now that she was helping me come up with questions (read: asking the questions) we were ready to begin again. (Anything I do with Eagle usually stops and starts fitfully until someone else steps in.) The first question she came up with was whether the First Tee was more or less fun than he expected. He said it was more fun than he expected, so we asked what made it more fun than he expected. He said, “I was not expecting it to be as welcoming and as good of an environment as it was.”

Then we asked what he thought of the other kids. He said, “I really like them,” with I mild amount of surprise even after four years (he’s never been the most social of us; he’s pretty shy). His shyness is exactly what the subject of the next question was; we asked how he could join the class with confidence despite his timidity. Eagle said it was because of our coach: “…I know he won’t let anybody hurt me or be unfair.” It really is strange that he has this fear of people. I know he didn’t get it from me.

Then I asked if he had a special memory of the First Tee—the same one I asked Fore. I was confident I’d get an answer this time, and I did! Eagle said, “Um… No.” “Nothing?” “No, nothing.” On to the next paragraph!

Of course, he could answer my mother’s question, which was “What opportunities has the First Tee given you that you would not have had otherwise?” He said, “Getting a set of golf clubs, going out and playing golf with my Dad, and spending time out of the house.” At times, both my mother and I were hissing “Junior League! Junior League!” under our breath. He finally got the hint, and added participating on a PGA Junior League team. We then discussed the positive effects of Junior League team, which turned out to include playing at multiple courses and becoming used to a competitive setting. (He is like me in that respect too—we both dislike most forms of competition. It is useful, though.)

Just like we asked Fore, we asked what Eagle’s least favorite part of golf is.  Said he didn’t like how hot it was. Next we asked if golf made him more or less interested in playing other sports, and he said yes. My mom pointed out that she had not asked a yes-or-no question. He clarified that it made him more likely to be interested in other sports because he had more confidence than before he started taking golf lessons.

Then I remembered I hadn’t asked him any questions about the Nine Core Values, so I asked him if he had a favorite value. He said, “No, because I think they’re all equally important.” My mother commented, “Very diplomatic answer to not remembering the Core Values, I like it.” (I don’t know how valid that comment is, but it was funny.) Then I asked him if he felt the Core Values had helped him, and if so, how. He answered, “I feel they have made me more confident and… um… happy with my life, I guess?” (This was when the “sound like a commercial” comment was made.)

We returned to the subject of First Tee classes with “Do you have any favorite activities in the First Tee?” He said he liked all of them equally (ever the diplomat). Then my mom slyly slipped in, “Do you like watching golf on TV?” Eagle does not, apparently, like watching golf on TV. He is also not enthusiastic about practice swing homework, but tolerates it.

Since I really liked having the hypothetical kid conversation with Fore, I asked Eagle the same one: “If a kid your age was to ask you what the First Tee is, what would you say?” The two boys had very different answers; Eagle said, “They’re golf lessons and some other lessons about respect and confidence and other things like that.” I think you can really tell they’re at different ages and levels according to their answers.

The interview was concluded with a few questions about what he saw in his future and his goals and hopes. Eagle says he thinks golf will continue to be a significant part of his life, but he doesn’t plan to make a career out of it. (Just like me! Sorry, Coach.) I don’t think I am a fan of the next question and answer, although his answer was flattering. My mom asked who he would most like to beat at golf, and he said he would like most to beat me. That certainly doesn’t bode well for my oldest sibling supremacy! We also asked him about his thoughts on fundraising. He said, “I like it, and I like anybody who helps the First Tee.”

Eagle is a great example of how a kid can benefit by participating in the First Tee. Comparing his answers to Fore’s shows just how much more a kid can get out of the First Tee by continuing with the program. The boys did start at the same age! Oh dear, now I sound like a commercial! I suppose it’s best to wrap up now, then. Bye!



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