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Perseverance by Taryn Yee at Legends and Leaders Dinner

2010 Player, Taryn Yee

Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Courtesy, Judgment, Perseverance


 My name is Taryn Yee, and I am representing The First Tee of Greater Sacramento chapter.  I am 18 years old and have just recited the nine core values of The First Tee.  The First Tee has taught me to take the nine core values and apply them in my daily life.  Due to the limited time I have to speak this evening, I cannot effectively describe all the core values and the impact of each value on my life.  Therefore, today, I am going to speak about the most important value that The First Tee has taught me…to persevere. 

           “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

 I would like to take credit for such an inspirational quote on perseverance, but I cannot plagiarize a President of the United States.  Especially not one who had polio and presided from a wheelchair.  Instead, I must credit Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

 “Perseverance, I say, is opening a door only to find the next one closed.  Open that one and the next one is closed.  But instead of wasting away, discouraged in the dark, you keep opening until you finally see the light.”

 That is how he defined perseverance.

 When I was a sophomore in high school, one my teachers challenged everyone in the class to set a goal.  I selected a goal that was not easily attainable…to play collegiate golf.  In the summer of 2009, I was very frustrated because I realized that my golf skills were not at the level for collegiate golf.  Instead of giving up my goal, I got a new swing coach, took many lessons and spent hours at the driving range perfecting my swing.  Due to my perseverance, I now have a reliable golf swing and will be playing for the University of California, Irvine women’s golf team in the fall 2010.

 However, my struggles or perseverance pale in comparison to the level of perseverance others have had to overcome.

 Perseverance can be found in Phil Michelson, who suspended his season in the PGA tour after his wife, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Eleven months later he came back to win the Masters tournament. 

 It can be found in Tom Watson, whose caddy, Bruce Edwards, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2003.  Mr. Watson fought through criticism of his golf over the years and never gave up.  By his own determination, he became one of golf’s best players.  Not only was he a great player, but he also helped out the community and became a great icon to many people.

 Kyle Lograsso, an 8-year old golfer, who was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma at the age of two.  He had to have his left eye removed and underwent six months of chemotherapy.  He adapted.  Even though he is right-handed, he golfs left to allow him to keep his good eye over the ball during his entire swing.

 Walt Disney, who was turned down 302 times before he received financing for his dream of creating the “Happiest Place on Earth.”  Today, due to his persistence, millions of peoples share in the “joy of Disney.”

 Colonel Sanders, who heard the word “no” 1,009 times before his chicken was accepted once.  Today, KFC is one of the largest fast food franchises in the world. 

 Through these examples of perseverance, I have come to realize the ultimate goal is not to just have fun, become rich and successful or to live happily ever after.  True perseverance is to walk away from peer pressure and to commit even if it goes unnoticed.  I have worked hard on improving my golf skills and yet, I am far from being the next Annika Sorenstam or Michelle Wie…although I have been mistaken to be her.  However, I know that if I continually persevere, it will make a difference in my golf game and in my life.

 If there is one thing that I want you to remember from this speech, it is that if you have a dream, you need to chase it and never take “no” for an answer.  Any person can change history.  You have all the power in the world to make something reality.  This is the true definition of perseverance.

 In closing, I would like to thank The First Tee, Monterey Peninsula Foundation and National Association for Home Care and Hospice for making it possible for me to participate in this week’s golf event.  The First Tee has been a great influence in my life.  The First Tee has not only improved my golfing ability, it has made me a better person and nurtured me to become a future leader through patience, determination, enthusiasm, interpersonal skills and the drive to make a difference.

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