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Sue Gober Headshot

When It Pays to Think Inside the Box

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Last summer my granddaughter, Brooke, played in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina. It is by invitation only to golfers around the world ages 7-12 years old and is played early in August. Brooke played in the 9-year-old girls division, and that meant nine holes each day for three days in a row. She shot 40 and 39 the first two days and those scores placed her approximately 20th out of 65 players.

On the third day of the tournament Brooke felt no pressure because she was most likely out of the running to win her division. So she just went out to enjoy the round and the new friends she had met during the week. Here's a brief recap of what happened:

Hole number one - Birdie
Hole number two - Birdie
Hole number three - Birdie
Hole number four - Par

Then we noticed the restroom, so Brooke's entourage of followers headed that way. Brooke walked toward us and only nodded in our direction as she approached the restroom about the same time. No words were exchanged... just a nod of recognition.

Hole number five - Birdie
Hole number six- Bogey
Hole number seven- Bogey
Hole number eight - Bogey
Hole number nine - Par

Yes... Brooke shot 35, one under par, for her third round and ended up tied for 8th in the 9-year-old girls division, 2013 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. Not bad, not bad at all! We were thrilled!

When Brooke walked off the golf course, big sister Peyton said, "Hey Brooke, you wouldn't even speak to us when we saw you at the restroom. Why didn't you stop and talk to us?"

Brooke replied:

I was in my box. Dad says when I am playing I should stay in my box. It might be distracting if I stopped and talked to all of you and looked at all the snacks you just bought from the cart girl. So I just pay no attention to what is going on around me, and it helps me to stay focused on my game.

"In My Box"... Those three little words have stayed fresh in my mind since last summer. I have often related Brooke's ability to focus to my own ability to "stay in my box" when appropriate. I know I need more practice to master that skill, but I keep thinking about the great lesson she taught all of us that hot day last summer in Pinehurst.

July is upon us and the U.S. Kids golf tournament is just around the corner. We plan to attend and cheer Brooke on as she competes in the 10-year-old girls division. As a 10-year-old competitor, Brooke will play 18 holes each day for three days in a row. That sounds like a tall order to me for any 10-year-old, but I have no doubt that Brooke is up to the challenge. After all, her box will be there for her, ready and waiting.

She has mastered the art of "staying in the box." Have you?