Jeff Roope, long-time Marketing Specialist for INFONETICS, recently tried his hand at management of another kind. The opportunity to coach a local high school girls golf team was too good to pass up. Creative scheduling at INFONETICS allowed Jeff to flex his schedule, so he could “scratch his itch”. Here, Jeff tells his story….
As a lifelong athlete and someone who had previously worked in the athletic industry, I’ve always felt the need to stay active in the world of sports on a level a bit more involved than just a casual fan. In particular, I tried to stay in touch with the game of golf for which I have a dogged passion. So when presented with the chance to take a part-time job coaching girls high school golf this past Fall, you can imagine how quickly I jumped at the opportunity!
Or can you?
After all, we’re talking about high school girls here. What does a guy 14 years removed from high school know about dealing with teenage girls? I don’t listen to Britney Spears, I don’t know a thing about prom dresses, and I don’t make a habit of noticing the cute boys in high school. Did I really think that I could pull that off? Would they even listen to me when it came to golf? What did I have to lose? Absolutely nothing.
So, with the blessing of INFONETICS, I decided to give it a shot, and boy was I glad that I did! What an absolute thrill coaching the girls became! First off, I had the chance to coach at one of the finest schools academically and athletically in Ohio, Upper Arlington High School. For those who recognize the name Jack Nicklaus, that’s where he went to high school. Upper Arlington in a fairly affluent suburb of Columbus, so much so that when I was a student at another local high school we used to refer to them as “Uppity” Arlington as we considered them a bit snobbish. It just goes to show you how much you really know in high school, as my girls turned out to be 16 of the nicest girls that you ever want to meet. One advantage they do have, thanks to their comfortable surroundings, is that while learning the game of golf most of these girls have grown up with their own private instructors. Thankfully, that meant that they knew the power of instruction, so when I had the chance to offer my input they actually listened.
Success on the course proved to be the product of their hard work, dedication, and willingness to play as a team. We won one of our three tournaments, finished third in two others, and won the Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League (MOGGL) championship in a league comprised of 14 teams. As a direct result of the girls’ triumphs, I was honored as the MOGGL Coach of the Year in my rookie season and many of the girls received individual recognition.
After it was all said and done, I wouldn’t trade the experience I had coaching the girls for most anything in the world. It was by far and away one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a long time. By the way, I found out that the girls listen to Nelly and not Britney, I now know all about homecoming dresses, and I definitely know who some of the cutest guys are in school according to my girls. Can you tell our bus rides sparked some interesting conversations???
Jeff has already started on the defense of their title as practice for the 2003-04 Upper Arlington High School girls golf team started back up this month. Good luck to Jeff and his team!