Meet the 63-year-old college athlete with a killer golf swing

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She enjoys her history classes, but struggles with statistics, a subject she calls “the bane”. [her] existence.” She just announced a major — interdisciplinary study — and spends most of her time studying off-campus. And when class is over, she scrambles to change shoes, grabs her golf bag And heads to the green to join her teammates in women’s golf — her favorite part of the day.

But just a year ago, she was teasing that she wouldn’t fit in among classmates about 40 years younger.

Blount is a 63-year-old student from Georgia Reinhardt University And a dear member of the women’s golf team. She’s got a few decades on most of her classmates, coaches, and head coaches, but they don’t see her as a matriarch or a grandmother. Instead, they see him as a friend, a role model, and a reliable teammate with an exceptionally straight drive.
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As one of the oldest student athletes in America, his friends refer to him as the “Ancient Eagle” after Reinhardt’s mascot. “Ancient” may be a gross exaggeration of Blount’s age, but she likes to think that she imparts some wisdom to her younger peers.

“It’s a game, we’re in this together … we’re really lucky to have this,” she said of the things she keeps in mind while playing. “There are a lot more serious things in life than just playing golf, and I think they’re taking some of it up.”

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She pursued college golf after the death of her husband.

College was not in the cards for Blount when he graduated from high school in 1976. Her parents pointed her towards becoming an X-ray technician, telling her it would be a steady career. They were right, she said, although she had a hunch, she could also make a good PE teacher.

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But before she set her mind on becoming an X-ray tech, she discussed the prospect of college with a guidance counselor who suggested only one school—Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia, where Blount grew up.

“Reinhardt was always in the back of my mind,” she said.

Golf, initially, was not. Blount came to the golf course for the first time at the age of 33 – after meeting her husband Ben. Her husband loved sports, and wanted to spend more time with him, so she chose golf as a hobby. But Blount, once an athlete, found himself feeling “a little inspired”. She made up for lost time with constant practice, eventually competing in a few local championships. Golf became a part of his weekly routine.

When her husband died after a year-long illness, she moved to Vail, Colorado, to teach skiing full time. But when her father died a few months after her husband, she found herself rudderless.

“I was a little lost,” she said.

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After his death, she received a 1970s yearbook from Reinhardt University, where her husband’s mother had worked in a dormitory—another sign “calling Reinhardt,” she said.

“I found myself looking through those yearbooks, wondering if it would have been me.”

Meanwhile, his golf game was getting stale. She lost a championship while competing against her friends at her golf club. He asked a young caddy at his club where he plays. Reinhardt University, they told him.

there it is again,” thought Blount.

The idea of ​​starting school at 62 was daunting at first. Blount wasn’t sure she could keep up with full-time classes—but “golf was calling,” she said, so after meeting with a Reinhardt coach and showing off her skills, she decided to start herself as a college student. committed to fresher

Blount is a full-time student, and spends many of her mornings in class.

He has been with the team for a year now. While it would be easy to complain about her packed school schedule or her canceled get-together after a long day’s practice, Blount said she’s grateful for the opportunity—one she earned with skill and patience.

“I am getting to live the dream,” she said. “I look around here and I can’t believe I get to do this.”

she fits in with her younger peers

During a recent Monday afternoon practice at the driving range, Blount was relaxed and dizzy with his peers, all of them in their late teens or early 20s. He made them laugh and amused them (in golf-appropriate amounts). The “girls,” as she calls her younger teammates, consider what matching accessories they’ll wear to their next tournament.

“We’re getting faster,” he said of his swing at one point. “But my last name is Blount, I can’t be Spicy

Blount missed a put during a drill, closing it with a smile. She believes that positive thinking is the key to success, but she may not have been thinking positive enough to put that in.

When she talks about her furry friends at her golf club she talks about her young teammates with the same love. Blount never had children, but said that being around a group of close young girls often gave him an idea of ​​what it must have been like to have a daughter around his age. His parents write Blount notes, thanking them for the “wisdom” they brought to their team, she said.

Blount (left) supports his teammates as they practice.

Blount said she feared she “would not bring anything to the team”, but those fears were unfounded. Player Lauren Welte, who praised Blount as an influential leader, said the 63-year-old is an “incredible” addition to the team. Welte wasn’t initially thrilled to play with a sexagenarian, but after crossing 18 holes together in the rain – their first meeting – she was completely sold.

Different people have different opinions on what makes Blount such an important member of the Reinhardt team. Skill-wise, although she doesn’t send the ball quite as far as her teammates in her first game, Blount “hits it the straightest of all of us,” Welte said, and often shoots in the mid-80s. does.

Evans Nichols, 26, head coach of the women’s golf team, praised the “good energy” he brought to the team, which is a lively reminder that “golf is a lifelong sport.” And while young players may drop out after a bad game, Blount is the epitome of stability, said Bill Pop, Reinhardt’s vice president for enrollment and athletics, a role model for students who have not yet honed their emotional game. .

Motivating the young girls on her team to improve their game has given her an idea of ​​what she will do when she graduates. Although she can still “ride into the sunset” with her boyfriend and “do the retirement game,” she thinks she’ll probably be coaching young people—perhaps as a graduate assistant at Reinhardt.

For now, though, she’s thinking about the short term: She’s just been nominated for Homecoming Queen. She has already recruited the girls to help her find an outfit for the event, a request she happily accepted.

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Credit : www.cnn.com

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