GOLF IS associated with the wealthy and the privileged and sensational country clubs. Golfers stroll along man-patched grass, sipping on champagne in their matching Lacoste outfit. And these prosperous patricians are most likely world-renowned golfers such as Dorothy Campbell, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Meg Mallon; but who knew that among these admirable golfers would be our very own Shin Ji-yai (Soph., Dept. of Physical Education)?
Shin grabbed her first golf club when she only ten years old. Before her birth, her sports-passionate dad swore that no matter what gender his firstborn would be, no matter what, he would raise his child to be a golfer. Thus, a star was to be raised.
It has been three years since Shin joined other reputable golfers in the pro league. As a rookie she surprised the nation by defeating American Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) star Cristie Kerr in 2006. Then she left the nation in apprehension when she collected twelve top-five finishes and broke Pak Se-ri’s ten-year-old record! Also in the Hill State Seokyung Open in the same year, she won three straight competitions, becoming the first to accomplish that feat on the Korean LPGA since Kim Mi-hyun in the late 1990s. Moreover during 2007, she became the first woman to break \600 million in one season. Shin finished off the year ranking eighth in the world, which makes her the highest-ranked Korean of all time.
Playing golf was not all that fun and easy for Shin. Shin was a pastor’s child at a small church in Jeollado, along with her two siblings. The Shin family was not abundant in their living conditions. Just the fact that they had warm running water and electricity was enough for them. But despite such hardships, there was joy and warmth in their family. However, that soon came to an end when Shin lost her mom four years ago prior to a deadly car accident, leaving her two siblings in extreme injuries. The question of recovery was not even an option at that point; her two siblings were so badly injured that Shin literally moved into the hospital for a year to watch over them. From then on, the Shin family had to live on without one of its members.
When a child loses her or his parent, it is only natural for her or him to feel pain, anger, denial, and endless sadness. Shin’s ability to continue her daily activities became severely limited. Despite her loss, this devastating incident motivated Shin to work even harder to become successful. While she felt obligated to take care of her two younger siblings, she held her head up high and reached for the top—after all, everyone has burdens, what counts is how you deal with them.
Currently, Shin is getting ready for the spring season and is being trained in her hometown Jeollado. She has no regrets about being a golfer, but if she had be one, it would be the fact that she does not get to enjoy college life like other college students. She wants to meet new people, go to classes, and participate in class discussions, but her busy schedule keeps her from being part of the Yonsei community.
After meeting with Shin, I took time out from my busy and demanding lifestyle to tell my mom that I love her. Shin is of a young age, but is mature in terms of life experience. I think we all have something to learn from her lifestyle. Take your adversity, learn from its pain and misfortune, and believe in yourself. Turn adversity into ambition, and let it blossom into prosperity.