By Jethro Swain

Tolf is back, and, yet again, better than ever.

We’re coming off of another record breaking season where the boys took home OES’ first ever golf league title (the banner now hangs in the gym above the water fountain) as well as the highest team finish at state at 4th place. Except this year, Tolf is even stronger because the girls team has constructed a squad of stars as well.

Freshmen Anna L. and Lexi R. have arrived and given the girls the depth that they were missing last year in a fifth team member. With returners Lucy H., Rhea M., and captain Clem D., the girls recently won their first match as a team since I’ve been in high school, and Anna took home first place individually with a score of 81, picking up right where Jane left off at the end of last year. There are rumors that coach Kyle Kuchs almost gave Anna a two-stroke penalty for trying to spark some of his hilarious banter when he approached Anna as she was making her way down the fairway and said, “Hey Anna, why’d the chicken cross the road?” These rumors couldn’t be confirmed though, and Anna escaped unscathed.

Having only lost one senior in Josh, the boys are returning a full roster full of studs including My Man Willy Acks, Big Man Alden F., Little Man Luke S., The Man Daniel P., and Sometimes There Man Louis R. Last week we took down our rivals Portland Adventist in a District Qualifier after some big performances by Alden and Will who both shot an 80 and tied for second (although for the record books Alden won the tiebreaker and Will was pissed). Luke also posted a good score of 89 while battling a fever that was growing at an exponentially bad rate and playing with someone from Vernonia who was throwing his club farther than he was hitting his ball.

What I’ve realized over four years of being of the golf team though is that not a lot of people know what we do, where we go, and generally what it’s like. To help with this, I’ve attached a short video of our trip to Bend trip to this article to try and give everyone a sense of what being a part of Tolf is like.

The other thing I’ve realized is how much school the golf team misses, and how much the faculty are aware of it. “My experience over the last couple of years has been that golf team members miss more class, maybe not more individual days, but larger chunks of days, than other teams do…It’s a concern given the Upper School’s statement in the Handbook about the number of absences, excused or unexcused, after which a teacher can assign make-up work or drop a grade- another point you could clarify for students,” said english teacher Debby Schauffler.

The golf team has definitely been on the radar of teachers for years now and is a topic of conversation among faculty and administration alike in meetings, and has been something that members of the golf team have been battling constantly throughout each season. I myself have sent many emails over the course of my golf career, but this year I’ve done significantly worse at communicating and I would like to take this space to apologize to my second semester teachers.

But like any other large form of absences, “Some students handle it better than others,” said Bevin Daglen. “When the student is gone it doesn’t affect the classroom that much, unless we’re doing a lab maybe.” Different from english or history classes, where a lot of the learning comes from discussion and analyzing texts inside the classroom, science and math classes are less dependent on classroom discussion. “Some students who have difficulties communicating and making up work should consider if golf is right for them, but if the student can handle it I think it’s a great sport,” said Bevin.

It’s definitely tough balancing school and athletics in any sport, but being a student-athlete in golf is particularly difficult. For me and all of my teammates however, its worth it to be on OES’ best and most flourishing sports team… don’t @ me.

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