Being a Pro Athlete is glamorous and it means fame and wealth... For a few.
As with so many things, it is great getting to the top, but what about the road to success? Today we share stories of athletes, both Longwood Alumni, who gave it a go to play professionally after college.
Out of the rough
4-time All-American and 3-time Division II National Golf Champion, Longwood Alumni, Charlaine Hirst had her eye on becoming a professional golfer.
After graduation, Charlaine headed to “Q” school with a lot of confidence and hope qualify for a spot playing on the LPGA. Unfortunately she couldn’t claim one of the spots she needed and ended up scrambling around trying to stay in the US, but also scraping enough money together to play tournaments and survive.
She started a journey playing 9 seasons in the Futures tour, always going back to Q-school, trying to get the elusive LPGA tour card she was after, coming very close every time; but never quite closing the deal.
One highlight for Charlaine was qualifying for and playing in the US open, and she remembers getting the royal treatment for a week, being spoiled with a courtesy car and all the trappings of professional golfing. She had one amazing shot which led to the biggest moment of her life, getting out of the notorious rough at the US open, which earned her the adoration of the crowd. And who better to share this moment with than her caddy, and husband, Jay?
Today she has her own golf instruction school and looks back with no regrets.
Listen to "Prove it"
Zack, former Longwood soccer star had always wanted to play professional soccer and spent his high school and college career trying to figure out how he would do this.
Even though he had no guaranteed spot, and had to play to qualify for a team in one of the 6 divisions of German soccer league, he headed over to Germany to give it a shot. Four try-outs, and nerve wrecking waiting game between each ended up with Zack being placed in the 4th division.
He had accomplished his goal and was signed on to the team, and he gave it his best; capitalizing on every opportunity to score and play well and being aggressive in all his endeavours. For this, he became known as the American bruiser.
Zack’s dreams of playing professional soccer ended in an epiphany on the soccer field just before the end of the. This was the moment he knew it was not the right move for him and pursue other opportunities.
He firmly believes in giving every opportunity a thorough try and his advice to all: To keep assessing whether you are still doing everything to keep moving forward. If not, re-assess and keep doing this in figuring out where you need to be.
What will your story look like if you give it your best shot?
In this episode, you'll hear:
- The heartbreaks and successes you don't hear on ESPN
- How to find a future after you're no longer in the public eye
- The travels from Farmville to national success - how Longwood got them there