Students video-chat with Annika Sorenstam

10/5/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

As part of the prize that Buffalo Jones Elementary School won in the National Healthy School Makeover Contest a few months ago, golf legend Annika Sorenstam chatted with students via video Friday afternoon, encouraging them to be healthy and to follow their dreams.

"When you play golf, it's not just about hitting some balls and making some putts. You have to make sure that you eat right, make sure that you drink the right things," Sorenstam told the students. "You're doing a fantastic job of being healthy and the things you put in your stomach and leading a healthy life, right?"

All of the students answered with a collective and enthusiastic "yes."

Sorenstam told the students that they should also stay away from certain types of food and drinks.

"You don't want to drink a lot of sodas, a lot of drinks with sugar in it. You want to drink some water, because you want to make sure you're body is getting hydrated so you can do well in sports and activities and things you want to do," she said. "Even a pro golfer, you have to think about every little detail, so you can perform at a higher level."

Third-grade teacher Kerri Steelman, who submitted the video on behalf of Buffalo Jones Elementary that ultimately won the National Healthy School Makeover Contest, said the students did some research on Sorenstam prior to Friday's video chat.

"For the past week, we've been showing them videos and reading them different stories about Annika so they could know who they were going to talk to," Steelman said.

Sorenstam broke numerous records on the LPGA Tour in her 15-year career, had 89 worldwide victories, including 72 on the LPGA, 10 of which were majors. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.

Sorenstam also shared what she did to become a golfing success with the kids.

"When I grew up, I played all kinds of sports. I played tennis, I played soccer, I played volleyball, I played golf," she said. "And when I was 16 years old, I decided it was golf that I wanted to play, so I stopped all the other sports and I just started to focus on golf."

A group of kids from kindergarten through fourth grade also took turns asking the golf great their own questions.

"Would you like your kids to be a pro golfer like you," 10-year-old Tyler Patterson asked.

Sorenstam answered by saying that she has already exposed them to a number of different sports, such as swimming, gymnastics, golf and tennis. She then turned the table on Tyler and asked what sports he is involved in.

"I like basketball, soccer, baseball and that's really all I've tried," he said.

Eleven-year-old Myalee Duran, asked Sorenstam how she accomplished all of her dreams.

"I have accomplished every dream when it becomes to being a professional golfer, but when it comes to dreams in life, I hope to have more time to achieve those," she said. "I think that's a very good question. All of you should have dreams, all of you should have a vision of what you want to do with your life and work very hard toward that, because there's nothing better than when you achieve a goal or a dream and they all come true."

Nine-year-old Chelsea Valadez asked Sorenstam, "I want to ask you how you feel selling so many products and still being famous and not playing golf anymore?"

Sorenstam told Chelsea that she enjoys doing a number of things.

"I have a little slogan that says, 'share my passion,' so I share everything that I enjoy doing and some of that is some products like you mentioned. So I don't consider myself as famous. I'm just a young lady doing what I love to do everyday," she said.

Steelman said the students came up with their own questions.

"The classes got together and some of the kids wrote their questions for homework and some of them voted on the best question as a whole class," she said.

Students held up two large banners for Sorenstam that said, 'We love you, Annika,' in both Spanish and English.

"That's very sweet. I appreciate it. You made my day, everybody," she said.

After the chat, 8-year-old Esmeralda Reyes said of Sorenstam, "I think that she's a really great golfer and she's nice and she's a generous person."

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