A new direction

By October 13, 2017 Ericka K Schneider blog

A New Direction

It has been a while since I last wrote a blog and much has changed in my life since then. I have switched roles from player to coach, moved to a new city and started the next chapter that is the book of my life. I couldn’t be happier with where I currently am in my life and I am excited to tell you all about it.

For the last year I have been fighting with myself about whether playing professionally was really what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. When I really dug deep and asked myself if I was ready to be done playing, more often than not the question was answered with tears and a near nervous breakdown from the thought of hanging up my sticks. Having that reaction to this question told me that I wasn’t ready. But something in me changed later on in my season this year while playing on tour. I can remember the exact moment when I decided I was okay with not playing any more. I was standing in the fairway looking into the trees, as I often did when playing, and was thinking to myself “I don’t want to be here.” It was that moment that I didn’t cry, I didn’t’ have a nervous breakdown and most importantly it didn’t matter to me what other people might have thought of this decision. I knew in that instance that playing golf was always going to be a part of my life but playing professionally wasn’t.

No more than two days after this revelation did I get a text from one of my former college coaches asking me if I was ready to enter the college coaching world because there was an opening at Samford University for the Women’s Head Golf Coach. Sometimes when it’s the right time you know and somehow so does the universe. I applied for the job and was one of two people brought in for the interview. After almost two weeks of waiting for an answer I found out I was not the candidate that they had selected for the job. But the candidate that was selected was the former assistant at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham). So now there was an opening at UAB and of course I applied for that as well. I applied for many coaching jobs, not sure if I would actually land any of them because I had no college coaching experience whatsoever. Everyone knows in today’s working world you need at least 5 years of experience to land an entry level job…ha ha just joking…. but really.

Again I was one of two people selected to be brought in to interview for the job. My interview spanned over two days and at the beginning of the second day Kim, the head coach, offered me the job before the day even started. I immediately told her yes, this was exactly what I wanted to be doing with my life and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Over the past few years’ people have told me every now and again how I would make a good college golf coach. I didn’t think much of it when they mentioned it because my heart and soul was set on playing. But when I really dug deep within myself to think about my years playing I always got more pride out of helping others and doing junior clinics, volunteering at The First Tee and helping with High School golfers than I ever did out of playing. Golf has always been fun for me and it’s been a blessing to get to do the things and travels to some of the places I have been able to go to because of it but I realized that even though I have been playing for so long what really brought me the most joy was helping others with and through the game of golf. So going from player to coach was one of the easiest transitions and decisions I have ever made in my life.

About a week and a half after I accepted the job and riding out Hurricane Irma I packed my things and moved to Birmingham, AL and about 5 days later I was traveling with the team to my first college golf tournament as a coach. It was a really interesting feeling being on the other side of playing but a feeling that also felt very natural to me. I felt at home within myself, being there to help in any way that I could for the girls who needed it, it just felt right, I was exactly where I needed to be.

Since I made the decision to hang up my sticks I have had a lot of people ask me if the it was a hard decision to make and honestly it was an easy one once I was ready to make it. After three years of hard work, some success and many setbacks I got to the point where golf was no longer the game that I was so passionate about, but a job I had to work at. One in which no matter how hard I worked and no matter how much time I put in, the results still might not have showed just how hard I was working. It was hard pouring my heart and soul into something I loved so much and not having the success I had always dreamed of having. But with all of this self-evaluation I realized that my dreams had changed. It was no longer my dream to be on the big stage of golf and the more and more I thought about coaching the more excited I got for what my future would entail. That was when I knew I was making the right decision and couldn’t be more excited for the next chapter of my life.

Golf has taught me much about myself and has helped shape me into the person I am today. Without it I wouldn’t be the Women’s Assistant Golf Coach at UAB or have so many amazing people in my life or wonderful memories to call upon. When I really sit back and think about what I have done in golf in the 12 short years I have been playing I realize just how much I have accomplished. I have done more in my 12 years of golf than most people could ever dream of doing in a lifetime and it is really hard to see that when you have such big dreams. When my dream started to change was the first point in time I could actually see how far I have come and truly how much I have accomplished. I have had so many people supporting me over the years, helping me get from one stepping stone to the next and there are no words I can put together that could ever express the gratitude I feel toward those who have helped me get to where I am today. All I can say is thank you and in my heart thank you will never be enough to show you how thankful I am for each and every one of you who has helped me get to this point in my life.

So Thank You! You know who you are and what kind of an impact you have made on my life. I am able to embark on the next chapter of my life because of YOU.

Here is to the next chapter of my life and helping others determine what their dreams are whether it be within the game of golf or outside of it.

As we say at UAB, Go Blazers!!

ericka

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