A family is said to be a support system that encourages and shapes a person into the best they can be.
The golf team at the University of La Verne is often described as a family, with its ability to shape athletes into their full potential, and it is this family that contributed to the success of two talented golfers this season.
The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, named Rizal Amin, junior movement and sports science major as the 2008 All-SCIAC athlete of the year, and Kevin Smith, freshman business major, as the freshman of the year.
Both players said that their success would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of their team members and coach.
“I’ve been very blessed with this team,” Amin said. “We all push each other and are supportive of one another and without my teammates and my coach I would not be where I am today.”
The Temecula resident speaks modestly of his accomplishment and contributes his success not only to his own abilities, but to the encouragement of his team and his family.
He said that his favorite part of being on the golf team at ULV is the people on the team that he comes in contact with.
Amin’s father is also in the golf business, and he has trained him since he was seven to be the best golf player he can be.
“My mom and my dad have really inspired me,” Amin said. “They’ve given me a good work ethic and taught me that I have to work hard to achieve what I want.”
His strong work ethic and selfless personality are what Amin’s fellow teammates and coach admire most about him.
“My favorite thing about Rizal is his great attitude,” said men’s golf coach Rex Huigens. “He’s a great team player and he has this awesome work ethic that gives him a desire to be a better golfer.”
The team contributes their success to Amin’s positive attitude and encouragement both on and off the course.
“Rizal is a very consistent player with one of the most solid games out there,” said Chris Davis, senior psychology major and fellow team member. “He always lightens the mood, no matter the situation, and he has really been a key part of our success this season.”
Despite these kind words, Amin does not get a big head, and instead says that he hopes to impact the team by encouraging them all to work hard to reach their full potential.
It is this positive attitude that not only earned Amin the title of athlete of the year, but also the Jesse Clark Sportsmanship Award for the 2008 season.
Another asset to the ULV men’s golf team is freshman of the year Kevin Smith, an Upland resident who has been playing golf since he was three.
Smith grew up playing sports and said that he is passionate about athletics since they were such a big part of his life.
His main inspiration in his life is his father who has encouraged him from day one to be his best.
“My dad is a huge motivator in my life,” Smith said. “He believes in my ability sometimes even more than I do.”
With his humble attitude and notable sportsmanship, Smith said that he cannot take all of the credit for his award.
He contributes his achievement to the great team he had and the players and coach that brought him this far.
“Everyone got along really well this year, and that’s part of the reason why we all did so well,” Smith said. “I’m honored to have this title, but the other freshman player was just as good as me.”
According to his teammates, Smith is not only a good supporter of the team, but he is also a talented player on the course.
“Kevin (Smith) is always there to give us a solid score when we need it,” Davis said. “He is such a consistent player. A few good rounds didn’t get him that honor; he got it because he played well all year.”
Although Smith is a talented player, he still is able to maintain his modest personality.
He admits that he does not think he needs to influence his team members because they are all great players.
“They are all just as good, if not better than myself,” Smith said. “If anything, they influence me to do better.”
With their modest attitudes and encouraging contributions, Amin and Smith have earned their personal achievements as well as their team’s pride and respect.
“It is these guys that make me look good, and I’m thrilled that they are here,” Huigens said.
Natalie Croyt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.