Isaiah Smith: Living on the Green

Taylor Foote, Views Editor

If you ask an athlete what their sport means to them, the more dedicated among them might respond that it’s a passion. That it drives them to do their best, and that it is something they enjoy deeply. Sports serve as an outlet for many students, pushing them to achieve new peaks and perform better and better each time. The lessons in discipline and dedication aren’t limited to just athletics: those same values can be applied across all facets of life. In fact, sports can encourage student athletes to achieve in more than just their sport. Sophomore Isaiah Smith is one of those students.

Smith is one of the top three golfers in the Illinois Junior Golf Association (IJGA), which has been recognized as THE league on a national scale. The IJGA is a non-profit organization that not only provides youths with playing opportunities in both one day events and championships, but also offers educational clinics and events in addition to serving as an information clearinghouse. He has participated in the Midwest Golf Tour, finishing third out of 150 other competitors from different areas around the Midwestern United States.

Smith first started golfing at age five when his grandfather would sneak him onto the Wedgewood golf course (since he wasn’t old enough at the time). When Smith started running into trouble at school, he looked to golf to help him out of that situation. In order to maintain his eligibility to golf for West, Smith has to keep his grades up, as well as show up to school regularly. So he does just that, using golf as the motivator and reward for his efforts, keeping his grades and attendance up so he can continue to golf on West’s team.

Golf is more than just a sport for Smith. It serves as an inspiration to give his best effort when things get difficult. “Golf is like a lifestyle for me,” says Isaiah, boiling down what the sport means to him. “When stuff gets tough, I want to go golfing.” His grades and attendance have seen phenomenal improvement, thanks to both Smith’s effort, and his desire to play the game he loves. He didn’t play on the team this year, but with the way he has improved he will most likely be playing next year.

Smith has made it his goal to reach that top position in the IJGA, a spot currently held by a senior. Being a sophomore, Smith is in prime position to achieve just that. Golf has brought Smith many meaningful moments as well. Recalling his favorite golf moment, Smith said, “I was on the seventh hole at Inwood, 150 feet out, with the wind in my face. I took a pigeon wedge and I bounced it right in.” Despite this formidable accomplishment, Isaiah says that his short game is his forte. “I know how to work my irons” says Smith, commenting on his ability on the green. Smith plans on attending either a Big Ten or Big East college when the time comes.