November 27, 2021

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Only The Finest Women

Meet the 63-year-old college athlete with a killer golf swing

She enjoys her historical past lessons but struggles with figures, a issue she phone calls the “bane of [her] existence.” She just declared a major — interdisciplinary research — and spends a great deal of her time off-campus researching. And when class runs around, she scrambles to swap shoes, grab her golf bag and head to the environmentally friendly to be part of her teammates in women’s golfing — her most loved part of the working day.

But just one particular calendar year before, she had been fretting that she would not suit in among classmates some 40 many years young.

Blount is a 63-yr-aged sophomore at Georgia’s Reinhardt University and a beloved member of the women’s golfing group. She’s acquired a several decades on most of her classmates, instructors and head coaches, but they never see her as a motherly or grandmotherly figure. Instead, they see her as a pal, a purpose design and a trusted teammate with an exceptionally straight push.

As a single of the oldest student athletes in the US, her pals phone her “Ancient Eagle,” just after Reinhardt’s mascot. “Historical” could be a gross exaggeration of Blount’s age, but she likes to imagine she imparts some knowledge on her young teammates.

“It can be a recreation, we are in this together … we are really fortunate to do this,” she said of the things she retains in brain whilst taking part in. “There are a large amount extra severe matters in existence than playing golf, and I consider they are buying up on some of it.”

She pursued university golf right after her husband’s death

College wasn’t in the playing cards for Blount when she graduated from significant university in 1976. Her moms and dads nudged her toward starting to be an X-ray technician, telling her it would be a stable occupation. They were being ideal, she mentioned, while she had a hunch she would’ve designed a fantastic P.E. teacher, as well.

But ahead of she set her intellect on turning into an X-ray tech, she mentioned the chance of college with a assistance counselor, who advised only a person university — Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia, not significantly from wherever Blount grew up.

“Reinhardt was generally in the back of my head,” she explained.

Golfing, in the beginning, was not. Blount to start with got onto a golfing program at age 33 — just after she met her husband, Ben. Her partner beloved the recreation, and she wished to shell out a lot more time with him, so she picked up golfing as a passion. But Blount, at any time the athlete, felt herself get a “little pushed.” She built up for dropped time with continuous apply, eventually competing in some nearby championships. Golf grew to become element of her weekly plan.

When her husband died soon after a a long time-lengthy illness, she moved to Vail, Colorado, to educate skiing full-time. But when her father died a handful of months soon after her partner, she identified herself rudderless.

“I was a very little bit lost,” she said.

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Right after their deaths, she came throughout a 1970s yearbook from Reinhardt College, wherever her husband’s mother had labored at a dorm — a further signal “calling to Reinhardt,” she stated.

“I observed myself on the lookout by way of all those yearbooks, wanting to know if it would’ve been me.”

In the meantime, her golf video game was receiving stale. She shed a championship competing towards her buddies at her golfing club. She asked a young caddy at her club the place he played. Reinhardt College, he advised her.

There it is yet again,” Blount thought.

The concept of starting up university at 62 was daunting at first. Blount wasn’t guaranteed if she could maintain up with complete-time lessons — but “the golfing was contacting,” she said, so immediately after meeting with a Reinhardt mentor and demonstrating off her competencies, she committed herself to starting over as a higher education freshman.

Blount is a full-time student, and spends many of her mornings in class.

She’s been with the staff now for a yr. Whilst it would be easy to complain about her packed school agenda or the get-togethers she’s canceled after a lengthy working day of exercise, Blount said she’s just grateful for the possibility — a person she gained with skill and grit.

“I am receiving to are living the aspiration,” she mentioned. “I search about listed here and I are unable to consider I get to do it.”

She fits in with her younger teammates

Throughout a current Monday afternoon observe at the driving variety, Blount was relaxed and giddy with her teammates, all of them in their late teens or very early 20s. She created them giggle and cheered them on (at a golf-ideal quantity). “The girls,” as she calls her more youthful teammates, regarded what matching components they’ll wear to their up coming match.

“We are gettin’ sharp,” she explained of her swing at a single point. “But my past name’s Blount, I won’t be able to be sharp.”

Blount skipped a putt during a drill, shrugging it off with a smile. She thinks beneficial imagining is the vital to success, but perhaps she wasn’t wondering positively plenty of for that putt.

She talks about her more youthful teammates with the exact effusive love she takes advantage of when she talks about her expensive close friends at her golfing club. Blount hardly ever had young children, but she explained remaining about the group of shut-knit youthful ladies so often exhibits her what it may have been like to have a daughter all over their age. Their mother and father produce Blount notes, thanking her for the “knowledge” she’s brought to their team, she said.

Blount (left) supports her teammates during putting practice.

Blount mentioned she was frightened she “wouldn’t provide just about anything to the workforce,” but these fears were unfounded. Lauren Welte, a participant Blount praised as an impressive chief, reported the 63-12 months-old is an “unbelievable” addition to the workforce. Welte wasn’t originally thrilled about playing together with a sexagenarian, but after trudging via 18 holes alongside one another in the pouring rain — their first time assembly — she was entirely bought.

Various folks have various will take on what would make Blount these kinds of an vital member of the Reinhardt staff. Expertise-clever, however she will not deliver the ball really as significantly as her teammates on her first perform, Blount “hits it the straightest out of all of us,” Welte said, and generally shoots in the mid-80s.

Evans Nichols, the 26-calendar year-aged head coach of the women’s golf team, praised the “excellent electricity” she delivers to the crew, a residing reminder that “golfing is a lifelong sport.” And when youthful gamers may well lash out following a terrible engage in, Blount is a symbol of steadiness, said Monthly bill Popp, Reinhardt’s vice president for enrollment and athletics, a position model for students who haven’t honed their emotional game but.

Motivating the young women on her workforce to increase their game has provided her an concept of what she’ll do when she graduates. While she might continue to “trip off into the sunset” with her boyfriend and “do the retirement game,” she thinks she’ll in all probability finish up coaching young men and women — probably as a graduate assistant at Reinhardt.

For now, though, she’s wondering about the limited-expression: She’s just been nominated for homecoming queen. She’s by now recruited the women to assistance her come across a gown for the event, a request they happily accepted.