Team of One

FRESNO, Calif.

Every day this past girls golf season, the Fresno Warriors would spend some time warming up on the Fig Garden Driving Range before heading out to play nine holes.

But the Fresno Warriors only had one golfer on the team -- freshman Rory Kelly.

"We were first talking about just playing with the boys. But then [my] grandma says she called and they said just to put us as a single girl," said Kelly.

After more than a decade without a program, Kelly and her volunteer coach, who also happens to be her grandmother, asked school administration to bring it back.

"When I talked to the athletic director he said he truly wanted her to play, and represent the girls team. And she'd be the only one," said Maryann Lopez, Rory's grandmother and coach.

And while Kelly says she gets jealous of the camaraderie she sees from other teams of five or more players, she says the teams she competes against never let her feel like she's alone out on the links.

"Just to be with the team, its helps because you cannot be by yourself and just worry about golf," said Kelly, "You also want to just talk about more than just golf while you're playing. You want to be able to have someone to talk to about other things if you could."

Her grandmother has seen the shy 15-year-old reap the benefits of golfing socially. "Situations on the golf course, she speaks up. About a rule or about a situation. It's really been good for her. I hope it stays where she does it politely!"

Kelly hopes to become a role model of sorts for shy girls all across the Valley looking to take part in an activity. not offered by their school. "You can be the first one. You don't have to follow people to do what you want to do. If it means that you have to be the first one then just do it."

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