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Experience Is An Arc

Big Break Atlantis player Shannon Fish
Getty Images
ARDMORE, PA - SEPTEMBER 12: Adam Mitchell of the USA (left) with his playing partner Cameron Tringale on the 3rd tee during the morning foursome matches on the East Course at Merion Golf Club on September 12, 2009 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)  - 

My adventure on Big Break Atlantis was breath taking, frightening, thrilling and overall, simply wonderful. Participating in Big Break was an enormous undertaking that frequently leaves me speechless when people ask me what the experience was like. Frankly, it was unlike anything I have ever experienced and will quite possibly remain in a category all by itself for the rest of my life.

I cannot recall an event, golf or not, in my brief 23 years that has evoked loads of emotions in such a fleeting amount of time. Confusion, uncertainty, exhilaration, frustration, dejection all overcame me in just a few days. I am certain, however, that I would by no means trade my time in Atlantis for anything.

Other than coming away from Big Break with 11 new friends and a recent appreciation for those who have dedicated their time putting together and producing a reality show, I gained a heightened admiration for the importance of the saying, “Take one shot at a time.” I have realized that cliches become cliches because 99% of the time they are 100% true. You might think that focusing for 18 holes is a daunting task, but trying to take the focus of 18 holes and put it into one shot left me with an unnerving force I wasn’t sure how to handle.

Henry B. Adams once said, “All experience is an arc to build upon.” This quote has continually become more and more meaningful and relevant to my career as a professional golfer since Big Break. Although I left Paradise Island with a crushing feeling of letdown, I realized that I learned two significant lessons: I could turn my perceived failure into a positive and use it as fuel toward a successful season and that pressure is a self induced form of temporary imagination. I intend to use these two priceless lessons as building blocks to continue developing and strengthening my mental stamina for the rest of my competitive career.

Life after Big Break has been a whirlwind, but trying to balance a competitive career and quasi-celebrity status has been an exciting undertaking. I’ve been blessed to receive letters and messages with incredible words of encouragement and inspiration from friends, family and complete strangers. These days I try not to dwell on my early exit from the show. The past, however, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. This summer I plan to play some state open championships, sprinkled in with a few Symetra Tour events and hopefully end up at LPGA Qualifying School in Daytona Beach, Florida in the fall, but ultimately I hope and believe that at the end of the day I just happen to be in the right place and right time.

Shannon Fish