When he talks about the Salisbury Christian School golf team he’s coached for 10 years, there is distinct pride in Jeff Farace’s voice.
He’s always been proud of the fine, polite ladies and gentlemen, but this year there was more to celebrate when the team won the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference.
“They are a great group of kids. They encouraged each other every step of the way,” said Farace, who owns the local Community Pharmacy.
“Winning on the field was great, but they won with integrity and character. That’s why it was so big to me this year. These kids really honored the Lord in all they did,” Farace said.
He referred to the team Bible verse, Romans 5:3-4, “… we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope.”
“With golf, the thing is, you are sort of out there. You aren’t all alone but you are keeping your own score. You are responsible for doing all of the things that are right, even if someone isn’t watching you. I’ve coached and I’ve seen kids fudge their scores a little bit.
“To me, character isn’t what people think of you but what you are doing when nobody is looking at you,” he said.
So impressive were the Salisbury Christian School golfers that students from competing Worcester Prep in Berlin asked if they could play with them, Farace said, calling them “ambassadors for our schools.”
This year, Salisbury Christian defeated Worcester Prep for the first time.
“We have six people who play, but they only count the top four. At first, we shot a 165 and Worcester Prep shot a 165, so we were tied. The kids realized they could do it. In the next match, we beat Worcester by one point, then we beat them by three, then by 10. We wound up the season at 10-1-1,” Farace said.
“We played hard but each school was really good to play with. The kids really enjoyed playing with each other. We had playoffs at Rum Point and we shot a 164. We were averaging 41 each on nine holes,” he said.
Team members – all boys this year – are in ninth to 12th grades. There were 12 on a team.
Four of them are all-conference. They are Ryan Hannigan, Davey King, Trace Theofiles and David Ferace, the coach’s 17-year-old son, who called the victory “incredible.”
“Last year I would not have said I thought we would win, but this year at the beginning of the year, we came out much stronger and I had a feeling something good was going to happen,” said David, who started golfing six years ago.
“A lot of us in general got better over the summer and we continued to practice because we had each other’s backs and we wanted to see each other succeed,” he said.
“It’s a very individual sport but we cheered each other on. We had a really good team spirit,” David said.
Hannigan was player of the year.
When he was a boy wrestling and playing baseball, Farace said, he considered golf just a hobby, not a serious sport. But as he coached and watched the young golfers mature, he said he realized the benefits of the game, especially since they can participate for life.
“These kids worked all year but really started on Aug. 15. That’s when we started practicing. A couple of them play year-round. Some switch to baseball and golf,” the elder Farace said.
“They really learned how to keep their cool under pressure and develop honesty, integrity and perseverance,” he said.
“It’s pretty neat to watch them grow up and see the life lessons they learn through sports.”
Reach Susan Canfora at email@example.com.