How do you react when you have a bad day?

How do you react when you have a bad day?

A Letter to Cadet Ontiveros After State Golf Competition

Dear Cadet Ontiveros,

You are one of the most outstanding golfers we have had at Missouri Military Academy in recent years. You always shoot well. But on May 13, 2024, the first day of the two-day Missouri state high school golf competition at Paradise Point Club in Smithville, your nerves got to you, and you did not hit the ball well.

Golf is like baseball. You have to hit the ball well to succeed. Just because the golf ball doesn’t move doesn’t mean that it is easier than baseball. There’s a mental aspect that you must overcome, and when you have a bad day, it makes it that much harder to come back the next one.

But you did.

On day two of the competition, you were at the driving range at 6 a.m., preparing yourself to get back out there and do your best.

A couple of other golfers also shot poorly on day one, and they didn’t come back. They withdrew, knowing they didn’t have a chance of placing well. You, however, never quit.

When I saw you hit your last ball of the day on day one, I knew you weren’t done. You hit the ball within 4 feet of the cup and then made the putt. You walked off, shaking your head, because you and I both know that’s how you play golf.

Missouri Military Academy high school cadet puts on the golf green

You were ranked nearly dead last going into day two. When I was 18, I probably would have thrown my clubs if I had a day like you did. Instead, you finished strong, came back on day two and shot one of the best rounds of the day.

I am so proud of you for not quitting — for coming back mentally, carrying yourself with pride, and representing Missouri Military Academy with honor.

There were 93 golfers on the 7200-yard course for the state competition. You rose to almost 50th place on day two, a tremendous comeback after that terrible first day.

You played holes 10 through 18 on day two at a plus 3. You shot a 39, and you finished 76th overall.I couldn’t be prouder of you for your performance and the mental tenacity that you demonstrated. Knowing how to play golf is nice, but your resilience, confidence and determination is what will truly ensure you succeed in life, beyond the golf green.

That kind of grit is what we want every cadet to walk away from MMA with, and I’m so proud to see that you have learned more than academics while at the Academy. A few days after the state tournament, watching you graduate high school with your MMA brothers, I was even more proud, knowing the kind of young man you are, on and off the athletic field.

Thank you for being a prime example of what it means to be a Missouri Military Academy graduate. I wish you all best. I know you will go far.


Brian Meny, MMA Athletic Director



Below, MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret), recognizes Cadet Gabriel Ontiveros for his senior high school year golf accomplishments.

Missouri Military Academy senior high school Cadet Ontiveros with President Richard V. Geraci



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