TERRE HAUTE —
Shirley Langley had just visited her family in Terre Haute a few weeks earlier.
But when the Florida resident received a plea from her granddaughter, Alexandria Bryant, to help the 15-year-old prepare for the Terre Haute City Junior Golf Tournament this week — Langley couldn’t say no.
On Saturday, the 74-year-old Langley drove nonstop — about 14 hours — from Ormond Beach, Fla. Grandmother and granddaughter practiced Sunday at Rea Park and spent more time on the golf course Monday. The tournament started Tuesday.
“I wanted her to help me practice beforehand so I could at least try to win,” Bryant explained Wednesday.
Langley takes great pride in Bryant’s accomplishments, and the Terre Haute North Vigo junior looks up to her grandmother. The two share a love of golf and a talent for the sport.
Langley became the first African-American woman to win the Terre Haute Women’s City tournament, doing so in 1998. A trophy at the Rea Park clubhouse has her name inscribed on it. That moment was “unbelievable,” Langley recalls. She defeated eight-time winner Nancy Groth.
Bryant appears to be following in her grandmother’s footsteps. She is on the Terre Haute North Vigo High School girls’ golf team and lettered both her freshmen and sophomore years; she is the first African-American on the girls’ golf team there, according to Carolyn Roberts, the Vigo County School Corp. diversity consultant.
Bryant finished second in the girls junior city golf tournament last year in the age 13/14 division.
In asking her grandmother to be present for the tournament, Bryant said, “She helps me out all the time and motivates me to do better,” she said.
Her grandmother introduced her to golf by entering her in The First Tee program several years ago, when Bryant lived in Florida. “I’ve loved it ever since,” Bryant said.
Two years ago, Bryant, her brother, Aaron, and mom, LaDonna Bryant, moved to Terre Haute. “Alex” has been involved in golf and track, student organizations and she’s made top-notch grades.
“Gran,” as Bryant calls her grandmother, is a mentor and role model who has high expectations for her. “OK, Alex, how are those grades?” her grandmother will ask. “Who are we associating with? How is our attitude?”
Langley says seeing her granddaughter do so well “is wonderful. She’s very smart. I want her to accomplish. She has everything in the world laying out here in front of her. She can do it. All she has to do is keep her mind on it and do it.”
A Terre Haute native, Langley was a physical education teacher in Vigo County and later worked at Eli Lilly and Co. for 22 years before retiring to Florida. “I’ve always loved sports,” she said. As an adult, she played fast pitch softball for many years until a motorcycle accident forced her to give up that sport.
She then tried golf and “the bug hit me. … Whenever I go into something, I just — boom — I go at it all the way,” she said. “In Florida, I eat, sleep and pretty much golf.”
On Thursday morning, before the tournament play began, Bryant warmed up and practiced her golf strokes under her grandmother’s tutelage. “I was trying to get her to check her lineup and her stance,” Langley said. “Her drives were beautiful.”
She tells Alex to “remember to have fun. Don’t get down on yourself.” She also tells her: “Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Play the course like you know it needs to be played.”
Once play began, she could cheer her granddaughter on — but she couldn’t coach or offer advice. “Good luck, break a leg, as they say,” she told her granddaughter.
It’s tough to just sit back and watch, Langley said. “It’s nerve-wracking. … I feel her pain when things don’t go right, but I’m happy for her when it goes well.”
Bryant said her future goals include playing golf at the college level and possibly studying medicine. She’d like to attend Florida State University in Tallahassee — just a few hours from Langley.
Bryant’s strategy Thursday was to “stay calm, keep my head down and putt well.”
Langley’s mentoring and Bryant’s efforts were a winning combination — Bryant placed first in the 15 to 17 age group in the junior city tournament.
LaDonna Bryant, Langley’s daughter and Alexandria’s mother, said Langley “has always been supportive. It gives Alex that edge having that support here.”
LaDonna Bryant said her mother had her take golf lessons, too, “But I don’t love it as much as they do,” she said.
She joined her family to watch tournament play at Rea Park.
Abe Nasser Jr., North’s golf coach, said Alexandria Bryant is a talented golfer who has “tremendous potential.” He credits Langley with helping Bryant improve her game.
“I can see a huge improvement this year,” Nasser said. “I wish her grandmother was here every day.”
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
Shirley Langley had just visited her family in Terre Haute a few weeks earlier.
- Local & Bistate
Purdue shooting leaves one person dead
A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.
Vigo County high school team in FIRST Robotics’ Crossroads Regional
Drivers of remote-controlled robots will match skills, similar to those used in basketball and soccer, to score in the FIRST Robotics’ Crossroads Regional on the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs
Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.
Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.
We enter the deep freeze again
If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.
Levy redirects school funds
If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.
School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana
School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.
VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board
Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.
Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase
After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.
Benefit planned for daycare fire victim
Veronica Gray never met 19-month-old Emma Lloyd, but when she learned about the child’s tragic death in a Sullivan day care fire, she had to do something.
Winter’s costs add up for Vigo
While still within county and city budgets, the snowstorms of January and February were more costly than a year ago.
Mayor Bennett threatens veto of consultant funding
Mayor Duke Bennett is threatening to veto a measure before the Terre Haute City Council that would transfer money into the council’s budget allowing the body to again hire a financial consultant.
Semitrailer fire slows eastbound traffic on Interstate 70
Traffic on Interstate 70 was slowed Thursday afternoon by a semitrailer fire just east of Terre Haute.
Tests show Skittles had no unusual chemicals
The Indiana State Health Department has given Skittles a clean bill of health.
No problems reported in early 10-digit phone dialing
Just be grateful you (probably) aren’t using a rotary telephone these days.
Cloverdale woman sentenced to 10 years in molestation/neglect case
A Cloverdale woman received a 10-year prison sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to child molesting and neglect of a defendant in Vigo Superior Court 3.
Youth orchestra performs March 9
Crossroads of America Youth Orchestra will present its "Spring" concert from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 9, in Central Presbyterian Church at 125 N. Seventh St.
Gun stolen by Dillinger gang returning to Nortern Indiana
AUBURN, Ind. (AP) — The FBI plans to return a .45-caliber Thompson submachine gun stolen by members of the John Dillinger gang from a northeastern Indiana police station to the department.
Indiana workplace safety agency addressing issues
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman says the agency has cooperated fully with federal investigators who found the agency mishandled complaints, put its inspectors under strict time constraints and didn’t help whistleblowers.
IHSAA looks into complaint of racial behavior
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana High School Athletic Association is investigating complaints that students engaged in racially charged behavior at a girls high school basketball semistate game.
Indianapolis police ID man officers fatally shot
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis police have released the name of a man fatally shot by officers after he allegedly opened fire and wounded four SWAT officers serving a warrant.
Indiana lawmakers approve police education bill
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New standards for police cultural sensitivity training and reporting of bullying-related suicides could become law pending the governor’s approval.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 6, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.
College students spend alternative spring break helping in Vigo County
Pruning in the orchard and preparing plants for the garden has been part of the experience for a group of Minnesota students who are spending this week as an alternative spring break at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
MARK BENNETT: How you approach the day will influence if you are a ‘morning person’
I can still see the stacks of coins, 40 cents in each, arranged on the dining room table.
Area Plan Department considering raising fees
The Vigo County Area Planning Department is exploring the possibility of raising the fees for its services.
Tuesday night crash leads to arrest on drug charges
A Terre Haute man was arrested on drug-related charges after a one-car accident Tuesday night in Clay County.
Clock ticking on downtown TIF district
The sun is setting on Terre Haute’s downtown tax increment finance district, which city economic development officials say has been crucial to downtown revitalization, following action this week from the Indiana General Assembly.
Lay pastor files guilty plea in child sex case
A Terre Haute man has pleaded guilty to seven felonies in connection with a child molestation that allegedly involved the man’s wife as well.
Man gets 1 year probation for child, animal neglect
A Vigo County man has been sentenced to one year on formal probation after pleading guilty to housing children and animals in a filthy house.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Purdue shooting leaves one person dead