Their chances of catching up to their opponents were slim to none, yet Yash Trivedi and his teammate, Special Olympics athlete Tyler Lagasse, hadn’t given up just yet. Down two holes going into the seventh, they were cautiously optimistic about catching up to their competition on the Stripes team. Then, after a little pep talk and preparation, the unthinkable happened. The underdog Stars team ended up winning the next three holes, clinching their match and holding off a charge from the Stripes.
The last week in June, men and women from around the country convened at the Club at Creighton Farms in Aldie, Virginia, to participate in a friendly golf competition. Differences might have brought this group of teenagers, wounded veterans and individuals with mental disabilities together, but the Stars and Stripes teams quickly discovered that they shared a common goal: unifying and inspiring those around them.
This is the precisely the objective of Perfect Sense’s annual Unified Challenge: to bridge the gap between differences and cultivate meaningful relationships with new friends from a variety of backgrounds. Established in 2013, the week-long event combines championship-level golf with unique learning opportunities, uniting top golfers from The First Tee, Special Olympics and Feherty’s Troops First Foundation.
Photos From the 2019 Perfect Sense Unified Challenge
A total of 42 players participated in the 7th Annual Unified Challenge, including 18 youth from The First Tee, 12 wounded veterans hailing from across the country, and 12 Special Olympics athletes.
Upon arrival on Sunday, the group was welcomed by a picnic and team-building exercises. The next day, participants toured D.C., where they visited the U.S. Capitol, the National Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and Arlington National Cemetery, before finishing off the evening with a walking tour of the monuments.
Every time I come to the DC area, I’m reminded of how special this nation is. It’s practically the center of the world because people from all walks of life come to this city to experience America. I’m reminded that it’s the people who built this nation. I feel grateful that I live in a country where you can accomplish anything no matter your limitations.
Tuesday kicked off the Ryder Cup-style team tournament, where the Stars and Stripes left everything on the course. By Wednesday, the tournament had concluded, and the Stars team emerged victorious (34 to 26). Though the tournament came to an end, the golf (and fun) didn’t stop there. The teams traveled to Topgolf that evening where they enjoyed a celebratory dinner, bonding over the week’s memorable moments on the green, as well as new friendships forged.
“I was incredibly humbled by the resilience of the kids from The First Tee. They were warriors in the heat, and never stopped laughing the entire time. You could hear them, holes away, cheering each other on. Their bond is as solid as ours, and the future of the game is well in hand. These young leaders will continue to motivate and take us into the future.
The group concluded their trip on Thursday with a visit to Perfect Sense’s headquarters. The First Tee athletes and Special Olympians learned more about the company and its mission, while also looking toward the future and exploring possible career paths.
Perfect Sense and Inspire Confidence
Perfect Sense was founded with giving back to its community core to its mission. Through ongoing, concrete actions, our mission aims to get our employees off the sidelines to join hand-in-hand in bringing joy to the lives of others, while gaining a greater understanding of our community.
In the spirit of giving back, we created Inspire Confidence, a site powered by Brightspot and published by Perfect Sense. By putting a spotlight on individuals courageously making a difference in their communities, boldly taking chances where others don’t, pushing boundaries in innovation, advocating for the environment, and persevering in the face of adversity, we hope our readers will be inspired to make a difference, as well.