Beyond the game: Maty Monzingo, sophomore golfer

By: 

Sports Reporter

Maty Monzingo, sophomore, looked back, and her father was gone. Life as she knew it had changed.

While Monzingo was on the golf range her father, Lynn, was being rushed to the nearest hospital.

“Something wasn’t the same about my dad,” Monzingo said. “I remember he wasn’t able to balance, and when I would ask him a question, he would slur his words. I knew something was wrong.”

Prior to her third shot of the 18th hole, Maty glanced back and watched as Lynn fell to the ground in a fairway.

Maty went back to the green to start her second round of the Jim West Challenge, trying not to stress herself out.

After the tournament, the doctors informed her Lynn was suffering from a stroke.

Lynn went from walking with Maty to every hole to lying in a hospital bed. He was confined to a wheelchair after the stroke.

“My father couldn’t walk,” Maty said. “His speech had changed, and he just wasn’t his normal self.”

Maty was in a state of shock. She would go to class but not be mentally present. Her dad was continually on her mind.

Her grades suffered. Maty had trouble listening in class because she was constantly worrying about the health of her father.

Maty’s grades were good enough for her to play golf. However, they were not good enough for her liking. Not maintaining a high grade point average weighed on her heart.

Maty described her father’s placement in the Intensive Care Unit as the hardest thing she has endured.

“When we got there, his speech was normal, but his words were mumbled,” Maty said.

The family did not realize Lynn could not walk until he was released from the ICU. They tried to help him up, but he could not move.

Lynn was relocated to a rehab facility in New Braunfels after spending a week and a half in the ICU. He remained there for two months before being placed in the personal care of his wife, Margaret.

“It takes a mentally strong person to be a personal nurse,” Maty said. “Watching her care for my dad inspires me daily (and) makes me wish I could be half the woman she is.”

Lynn’s basic motor skills were not high enough for him to leave rehab.  His diet was limited to pudding and soft food.

“My daughter has grown into a strong young woman who is not letting the adversity of her father’s situation keep her down,” said Margaret Monzingo, Maty’s mother. “Instead she is learning to put her father’s condition into perspective.”

A year later, Lynn’s motor skills have improved. Walking remains his ultimate goal.

Maty is aware she cannot predict her father’s abilities. She makes a point of calling her dad every day to make sure he is staying strong.

“He’s been such a great golf influence in my life,” Maty said. “I definitely want to do good not only for myself but also for him. I just want him to continue to work really hard so he can regain his strength to walk 18 holes at my next tournament.”

Lynn introduced Maty to golf at the age of seven. Maty loved the thought of being with her dad.

Maty’s dad was formerly an assistant golf coach at Oklahoma, so the expectations placed on her were higher than average

Lynn saw potential for Maty to become a great golfer as she reached her teenage years. What began as a recreational activity between father and daughter turned into a legitimate collegiate option.  

“Growing up focusing strictly on golf gave me a little attitude,” Maty said. “That made my dad and I butt heads a lot. Like everyone my age, I just wanted to be a kid. The pressure of being great at golf made it very hard for me to do so.”

Maty’s ability to develop a normal social life was limited as she improved on the golf course. 

“During my younger years, I had the tendency to mope about continuously being at the golf range because I just wanted to be normal,” Maty said. “My dad saw in me the opportunity to make a way of life playing golf.”

The bond between Maty and Coach Mike Akers was strengthened as she juggled golf, school and worrying about her father simultaneously. 

“I have been coaching 19 years, and Maty is the most talented golfer I have ever coached,” Akers said. “She can definitely play at the next level if she continues to put in the time and effort.”

Maty is maintaining perspective more than a year after the incident.

“Having my father as my role model pushes me to do better every day,” Maty said. “I know now that the only way to make him proud is to go and successfully get my dreams accomplished.” 

 

Follow Delisha Mims on Twitter @_DeeJernigan