Halladay White is a golfer and a swimmer from Area 6 – Maury County and is coming off her best round of golf that she can remember playing, and it was at the regional competition in Smyrna.
“I think I did better today than I have ever done in golf, shooting a 56,” White said, “Usually, I get around a 70.”
A big stroke difference like that is nothing to scoff at, and White was teaming with so much joy as she told me her score that I couldn’t help but match the size of her smile on my own face. As White started to elaborate on her journey playing the sport of golf, I started to understand more about why this was such a big day for her.
“One of my family members played golf and I wanted to try, and then I found out they had a skills program here [in Middle Tennesee],” said White. “It took me almost five years to get out of skills, but it was worth it. I had fun learning.”
White also expounded on that, saying that the skills helped her learn and practice all kinds of shots and strokes. She is thankful for her extended time in the skills program to be able to golf the way she does now.
As it turns out, golf also isn’t the only sport that White competes in at a high level; in fact, she admitted that it isn’t even her favorite sport which makes her story and performance that much more impressive.
White says that swimming is actually her favorite sport, which makes a lot of sense considering she has been nominated to represent Tennessee at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin in June 2023 for swimming. She says finding out that she was selected to go was an amazing moment.
“I may have started crying a little bit,” White said with a wide beaming smile stretched across her face. “I’m super super super super extremely, extremely excited!!!”
White went on to say that she found out a couple of weeks ago at an event, and she still can't totally wrap her head around it yet. She says her best and favorite strokes are breaststroke and freestyle, which she hopes are the strokes she is able to compete in at the World Games.
This also won’t be White’s first time going out of the state to compete in events, as she went down to Orlando for the USA Games this past summer for bowling.
“I like bowling, but it isn’t my strong suit,” White said. “However, the experience was awesome, I met so many new friends down there.” White isn’t the only one to have said this about Orlando either. It seems like overall the USA Games was a rousing success, especially among all the athletes that competed.
White also expressed her thankfulness and appreciation for Special Olympics as a whole, and she prefaced this by saying she has been a part of Special Olympics for over ten years.
“I like how they help you no matter what,” White said, referring to Special Olympics. “They’ve helped me come out of my shell big time. Before I didn’t like talking to people because it would make me nervous.”
I wouldn’t have known that she used to be nervous while talking to her. She had seemingly no hesitation to talk and answer questions or reveal that she might have been even a tad nervous, and that is not only a testament to what she said about Special Olympics but also a testament to White’s dedication to toning down her nervousness in public settings because it isn’t something that is super easy to do.
White says she has competed in flag football, golf, swimming, baseball, skiing, and soccer while also having tried out volleyball and snowboarding. She says that the biggest thing to remember when competing in events like those is to stay calm and “have fun."