Inspired by PGA Golf Tour participation, Lansing’s Griffin Polley wins poetry contest
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (July 31, 2020) – As Carrie Steinweg reported last August, TF South senior Griffin Polley was chosen as a patient ambassador to represent Shriners Hospitals for Children in their PGA Tour event in Las Vegas last October. This was an exceptional honor, and a particular thrill for Polley, who in pre-COVID days played on TF South’s golf team.
Being selected as an ambassador, with opportunities to mingle with professional golfers, gave Polley a lot to think about. Diagnosed at the age of 2 with diplegic cerebral palsy (CP), much of his life has been shaped by doctor appointments, therapy sessions, braces, injections, and other treatments. While CP is part of his identity, he doesn’t want it to define him.
Polley also enjoys writing, so following his selection as an ambassador, he processed his thoughts in a poem he titled “My Gift.”
Ever since I was born I had a big flawThat changed my life into one big seesaw
Out of the womb I came, feeling different than the other kids
My mom helped me out as much as she could
I was just a little boy, full of youthful purity and innocence
She wanted it to be normal, give a normal childhood
But it was never normal, a monster named CP they called it
It seized my legs and dragged me down into its vicious, monstrous pit
For years I sat down in that pit, wondering if I was good enough
Was I worth the trouble and effort to risk saving?
Was I going to be liked by everyone else, or was I going to be alone?
Then one day, it hit me like a bolt of lightning straight to the head
My legs don’t define me, that’s what I should’ve known
What’s the point of living, if you’re acting like you’re dead?
I rose up, but these chains kept me held down.
I know that I could be the king of my very own stage, wearing my own crown
It doesn’t matter what I’m labeled by, I’m the one in control
I have my own dreams, hopes and one true goal
To make others proud and be happy with what I have done
If God gave me this gift, I can do anything and feel like a champion.
The poem was published this month (July 2020) in an anthology of winning entries selected by the American High School Poets of Faith and Inspiration.
- Lansing teen chosen as Shriners ambassador at upcoming PGA Tour (August 2019 article)
- Poem by high school golfer with disability recognized in national poetry contest (article in Shriners Hospital for Children July newsletter)