Scott Draper inspires Tenterfield Care Centre gala dinner audience

Tennis/golf pro Scott Draper gave an inspiring speech on dealing with adversity, citing many examples from his personal experiences.
Tennis/golf pro Scott Draper gave an inspiring speech on dealing with adversity, citing many examples from his personal experiences.

Professional tennis and golf player Scott Draper’s stint as guest speaker at Tenterfield Care Centre’s gala dinner left everyone in the room more inspired to pursue their goals, focusing on the process rather than the outcome.

Scott opened his presentation by revisiting his 2003 match against Roger Federer, in which Scott held seven match points. He described how the match points dwindled away until he was beaten, but instead of being devastated he was elated because he knew he had done his best against a superior opponent.

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Federer on the day was ‘too good’, and that went on to inspire the title of Scott’s autobiography. Describing himself as not being particularly talented but working hard to maximise his skills, Scott went on share his simple philosophy of focussing on the process of achieving his aims – the part he has control over – rather than focusing on the outcome over which he has little control.

This was well-illustrated in his bid to achieve accreditation as a golf pro, rising to the top five in the determining golf round only to start looking ahead and fouling up his game. A stern conversation with himself on the way to a sand bunker allowed him to refocus, sink the ball and gain pro status.

On one historic occasion his tennis and golfing careers overlapped, during the 2005 Australian Open/Victorian Open Golf. Assuming he wouldn’t progress far in the tennis tournament as he approached the end of that career, he signed up to play the golf tournament in the second week of the tennis. 

A late withdrawal found him matched up with Sam Stosur in the mixed doubles, the two going on to win the championship. However this was not before some spirited negotiation between the tennis and golf tournament directors to juggle scheduling.

While Scott readily admits this is an adversity he put himself into, he said the right attitude also helps in the unwelcomed adversities, such as when at the age of 25 he lost his first wife to cystic fibrosis, and in overcoming obsessive-compulsive disorder as a teenager.

He likened his work with young OCD sufferers and seeing the impact that one person can make on others’ lives with the impact that Col Mann has made on the Tenterfield aged care sector, and on the community at large.

Scott is very much a fan of ‘putting himself out there’, through tennis, golf, publishing or even singing. Enjoying the process of preparing a singing performance for his wedding to Jess, he went on to participate in It Takes Two partnered with pro Ricki-Lee Coulter, progressing four rounds.

He said he’s a good enough singer to know he’s not good enough, but looks forward to when he has time to take more lessons. 

While he couldn’t be convinced to sing on the night, he has been invited back for a round or two on the ‘quirky’ course at the Tenterfield Golf Club. Scott’s participation in the gala night was due to the happy coincident of his wife Jess working at the tennis academy run by the daughter of TCC’s Rhonda Rovera.

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It’s a coincidence that benefited everyone at the dinner (on the occasion of his and Jess’s 15th wedding anniversary). 

Here is Scott’s full presentation, after an introduction by MC Terry Kneipp.