‘I don’t want to be beaten’

Shiprock’s Begay uses commitment, dedication to excel in sports, academics

AZTEC

Navajo Times | Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi 
Shiprock High School senior Tanisha Begay watches her golf ball after teeing off during the Aztec Invitational on Monday. Begay is a multi-sport athlete competing in three sports this spring: track and field, golf, and softball.

Just as the spring season began, Tanisha Begay’s parents called for her.

Claudine Begay and Peter Begay Jr. presented her with a schedule that showed when softball games, track meets and golf tournaments were held. They saw an opportunity for her to play the three sports in one season.

At first, she was resistant.

“I don’t like playing softball,” she remembers saying. “I used to play baseball here in Shiprock with the league but that’s just kind where it was.”

But Tanisha Begay couldn’t leave it at that and something inside told her to give it a try.

“I think that’s what drove me the most in my high school career. I wanted to be the best,” she said. “If someone tries to outdo me, it’s hard, mentally it’s like I don’t want to be beaten, that’s just kind of the thing for me.”

Begay is a competitor in the truest sense of the word. She strives to be the best she can be and that’s why the 17-year-old decided to add another sport, making her a five-sport athlete.

Begay started playing basketball when she was four years old. Her parents bought her a basketball goal and her dad taught her to play.

In elementary school, Begay remembers playing with groups of girls who were older than her.

“It was just growing up around my dad and just sharing the love of the game with him and sitting down and having discussion about a bunch of things, situations in games, things like that,” she said. “As the years went on I began to develop a little bit more with my dad alongside me.”

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Categories: Golf

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com.