The inspired, inspiring
A sophomore at Georgia Institute of Technology, Christopher McCrary is paving the way for the next generation
September 04, 2020
By Jamie Handy, PGATOUR.COM
- September 04, 2020
- Christopher McCrary is focused on architectural studies at Georgia Tech.
For Christopher McCrary, laying the foundation to success for those who are following him is what drives him to continue being a prominent leader in his community.
“Because of the path (others helped) line up for me, it definitely made my accomplishments easier to reach,” said McCrary, “and that motivates me to get involved and to give back.”
And one of the many ways he gives back – volunteering.
The influence started with Christopher’s parents – who were highly involved in giving back to their community, as well as leaders from organizations such as the First Tee, the Drew Charter School and the YMCA – who served as “role models” and “leaders by example” in McCrary’s life.
“My parents have done a lot of community service, especially with my mom at the East Lake Foundation, where she’ll organize service events for The Villages of East Lake,” said McCrary.
Inspired by watching his parents give back to a place they call home, McCrary now follows in their footsteps and has started to get involved with the East Lake Foundation and with the TOUR Championship. Christopher has volunteered with the tournament several times in different roles over the last few years.
It was in 2015 when he first had the opportunity to volunteer at the TOUR Championship, the final event of the FedExCup Playoffs, as an on-course reporter through the First Tee of Metro Atlanta.
“The different interactions I got to see between the players and the fans, to going into the media center and being at a conference table with a player just really intrigued me to come back and volunteer,” said McCrary.
Captivated by his first-year experience, McCrary decided to come back in 2016 (then a sophomore in high school) to take on more responsibility and work as a standard bearer inside the ropes. His relationships with other volunteers had started to develop and he had truly enjoyed volunteering because of the opportunity it provided to interact with different people, including some of the players.
Volunteering at the TOUR Championship over the years was instrumental in building McCrary’s passion to give back to his community. However, it was in 2018 that the tournament had left a significant impact for him, and for so many other volunteers and fans.
“My favorite player would be Tiger Woods, of course, and being at the 18th hole in 2018 when he won is a moment I’ll never forget,” said McCrary.
Little did Christopher know that this inspirational moment from Tiger would help spur him to be part of his own historical moment, in turn, helping to inspire even more people in his community.
In addition to volunteering at the TOUR Championship, McCrary was also an active member of the Drew Charter School’s golf team. After he had been exposed to the game by his dad and through his involvement with the First Tee of Metro Atlanta, McCrary decided to continue playing at the next level through the Drew Charter School.
“I enjoyed playing because, with as much as I was involved in, it was a time for me to take a break from life and have fun with friends when we weren’t in a tournament,” said McCrary.
But, what McCrary may not have realized at first was he and his teammates would have an opportunity to make history.
In 2019, the Drew Charter School golf team became the first all-African American golf team to win the Georgia state championship title, in addition to becoming the first Atlanta public school to hold this title.
“In the moment, I knew it was a big deal, but my mindset couldn’t wrap around what we did,” said McCrary. “I wasn’t numb to it, but it wasn’t until later that I could recognize the full impact of that moment.
“It really did feel great to make history in such a way where younger golfers could have the belief in hard work and dedication.”
Given the current landscape of racial equity in our country and around the world, this accomplishment had a far greater impact in the Atlanta community than McCrary may have initially realized.
Now, he uses the team’s accomplishment to take part in the larger conversation on advocating for racial equality, which McCrary extends to the game of golf.
“I would like in the future for players, or even tournaments and others, to take a stand with racial equality and achieve this equality,” said McCrary. “It’s hard to be out in the protests due to the pandemic, but one way I’ve tried to engage was to spread awareness and donate to organizations. This is me doing my part. I want to be more educated so I can continue to contribute to the conversation.”
Through Christopher’s experiences volunteering, his drive to accomplish both his academic and athletic goals, as well as the passion he has for his community, have only fueled McCrary’s desire to continue to be involved and help create the same pathways for others following.
“I volunteer for the next generation. And by that, I mean that I volunteer for those behind me to help make their paths easier in order to reach their goals,” said McCrary.
Now a sophomore at Georgia Institute of Technology, McCrary looks to continue his education in architectural studies. McCrary will later pursue a master’s degree in hopes of starting his own architectural firm, with an emphasis on helping plan and design urban communities like Atlanta.
While in college, McCrary stays true to his beliefs in paving a path for others and giving back to his community by leading organizations on campus and serving as a sophomore advisor for community service.
“There have been opportunities provided to me because of what others have done, and I want to be that person for the youth to help them follow my footsteps,” said McCrary.