Cascades Q&A is a weekly feature where we fire a series of random questions at a Cascades athlete. Some of the questions are serious, others not so much. In the crosshairs this week is Halen Davis of the UFV men’s golf team.
Q: Ever since Chris Bertram (UFV golf head coach) let me know that you’d signed with the Cascades back in May, I’ve had a burning question to ask you. I understand your parents named you after the band Van Halen. Could you tell me the story behind that? Are you named after a specific band member, or the band in general?
A: “I’m named after the band in general. My dad is part of the rock and roll generation. He liked Led Zeppelin, he liked all the rock and roll bands, but he had a thing for Van Halen. So when I was born, he was like, ‘I’m going to name my kid Halen!’ And that’s how I ended up getting my name.”
Do you like have a unique name with a bit of a backstory, or do you sometimes feel, ‘Man, I wish they’d just named me John or something!’
“You know, sometimes I wish he would have just named me John, other times it’s fine. Going to restaurants where they ask for your name, I’ll say Halen and they’ll be like, ‘What?’ Or they’ll think I said Kalen or Helen or Allen. I’ve been called so many different things. But it’s a name.”
And it’s a super-cool name. Sticking with the music theme, I’m not sure to what extent golfers listen to warm-up music, but do you have any special songs you like to listen to when you’re on the range before a round?
“You know what, I kind of put shuffle mode on and whatever pops up, pops up. I don’t want to get a song stuck in my head, because then I might be thinking about something else and forget to hit a putt!”
You’re from Stanwood, Wash., and you spent a couple years playing golf at junior colleges in the U.S. before transferring to UFV this year. I’m curious why you chose to bring your golf career to Canada.
“I was talking to a couple schools in the States, and nothing really panned out – it didn’t fit well for me, or it didn’t fit well for the team. I ran into Chris (Bertram) at one of our tournaments in the States, and it just felt like a great thing for me and I took advantage of the opportunity. It’s not far from where I actually live – it’s right on the border, it still feels like the States to me but at the same time I’m in Canada. Everything worked out perfectly. It’s a great environment for me to be in.”
As an American, have you noticed any cultural differences in Canada?
Oh really? What are some of the big ones?
“I went to my Calc 3 class, and the teacher started talking about a zed coordinate or a zed axis. And I was just like, ‘I’ve never heard of this before!’ And then I realized that’s just how you say zee. Another couple of things – Canadians say ‘eh’. The stereotype fits. It’s super-funny. And just the way you guys pronounce things. You probably think I have an accent, but I hear a little Canadian accent.”
Any words that jump to mind that you think we pronounce strangely?
“The way females say sorry (pronounces it ‘sahr-ry’). They say the O lower, like sore-ee. I found it interesting. I haven’t noticed the guys say it that way. But I can’t really laugh at it, because I’m the foreigner!”
How have you found it on the golf side of things so far?
“Awesome. Great. I love the team. Everyone on the team is great, Chris is great, and it’s a very good team. We have a lot of upside, we’re all young, and we hang out when we’re off the golf course. All in all, it’s a great team, and it’s fun to be a part of.”
Chris Bertram mentioned to me that you had a bit of a beef with his uniform standards. I understand he’s very picky about that type of thing. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
“On my old team, we kind of got away with a little more. I never tucked in my shirt, and I loved wearing shorts. Coming here, Chris is all about dressing nice, tucking in the shirt, and pants when it’s 30 degrees out. I’m just like, ‘Chris, this is not how I’ve done things in the past!’ But the good thing is, it’s all nice gear, so I don’t mind the style at all. But it’s different.”
I understand you don’t like to wear a hat, either.
“No. I’ve never looked good in a hat, and still don’t!” (laughs)
If you were able to untuck your shirt, put some shorts on and throw that hat to the side, how many strokes per round would that be worth?
Have you told Chris that?
“I haven’t. But when he reads this, maybe he’ll let me untuck my shirt! Maybe we’d split the difference so it’s only three (strokes). Wear the hat, untuck the shirt. I’ll go with that!”
Chris also tells me you’ve always got a great, upbeat attitude on the golf course. What’s behind that mentality?
“I find myself always smiling on the golf course. I just enjoy being out there. I don’t get too excited if I hit a great shot or make an eagle or something – I keep my emotions pretty level. But I just love being out on the golf course. It’s a beautiful place to be, so I’m always happy, always smiling, always wondering how the team’s doing. As far as being social with opponents? It depends if I like them! But for the most part, yeah – I just smile and enjoy the day.”