"When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming
his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine
your own self."
Confucius

Comments of Frank DeFord...

I'm not sure how many times I've heard that on NPR over the years. Usually droll, funny in an understated sort of way. Usually at least insightful even if I don't agree. Well, Mr. Frank DeFord made me angry enough to start a blog this week. And that's saying alot.

Here is the link to his audio commentary from Morning Edition earlier this week.

Wie's Pursuits May Detract from Women's Sport

Here is the main problem I have with what he has to say. He starts off his commentary with sentence containing "Stick to playing with your own kind". To me that stinks of segregationist baseball, Jackie Robinson and all the rest. The fact that the next paragraph finds him speaking about how pretty she is (all 15 years of her) doesn't bode well for the way he views her.

His argument is that Wie is detracting from womens sports by luring away potential fans. I'll give him that. But don't put the world of womens sports on one girls shoulders. Anika Sorenstam has gained womens golf plenty of fans. When someone has the potential Wie has to play, and win, at the mens level why shouldn't she do just that.

Competition is about just that, competition. Would anyone really have wanted to see Micheal Jordan and the Bulls play the Yakima Sun Kings? Who really wants to watch superior talent crush an inferior opponent? That's the whole reason why people root for the underdog. They want to see people reach their potential. Nobody goes to see Atlanta Hawks games for a reason. Josh Smith can jump but his team is terrible. Nobody wants to watch a bloodbath.

If Michelle Wie decided to stick with only LPGA events she limits herself to that level of competition. Not only does reaching for a lower goal limit your potential but it can be very boring for a true competitor. True Wie has not reached her potential yet and the LPGA is definitely competitive for her, but everyone has an idea what a few years or maturity could do for her. I'd rather see her happy to be competing than feeling that she is limited by her sex.

Further Frank DeFord makes the case that muscle mass really does matter. Yes it does, in football, basketball, baseball, something that really requires large muscle activity. Sorry to all you golfers but you don't have to be big to hit the ball a long way. Michelle Wie has proven that. What she needs is a short game, something that is almost entirely based on touch, mental ability, and reflexes, not muscle mass.

By telling Wie she is "Chasing pie in the sky and men in spikes" DeFord makes it clear he believes Wie, and women in general, will never equal men in golf. Further it makes it sound as though he sees this as the future in all sports. The possible exception being Formula 1 where he makes a generous nod to Danica Patrick. I definitly don't see it that way.

How many years has Title 9 been in effect in the US? My mothers generation was still being told that running over a mile at a time would leave them sterile. Look how far women's athletics have come. The closer women get to men the more exceptional athletes from the womens side will be able to compete with the men. It's bound to happen. Muscle mass may have an effect but the closer womens sports come to the level of mens the more Michelle Wie's there will be. Who's to say that there won't be a woman who can shoot the basketball well enough to be an off-the-bench shooter in the NBA or even play at that level in all the skill areas. It is hard to say how far it could go.

So, for her sake, I hope Michelle Wie continues to try to break into the mens Tour. I hope one day we see her strolling the greens at Augusta. Womens sports will do well without her and it will give younger girls a higher bar to strive for.