Sorenstam offers reminder of fair play
Annika Sorenstam did something wonderful for the world of professional sports this week. She acted like a professional. Her most recent interview on ESPN Sportcenter Sunday yielded a few very important facts about the LPGA’s No. 1 player. She answered questions about the behavior of other players, her reception by the crowd and most importantly, what she plans to do in the future.
One of the most important points, in light of the recent action at the Master’s Tournament, was her reception by the other PGA tour players. What may have been expected as “acceptable” discrimination fifteen years ago was not evident on the playing field. Sorenstam reported that other golfers were supportive to a fault; while you might expect Sergio Garcia to curse at least once every three bogeys, you would be hard pressed to remember a time he gave you advice on the lie out of a bunker on the 13th hole par five.
Equally noticeable was her genuine acceptance and possible indulgence by the spectators. Sorenstam made her first birdie, and though she has not set herself apart to become a revolutionary, no one could deny the magic felt by the crowd as the first woman succeeded in competition at a higher level.
Sorenstam’s most important statement about the game she played this weekend draws on the most important fundamental in sports: believe in your talent and always challenge yourself. Her participation in the tournament relied strictly on her invitation. She did not plan to attend any other PGA event this year, and certainly did not wish to enter any kind of protest to gain access to the circuit.
Perhaps it seems heavy handed, but there is a grain of truth to the idea that Sorenstam understands that there is a fundamental difference between men and women, and we can learn and benefit from each other as a gender without forcing ourselves into physical contests. When you take the sportsmanship out of athletics, it becomes really nasty.
Jeff Novak is a senior majoring in Mass Communications