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Bad mix

Women's sports takes a hit when Wie faces the men

Posted: Wednesday July 20, 2005 11:38AM; Updated: Wednesday July 20, 2005 12:16PM
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Michelle Wie
Wie's goals are admirable, but she detracts from women's golf when she crosses over to play the men.
Should Michelle Wie stick to playing strictly women's events?
Yes, it will enhance women's sports
No, she'll do more good by beating men
Who cares? It's her decision
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Michelle Wie, I do wish you would stick to playing against your own kind.

Now understand, I don't argue the point: anything I can do, you can do better.

You're bigger than most men, you're stronger than most men, you're smarter than most men, you're younger than most men, you're nicer than most men and, Lord knows, you're prettier than all men and most women.

But here's the problem: You may beat most men on the golf course, but every time you try that, you're beating women's sports more than you're beating men golfers.

Women complain all the time that their sports don't get enough attention. It's true that many of those people in charge of providing attention to sports -- the editors and writers and producers -- just happen to be of the old male persuasion. But it really isn't true that they are anti-female sports. They just cover what sports people want to read about and see and hear about. Who, pray, would ever have guessed that sensible human beings in these post-millennium times would crave to watch other people playing poker? But that's what, with apologies to Mencken, the boobus televisionus Americanus wants today, and so that's what we give 'em.

Unfortunately, women don't support their sisters playing games nearly as much as men watch their brethren in athletic pursuits. Women don't boo very well at all. Understand, this is not another case of "frailty, thy name is woman." Instead, verily, it is tribute to the sensitivity of the daughters of Eve that they have their priorities so much straighter than us benighted guy sportaholics. Good grief, should we ever get women's sports radio, then it really will be time to hand this whole earthly kit and caboodle over to the Philistines.

But women's sports always need help. They especially need appealing women athletes populating them, and when a star like young Miss Wie goes off in search of male trophies, she drains attention away from the main chance. After all, women taking on men on their own muscular turf is always a fascinating diversion, from the Amazons to Wonder Woman to Billie Jean King.

Of course, there are some sports where the stronger male physicality really doesn't matter. We've certainly seen that this year with Danica Patrick, who almost won the Indianapolis 500. Women should be able to drive cars and shoot rifles and arrows and billiards and perform many other athletic tasks as well as men.

But there are limits. Muscle mass does make a difference. Diana was the goddess of the hunt. She was Apollo's twin, but, sorry, not his match. Sure, it would be nice if Michelle Wie qualified for the Masters and made a cut on the PGA Tour. She is, obviously, an absolute marvel -- so good, in fact, that everybody is watching her, and if, during her long, magnificent career that lies ahead, she spends her time chasing pie in the sky and men in spikes, she will only, ultimately and primarily, detract from women's golf and, really, all of women's sport.

Middleweights can't knock out heavyweights. What they can do is accept what they are and try to be the best pound-for-pound fighter. Trying to become the best pound-for-pound golfer in the history of the sport would be a noble enough pursuit, wouldn't it?