Casey Martin doesn't deserve special treatment. A lot of people, me included, have disabilities, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Supreme Court, which was scheduled to hear oral arguments on Martin's case against the Tour on Wednesday, should make exceptions for us.
My situation is similar to Casey's. Growing up, doctors told my parents that I couldn't play sports because of my disability. When I was six months old my left foot and ankle had to be amputated because in the womb my umbilical cord had wrapped around the leg and cut off circulation, stunting the foot's growth.
I wear a prosthesis and walk with a limp, but that hasn't stopped me from trying to live a normal life in Clarksville, Tenn. In first grade a couple of bullies stole my plastic leg and threw it around the classroom. From then on, I didn't want to be treated differently. I played basketball in fifth grade but couldn't keep up with the other kids. Then I took up golf. I've won several tournaments, including the 1998 Clarksville Junior Amateur, but never used a cart in competition and always carried my own bag.
Like Casey, I get tired when I walk, and that affects the way I play. By the time I reach the 18th green, sharp, stinging pain, which can last for as long as an hour, shoots down my leg. Unlike Casey, I'm not asking for preferential treatment. Pain is something you have to deal with as an athlete, and walking is an athletic aspect of golf. Either no one rides, or everyone rides.
Giving Casey a cart not only gives him an advantage but also goes against my belief that handicapped people are normal. Next season, my sophomore year, I plan to try out for the golf team at Middle Tennessee State. If I make it, great. If not, I'll blame my game, not my leg.