You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: New Perspectives via Golf

"You can't be what you can't see."—Marian Wright Edelman

I was familiar with the words of American activist and founder of the Children's Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman long before the Biden-Harris victory. But her message was celebrated by many as no other woman, or woman of color has been elected Vice President of the United States before. If Edelman is right—and I think she is— then the future should look much different in America. Time will tell.

Edelman's words, however, cannot be contained to the political sphere. Two recent events in the golf world have invited me to consider her message and what is means for a 47-year old like me.

I say that because on Sunday, April 18, 2021 Stewart Cink won the RBC Heritage Golf Classic that celebrates a crazy cool jacket for its victors, too.

As written by the Associate Press on ESPN.com "He shot a steady, stress-free 70 to cap off a dominant, record-breaking week at an age — 47 — when many players are looking ahead to the PGA Tour Champions." Sunday’s win was the eighth of his PGA Tour career and second this season. Prior to last fall’s Safeway Open title, Cink experiences a twelve year drought; he hadn’t won on Tour since the 2009 Open Championship.
With his win at Harbor Town, Cink, rose 71 spots, from No. 115 to No. 44, "cracking the top 50 for the first time since January 2011." He will turn 48 in May of this year. I was happy to read that he is not a grandfather…yet (his son Connor is engaged).

And if you've been following golf this year, you'll know England's Lee Westwood, ranked 23 in the world is also 47 years of age.

I have not seen either athlete described as "middle aged." I would like to thank journalists and sports writers for the abstentia, for the last word I would use to describe myself is "middle-aged." From time to time I do feel that way, but to see both 47-year olds grind it out, compete on the highest level, maintain composure and strength has been inspiring. Thanks guys. I had no idea 47 has so much potential. And, to those who read this post with a cynical sneer….for anyone who is uttering under his or her breath "they're golfers!"—please play 72 holes/over four days and get back to me.

Meanwhile, if I hadn't been told he was 24 years of age, I would have believed Will Zalatoris—who finished second at the 2021 Masters—was a high school sophomore. Today at practice one of my players—who is a sophomore admitted that they have the same waist size: 28". She then lauded his strength and reach. A four-time All-American at Wake Forest University, one has to wonder in what world is a man that trim a professional athlete. In this one, is the only answer.

Whether you look at Justin Thomas or Bryson DeChambeau, Michelle Wie-West (who's 6'1") or Lucy Li (who played in the USWO at the age of 11), no one should be discouraged by what they see in golf which on the professional level is only increasingly more diverse in ethnicity, age, shape and size.

The same golfer said she wished Edelman's quote stated "You can't become what you can't see." She prefers the notion of potential. We are more than just one profession, one way of living, one passion we follow, one role we play. I think that is inspiring, too.

Photo Credits
Stewart Cink
Helen and Lee
Will Z

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