Some guys in the sports media world put their career above everything else. When it comes to covering events like the Indy Women in Tech Championship at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend, some guys might have left the family at home, stayed at the event all day and then checked into a hotel, completely neglecting their loved ones.
Not me. Since I’m a devoted family man, I let my wife drive me to the event and drop me off at the IMS to watch women in skirts play golf before she took our 3 year-old daughter and 2 month-old son to navigate the circus that is the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. I know, I know; my type of chivalrous, sacrificial men is a dying breed.
But after my wife pulled out of the parking lot and I told the security guards at Gate No. 2 I needed to get to the Media Center, they looked at me and laughed. “You’re in for a walk”, they said. “Maybe someone with a golf cart will pick you up.”
I thought these old timers were just weak. I may not be an auto racing expert, but I knew that the IMS was just an oval track, so how big could it actually be inside? Turns out, pretty big.
Is that a Media Center, or a mirage?
So the first half hour of my initial LPGA tourney experience was spent wandering through a vast, barren asphalt wasteland (at least on non-race days) hoping to see signs for the promised land, the Media Center. I did eventually see a sign in a place called “Gasoline Alley”, but it wasn’t very helpful to me, as it read, “DON’T HIT GARAGE DOOR WITH FORKLIFT”. It seemed to me that should be self-evident. I wondered if they change the signs for the golf tournament to clear up any further confusion: “DON’T HIT PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS WITH FORKLIFT”.
Either way, I eventually found the Media Center, which was in the same building where the pros and caddies were hanging out before they departed for the course. I respectfully kept my distance, since there was more than a hint of aromatic evidence that I had been wandering around on asphalt in the August sun.
Finally, I took an official IMS/LPGA “shuttle” (golf cart driven by friendly volunteers) to the driving range. It felt a bit like an African safari, with fans “oohing” and “aahing”, taking photos from 10-seater shuttles of the LPGA pros in their natural, roped-off habitat. Many of the golfers were fit and svelte like gazelles, while others more resembled certain mammals that dwell in rivers and bite canoes in half, if you know what I’m saying.
Women knew they were right about golf. They just knew it.
Regardless of their body type, I was struck by two things: First, how slowly they all swung. Secondly, none of them knew how to play golf.
Men, like me and my brothers, know how you’re supposed to play golf: You flex your muscles, swing as hard as you can, send the ball flying off in an utterly unpredictable direction, and then get angry.
These LPGA pros hit the ball perfectly every time and never even seem surprised. Where were all the shanks? Where was all the cursing under your breath? Where was all the passion?
And maybe it’s just me, but it seemed like the lady golfers were swinging obnoxiously slow, as if to say to all the men present, “See men? We told you to swing slower. But you didn’t listen. Now, look — do you ever hit the ball like this?”
Unfortunately, due to the rain, I never got to see most of the players take their swings off the range and onto the course. That’s OK though, because being the resourceful, insightful talent that I am, it gave me a chance to make observations on the human condition.
Women vs. Men: Elite Athletes vs. Nose Pickers
Not that I would ever engage in such an unsophisticated battle of the sexes, but if I were a man trying to prove men were better than women, that would have been a horrible day for it. For women, you had the LPGA pros who balanced a robotic-like focus on the range with friendliness and patience for fans’ questions when the weather turned sour and everyone — players, caddies and fans — scurried for shelter.
For men, you had dull-eyed sportswriters in the Media Center, blankly staring at laptops, whose only physical activity was alternating between picking their nose and leaning to one side of their chair to decompress.
But there is one area in which the female gender could have made a slightly better showing: My wife’s chauffeur skills. I’d like to return to the IWiT, but this time, I’ll make sure my wife drives me all the way to the Media Center before dropping me off at the nearest gate to enjoy a carefree afternoon with our kids at the children’s museum.
Some people can be so inconsiderate.
This column was originally published in the Republic-Monitor on August 23, 2018. See more golf columns here.