"Dude Looks Like A Lady"
Touchy topic this post Mother's Day 2019 - in society as well as on the links... Whether it concerns one's biology, sexual preferences, or a yip-infested putter or wedge, many prefer just to turn the other way.
But not yours truly - and so many others - thankfully. You see, ignoring issues & pretending like they are neither relevant nor important solves nada. Acknowledging, addressing and discussing leads to better understanding, acceptance & empathy. Those qualities are vital in today's world, on and off the golf course.
Shout out to Steven Tyler and Aerosmith for the title and embedded tunes of today's missive, and South African runner Castor Semenya for the inspiration. You in search of some inspiration for your golf, and daily doings? Rock and read on!
Time to expand your vocabulary boys & girls - and your minds... Semenya (pictured above, dusting the field in the 800 a few weeks back in Doha, Qatar) was born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not conform to traditional definitions of male or female - hence she is considered 'intersex.' Semenya has a medical condition known as hyperandrogenism, characterized by elevated levels of male sex hormones — such as testosterone — in the female body. Since testosterone is one of the key ingredients contributing to an athlete's strength and speed, many feel Semenya has an unfair advantage in her sport.
Non-conforming. Love it! Like all great performers in every realm and endeavor. Alternative: join the mobs & masses of mediocrity (can you say "Posting on Social Media?") who simply look to comply, as opposed to looking to stand out, excel, or make a difference.
Semenya lost her appeal a few days prior to this race in the Court of Arbitration of Sport, after the IAAF (the governing body for the sport of athletics) decided that female athletes with high levels of natural testosterone must medically lower them in order to compete in events ranging from 400 meters to the mile.
Semenya's response to the decision. "That's an illegal method," she commented. Amen, Castor Semenya.
Keeps those two words in your dictionary next time things go south in the golf park, or elsewhere. Someone tell you it's not feasible to learn something new & improved in your golf swing or mental patterns? "Hell no." Feel like throwing in the towel - quitting (the ultimate sin) - after a poor shot or three? "Hell no." Peeps encouraging/strongly suggesting you to alter your very nature - your essence - so as to fit in, accommodate, and conform? "Hell no."
I get where the IAAF is coming from, really. Yet in a sport where the chemists have long been way ahead (even more than Semenya was of the field she torched in her 800-meter race shortly after the decision - image at top of page), of the drug testers, the irony is overwhelming.
"God has decided my career, God will end my career," she commented in a BBC interview. "No man, or any other human, can stop me from running," she added.
REFLECTION TIME, fellow humans... Close your eyes for a few short seconds, and put yourself in Ms. Semenya's shoes (you gotta love the black and white ones she sported in her victory, eh? Click on the finger-wagging victor above for some offerings from my brethren at Nike): imagine you were born with a genetic disposition or medical condition like Semenya. Nothing artificially enhanced, nothing fake, nothing phony. In a world so full of posers in and out of sport, 'tis indeed a rarity.
What would you do? How would you feel? How would your mother feel?
Steven Victor Tallarico
Fitting, eh? Hell - dude pictured above looks like lady...
Steven Tyler of course. He of Aerosmith. High-energy performances, dressed in bright, colorful outfits with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone stand. His given name up top. Born in Manhattan, NY, his father was of Italian and German descent, his mother was believed to be of Polish and English ancestry. His maternal grandfather was Ukrainian, and his great-great-great-grandfather was part African-American.
Wow, talk about a mutt (and some 'enhancements,' shall we say)... And Castor Semenya thought her DNA was complicated, or rare.
The point? You too are complex (complicated?) and unique in your composition as a human being - and golfer. Yet so many instructors are desperately (for the sake of the almighty $$$!) trying to fit you into a model (their model), molding you into their preferred style, fashion or way, persuading you to 'obey,' integrate, and run with (their) crowd.
Such a pity. You too - whether you care to acknowledge it or not - have pinches of our two featured exceptional performers heretofore brought to your attention on your preferred blue-lit screen. Ain't it time to embrace those attributes, and let them come out and play?
Click on either version of S. Tyler for the musical blast you've been waiting for... :)
"So never judge a book by its cover
Or who you gonna love by your lover"
Mom told you that eons ago, didn't she? To not judge a book by its cover. How you doing with that these days? Like grips, postures and golf swings, it doesn't much matter what they look like, it matters how they work. Some supposed smarty pants suggesting a change, modification, or alteration 'cause it doesn't please their eye or belief system? I understand. But the golf ball doesn't care, and only makes 'judgements' on impact, not aesthetics.
And BTW - who are you to judge in the first place?
I've heard that before (you?), re 'bad' bounces on the golf course, and life. Poor golfers and victims... Maybe mom didn't give those whiners the memo about the ways of the wacky, wild and weird world in which we dwell? Never too late to evolve, people.
Horse racing (and you think track and field is 'dirty?') season upon us. Some striking parallels in Castor Semenya's case & situation to that of the legendary thoroughbred Secretariat. Whaaa??? Human vs. horse? And your golf? Allow me to tie a few loose ends together - and spark some questions in the chattering chamber known as your mind...
Iconic pic just above: '73 Belmont Stakes, Secretariat ditches the field much as Semenya did in Qatar a few moons back. Unfair? I mean, the stallion ran a mile and half in 2:24 (still the record today). CBS television announcer Chic Anderson described the horse's pace in a famous commentary:
"He is moving like a tremendous machine."
Click on head-turning jockey Ron Turcotte aboard Secretariat above to re-live the moment - then c'mon back my way for some further insight.
We now know that this creature unlike no other had an advantage as well. Just as you have an advantage on others - yet only when you let your gifts shine. Your special talents, skills and forté. With a golf club in hand, and/or when you step out the front door each and every day. You conforming, or running wild with your strengths?
Re Secretariat: at the time of his death, the veterinarian who performed the necropsy, Dr. Thomas Swerczek, head pathologist at the University of Kentucky, did not weigh Secretariat's heart, but stated, "We just stood there in stunned silence. We couldn't believe it. The heart was perfect. There were no problems with it. It was just this huge engine."
Later, Swerczek also performed a necropsy on Sham (a Secretariat rival), who died in 1993. He did weigh Sham's heart, and it was 18 pounds (8.2 kg). Based on Sham's measurement, and having necropsied both horses, he estimated Secretariat's heart probably weighed 22 pounds (10.0 kg), or about 2.5 times that of the average horse (8.5 pounds (3.9 kg)).
An extremely large heart is a trait that occasionally occurs in Thoroughbreds, hypothesized to be linked to a genetic condition, called the "x-factor," passed down in specific inheritance patterns. Damn! If the NTRA (the National Thoroughbred Racing Association) had only known about Secretariat's unfairly advantageous 'defect,' maybe they could have banned him - or removed his heart, shrunk it down to 'normal,' then let him run with the other ponies...
Coaching & Guidance
Dude Looks Like A...
Flying preying mantis? Hybrid creature from another galaxy? An alien. Nope - that's just The Doctor - Dr. J - that was. The one and only Julius Erving, at work above in the 1980 finals against the Lakers. Click above to view the iconic play, commentary from NBA legends.
"Rock the baby and put it to sleep"
Then there was this otherworldly dunk a few years later (pity most didn't see the good Dr. in his prime in the ABA...). Click just north and don't forget to revel in the commentary throughout by longtime Laker play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn (he coined this acrobatic put down) - he of the golden vocal cords. Hearn's rapid fire, staccato broadcasting style and associated colorful phrases were unparalleled (maybe some speech/commentary rule-makers shoulda intervened and toned Chick down, tweaked his cerebrum, so as to blend in with the mundane, monotone announcers...).
And perhaps it would have behooved the NBA require the downsizing of Dr. J's humongous hands, and the biopsying of his glutes & calves to make sure they were of 'legal' muscle fiber makeup. Make it more 'fair' for the rest...
Go figure... So, although you may not have some rad genetic blip in your protoplasm, you do have expertise, attributes - genius - within you. Your mom did tell you that, remember?
Alas, might not be on the links (or rather you just need some guidance that fits you) - but perhaps in the domain of something more meaningful for others, the creatures, and the planet...
Here to help, ladies & dudes.
Individual and small groups at Eugene Country Club, or a golf park near you.
"There is divinity in your DNA. Live your light”
-- Carlos Santana
~ CS ~