Overheard at the first tee at Trump National D.C., July 4th:
They should do the same thing here. While he’s visiting his hometown in Africa.
The reference (I was about 70 feet away, on the putting green) was to the coup deposing Mohammad Morsi.
Mistakenly I had assumed this kind of thing had abated since the last election. One critical difference between these folks and men who downed martinis in the “The Assassination Special” in FDR’s time (I’ve heard from my Mom and elsewhere, though unconfirmed by google, that the bar car on one of Westchester commuter trains acquired that title due to the general tenor of its talk) is that the Wall Street-Westchester guys didn’t make their livings off government contracts.
The rest of this post will be devoted to musings about women’s sports. Can any spectacle in sports match the women’s tennis at Wimbledon? These young ladies, in their revealing white dresses, at the peak of athletic performance, the cameras of the world honing in on their expressions of pain or exultation. Each has unique and compelling stories of sacrifice to get there—parents who put aside everything else to get them lessons and court time, some who left home and family to train in other continents. Fraught stories of vulnerability and abuse at the hands of coaches, splits and reconciliations with parents abound. I cheered Serena Williams’s early exit at the hands of Sabine Lisicki: seeing Serena run through a women’s draw can seem like watching the ’66 Celtics try to keep up with LeBron. But she too is an extraordinary champion, usually stronger under pressure—except when she isn’t. The tough muscular girl from Compton has evolved into something like the archtypical talented African-American exile in Paris, where she now keeps a home and much of her life. Her interview in defeat was wry and wistful, sometimes ironic. No longer young in tennis terms (31), she is becoming almost beautiful.
The U.S. Women’s Golf Open was held at a club adjacent to where I play in Long Island, so I walked through the opening in the hedge a few times to watch. I hung out mostly at the driving range and putting green during the practice round days, taking in how much these young women spend on the greens, rolling in six footers, twelve footers, lagging their thirty footers, and working on their fifty-foot pitches. Every kind of putting stroke aide sold on the Golf Channel was getting a full workout. On Tuesday the scene was relaxed , athletic young women striding around with their caddies (that’s a subject in itself, one of the few realms in the world where twenty-two-year-old women have thirty-year-old men at their command and service), enjoying the relaxed rolling of the balls around the green, the occasional exuberant hug when former college competitors reconnected once again.
And then, as if a cloud passed over the sun, Michelle Wie, the wounded Michelle Wie, arrived with her caddy, numerous putting alignment devices in tow. Michelle was once touted as the next Tiger Woods, the tall Korean-American with a graceful swing who could strike the ball like a make professional at age 14. No goal seemed unreachable, she was the future of women’s golf. Sponsors lined up for her, her face, her swing could brand any luxury good in a global market. Nike, Sony, fancy watches, Michelle as a teenager was raking in $15 million a year in endorsements according to one account. She played in men’s events, with limited success. She went to Stanford. She did everything except excel on the LPGA tour. Now, age 23, she is out of college, playing women’s events and missing cuts. Her putting is an issue.
On the green Michelle and her caddy practice four-footers. Her stance is a study in pain, she bends over ninety degrees from waist, her eyes over the ball, rolling them in one after another. There is no banter with other women on the green, it is as if Michelle and her caddy move through the practice area in their own glass bubble. Now she starts to miss the four-footers, one to the left, one to the right. Five misses in a row. Frustration builds on her face. Two days later she would shoot 80 in the first round, leaving her no chance to make the cut.
Next week, we will get the coup in Egypt and the early but significant glimmers of a left-right antiwar coalition in Congress.