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by Laramie Boyd
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Gimmee a Break
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It was in1998 that Casey Martin asked for an exception to the rules of golf, as he wanted to be allowed to play in a professional golf tournament while riding in a golf cart. Members of the Professional Golf Association or the United States Golf Association always walk while competing in every golf tournament. Their bags are carried by caddies, but caddies also walk. The tournament rules committee gave Casey permission to ride. He played but was far from competitive in search of a win, and hasn't been heard of since.
Fast forward to 2019. John Daly, who won on the professional golf tournament in 1991, requested that he be allowed to ride in a golf cart during a recent golf tournament. Seems he has chronic knee problems, with arthritis and all that goes along with it. He "has trouble with elevation." Once again, the golf gods ruled in favor of an exception. And, once again, riding in a cart rather than walking the course was to no avail, as John ended up far back in the standings.
Now, clearly, one of the requirements in any sport, to be successful at least, is endurance. If a player can't keep pace with other players before the final bell sounds, his chances of being competitive are surely less. Even without considering many other drawbacks of having arthritis, riding the average 6000 to 7000 yards of a golf course, which is roughly 3 1/2 to 4 miles, every day for four days, in a top level golf tournament, is obviously an advantage. Ask any marathon runner if riding any part of a 3K or a 10K event in a cart, for whatever reason, arthritis or other, would be an obvious advantage.
Tiger Woods made a succinct comment riding in golf carts. Once, he said, "I played with a broken leg." And he walked. There is no gray area of intent in that quote.
To make a comparison to the cart advantage, suppose a not-very-tall basketball player asks that the basket rim be lowered because he can't stuff a ball at the current height of the net, like taller players can. Or a track runner asks that his running lane be moved closer to the finish line, as he is not as fast as the others in the race due to a bad knee. How about a baseball pitcher holding out for the umpires to move the pitching mound a few feet closer to the batter, as the rotator cuff in his shoulder needs repairing.
Has this new "anything goes" mind set that is plaguing some of America's politicians gotten out of hand?. Like telling elementary school children they can pick any restroom they want to use, wherever they feel comfortable? Or, telling prisoners they can smoke marijuana in their cells, just don't inhale? Let's just give all the illegal immigrants free medical benefits, regardless of the fact that the tax paying citizens have to pay for theirs? And our elected representatives lie on television, in court, wherever or whenever it suits their agenda, it doesn't seem to matter anymore. Do these scenarios strike a familiar chord? Are these not daily examples of "fake" attempts to enforce laws or rules by changing them, foregoing all semblance of propriety, behavior that is becoming more and more accepted as the normal, rather than the exception?
But the seeds of accepting any old behavior that doesn't alienate possible votes are in the ground, and they are being watered and fertilized and are growing every day in our Congress, our courts, and our schools, at the elementary, secondary and college level. The idea of accountability is vanishing at a rapid pace, especially in government but also in many sections of life in America. Say anything, do anything, promise the moon when searching for support for a personal agenda, or a vote. No matter, no one seems to expect a politician to keep their word these days anyway, now do they?