Here’s a question. Why does the media continually get so excited about young female athletes? Michelle Wie is only the latest example. A young girl, 13 or 14, accomplishes a notable athletic feat, and is then predicted to dominate her state/sport for the next 20 years, which is what would happen if a young male were to accomplish the same. Of course, since a mature woman’s body is actually a handicap in most sports, her performance usually worsens as she gets older, until by the time she’s a junior or senior, she’s getting “upset” by yet another 8th or 9th grader.
I’ve seen this happen again and again in high school sports. A friend of mine was the state champion gymnast and a top 100 meter sprinter in 9th grade; by our senior year she was no longer competing in gymnastics and didn’t finish in the medals in the conference championship, let alone the regional meet. Her times actually slowed about half a second, while in that same period, my 100 meter time dropped by almost three seconds. In fact, if you follow high school sports at all, you’ll often see 8th and 9th grade girls winning state championships in track, cross country and tennis.
Golf, of course, is barely a sport, so it’s entirely possible that Miss Wie may dominate women’s golf and win more championships than Tiger Woods. But it’s hard not to forget how Martina Hingis’ career is over and done at an age when many great male champions had yet to win their first major. This doesn’t take anything away from Miss Wie’s accomplishments now, but it seems odd to completely ignore history and physiology in discussing the probable future.