Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reflections: Yang's the Thang


I just spent most of the afternoon watching the final round of the PGA Championship Tournament. This is remarkable only because I don't really give a hoot about the game of golf. It's one of the few sports that I never even made an attempt to play. I basically rank it with curling and polo as a spectator sport. Yet there I sat, riveted to the action, as a South Korean golfer named Y.E. Yang stole the lead from, and subsequently defeated, the Afro-Asian-American prodigy, Tiger Woods. Yang thus became the first Asian-born golfer to win a major tournament. It was the first time in 30-something tournaments that Tiger Woods had lost a lead to lose a championship in the final round.

I am old enough to remember when golf was a lily-white sport; lily-white and country club elite. This ground-breaking victory is one more indication that the times are changing, the globe is shrinking, and certain assumptions are falling by the wayside.

The triumph of Y.E. Yang is one more victory for a thing in the goodness of which I have developed a strong belief, and for the proliferation of which I will always work, vote, and speak out: that thing is opportunity. Tiger Woods and Y.E. Yang each exemplify the great things that can come when individuals are afforded a chance to get into the game. I congratulate them both.

And to those of my countrymen who so obviously have had a flight or fight reaction to the election of our first non-Caucasian president, I say: chill out and take pride in our collective triumph over the fear which for so long held us back.