Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Extra

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Extra

Article excerpt

Byline: Compiled by Garry Smits

2 CENTS

The initial media reaction to Lindsey Jacbobellis losing the Olympic gold medal in snowboardcross was disdain: How dare an athlete worry more about showboating than winning?

There is now a bit of sympathy brewing, that maybe we're being too hard on a 20-year-old, in a sport that we don't understand very well, with a surrounding culture about which we know even less.

I'm in the first group.

If she wanted to be a hot dog, there is an Olympic snowboarding event for that. In snowboardcross, the object is to cross the finish line ahead of her opponents. Any experienced athlete -- that is any experienced athlete who plays to win -- could have told Jacobellis that funny things happen when we assume victory. The examples of Greg Norman and Champ Bailey spring immediately to mind.

As far as being harsh on a young athlete, well, they're getting younger at the highest levels all the time. College sophomores are being drafted into the NFL, high school kids are being drafted by the NBA, and junior high-age athletes are playing in professional golf and tennis tournaments. Ask Michelle Wie if she thought the media was easy or tough after he disqualification last year in her first LPGA event as a professional.

One more thing: I'm a bit tired of this Generation-Y, "whatever" attitude by the likes of Jacobellis and Bode Miller when we have the audacity to question why they have failed under pressure. In this "everybody gets a trophy" era, I sincerely hope this generation, and subsequent generations of American athletes, hasn't forgotten how to compete.

GOLF AND GRAPEFRUIT

Baseball fans can almost feel the warmth of the sun on their necks as they plan for trips due south to catch a few spring training games.

Golf fans likewise are feeling both restless and invigorated by the prospect of the PGA Tour beginning its Florida Swing next week with the Ford Championship at Doral.

Then there are those who will combine both.

Golf Florida Monthly, in its February-March edition, published a list of Major League Baseball Grapefruit League training sites, and offered some advice on where to play golf near those sites. …

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