Thursday, July 19, 2012

I believe in celebrating the races. Does that make me racist? Years ago it was easy. In previous centuries many people didn’t even know there were different races. They never traveled to other countries to see other people that did not look like themselves in their villages. It is pleasurable to admire a big purple black muscular guy as it is also pleasurable to admire a pale platinum natural blond, or the oriental child with the smoothest skin and wonderful innocence on their expression and the reddest hair with the freckly smiling face of a older child.
There is also to consider the dominance of certain countries in certain sports. We see Kenyon’s dominating in Marathons, the Chinese dominating in table tennis or Canadians dominating in Hockey. Ok, you are already screaming, How can you say this stuff? Please, just see where I am going with this. A country’s disproportional global success always prompts a debate over how much people’s dominance owes to nature versus nurture according to Sportscaster, Bryant Gumbel. After all, the Summer Olympics are here for all the world to see on their TV’s everywhere.
Well where women’s golf is concerned on the surface it looks like a dominating force in nature, the South Korean girls are winning everything but look a little closer, and the girls in Seoul Korea are being trained and groomed to win at a very young age. Golf is more a requirement than school for many girls. That sounds like a lot more nurturing to me. We can make girls from any country practice their golf swing 8 hours a day and they would be damn good at the sport too.
Yes, these days the LPGA, Ladies Professional Golf Association is being dominated by ladies from one small country, South Korea. Those champions are not only being born in that country, they are being made. About 2 months ago at the first major championship at the women’s golf season, a familiar scene unfolded. Of the 10 women in contention on the final day of the tournament, 6 were from Korea that just 15 years ago had no presence in golf at all. A Korean win was just the latest in a string of victories by Korean girls whose careers have blossomed in the United States.
How do they produce such dedicated and talented golfers? Is it talent or is it dedication ? Is it a racial thing? There aren’t even many golf courses in South Korea. It is a very small crowded country that is only about the size of Indiana; mountainous and jammed with 50 Million people. There is no room to even play golf yet now, the country is producing more female golfers than anywhere else on earth. Of the 10 top female golfers in the world 4 are from South Korea as are 40 of the top 100.
Over the last 5 years , an astonishing 32 LPGA Tournament winners have been Korean. The self discipline and determination of the women from the country is unmatched by women from other countries. They train in vertical up to 4 stories high golf ranges to shoot buckets of balls about 8 hours a day. Some girls live overnight at the golf camps. They are teens holding golf clubs instead of school books. Many go to school only once a week but play golf every other possible time.
The parents of the teens will pay as much as $10,000 a month to put their daughters through these training camps. They will practice up to 6 years at the camps with very little time actually spent on a golf course working at it 7 days a week. This is what the South Korean work ethic is? Some don’t even go to a regular school once in two weeks. The school gives them a pass over golf training.
In South Korea it seems, excelence in one thing is the expectation. Mastery is the objective. It is the same approach the country adopted after the Korean War to turn itself into a world economic power. It specializes in just a few industries and tries to be the best in those industries. This strategy fueled the global success of Korean brands like Samsung, Kia and Hyundai but it was never applied to golf before. Fifteen years ago, golf was strictly for the elite of Korean society.
Look stereotypes are just that. We can not assume that it is by nature that labels can be put on people. In awards, it is the work ethic that you put into mastering anything as proven by the new elite girls of golf. As far as race is concerned, any combination of any race gives the world new looks where no one can really be labeled as from any distinct region, therefore no stereotype necessary. Let us just judge people by the character of their heart and work ethic and not necessarily by origin.

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