ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Changing The Game
by Kevin Monroe
8/15/05

Someone once said "Some men just play the game and others are Game Changers".  Think of your favorite sport and who has changed that sport over the years.  I think of how Babe Ruth dominated the game of baseball with his larger than life persona on and off the field.  Dominating batters when he was on the mound and making pitchers cringe when he was at the plate.  How about Wilt Chamberlain, or Michael Jordan, in basketball?  Wilt was the first man-child before Shaq, he was un-guardable in the paint, and when his teammates got him the ball it was a guaranteed two points.  Jordan was the first guard that could do it all, and do it all better than anyone else.  He could shoot, pass, rebound and play defense with anybody.

When I think of tennis I think of Venus and Serena Williams, sure there have been dominant tennis players over the years (Martina, Sampras etc.) but Venus and Serena have managed to make tennis mainstream.  Physically they are put together like artwork, the outfits they wear have revolutionized the sport, and oh by the way they dominate on the court as well.

The reason I am writing this article though, is to talk about one game changer in particular. One who I think stands head and shoulders above the rest: Tiger Woods.  Tiger has done more for the game of golf than any player ever has.  I know we can't consider him the best-ever yet, because he has a ways to go to catch Nicholas, but Nicholas didn't have the effect on the public that Tiger has. 

As a young African-American male growing up, I was not exposed to golf at all.  I don't believe I even picked up a club until I was in college.  I couldn't tell you what a bogey was from a birdie; and then came Tiger.  He stormed on the scene as this energetic, stylish young man with awesome ability.  Finally, not only was there an African-American on tour, but he was bad to the bone.  All of a sudden it was cool to play golf, talk about golf or even watch it on TV.  How about the PGA championship this past weekend, when TNT followed Tiger on every hole even though he was 5-7 over most of the day? The media cared more about Tiger almost missing the cut then they did those moving up the leader board.  Not only do I watch Tiger play golf nowadays, I even find myself watching when he isn't even playing. WOW!  What a difference one man can make.

Kevin Monroe
kevin@downeastsports.com