UNEVEN FAIRWAYS

AUGUSTA NATIONAL – Professional sports offer the devotee many escapes from mundane lives and we gamely latch on like the babies to the breast. A true fan can sit in front of a television, or in a stadium, alone or with loved ones and be transported to competitive nirvana. The overtime goal. The buzzer beating 3-pointer. The walk-off home run or the game winning field goal with 1 tick on the clock. Those are the moments we crave and for which we wait; heroics on the pitch we can tell out grandchildren about. Hopefully, we wouldn’t have had so many beers that we missed it or, heaven forbid, lived in an LA and didn’t see it because we headed to the parking lot early to beat the traffic. As fans, we cried as the home team hoisted the big trophy. We cried when Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran looking and when Luis Gonzalez blooped that single off Mariano Rivera. That is what being a fan should be about.Then there is the ignominious side of sports; the truly ugly history of exclusion and discrimination. Games played with an invisible void to a nearly wholly ignorant audience. Teams and fans didn’t want black or other minority players on the diamond, the field, rink, court or pitch and the ones that persevered are legends of their sports whose names choke us up. Their play sent chills up our spines. Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson. Ernie Davis and Earl Lloyd. Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby. The shame for us is in the uncounted lost athletes that came before them and played just as well but never even made Wikipedia, let alone a Hall of Fame. A good friend of MeetTheMatts,com, Dan Levinson of Moxie Pictures, has made a stirring film about golf that brings us all closer to the reality of sports discrimination and the triumph of perseverance. Dan’s “Uneven Fairways” http://www.thegolfchannel.com/core.aspx?page=26000&select2=10772 shows how segregation on the links drove a group of dedicated golfers to form their own league – the United Golf Association which some compare the baseball’s Negro Leagues. It might be hard to digest but only recently were black golfers allowed to even be members at Augusta National, home of the Masters. Dan, an avid scratch golfer, gives us this “… groundbreaking documentary celebrating African-American contributions to golf.” In honor of Black History Month, the Golf Channel premieres the documentary tomorrow at 9p with a rebroadcast at 8p on Sunday with Samuel L. Jackson serving as narrator. Watch it. DVR it. Spread the word. This is something special.Trivia tonight at Piper’s Kilt and Angry Ward tomorrow.

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www.MeetTheMatts.com started out as a NY Mets website and organically grew into an entity covering all professional sports. Our daily contributors, as diverse as they may be, share one important asset... a sense of humor. This is, after all, sports entertainment.