This One is For You Lebron!
Alright now, hear me out!
I have even better reasoning than the classic “why not?” thinking.
Seriously, let’s have an LPGA tournament in Cleveland, Ohio – my home state. The LPGA has already added domestic events in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Green Bay, Wisconsin to the 2017 schedule— Cleveland needs in on the action!
2016 was a BIG year for The Land. Unless you were living in a hole, you know that Cleveland ended its over 50-year Championship drought when Lebron James and The Cavs delivered The Land its first NBA Championship. Thank-you King James and Company!
It was a beautiful moment. Fifty-four years of not winning any professional championships came to a crashing finale bringing joy to a community rusted into despair, as well as a vision of hope worldwide for those branded as perennial losers.
But, 2016 Cleveland had more than just basketball. The Land hosted that crazy Republican National Convention and that even crazier (maybe) World Series Game 7.
Okay, given, Da Browns stayed true to form… there’s always next year. (This is a good time to rewind my mind back to… THE BLOCK).
Save the Browns, Cleveland is on fire.
And this is why it’s the perfect place for the LPGA and PGA Tours to finally put on that long dreamed of Co-LPGA-PGA Tour event!
Where is my awesome idea inspiration coming from, you ask?
Well, let’s start at the beginning. So, I was watching the NBA Championship Series last year, and this commercial about LeanIn.Org comes on. The concept looked really cool, and I decided I should check it out.
LeanIn.Org is a nonprofit started by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and its mission is to offer “women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals,” according to the LeanIn.Org website. The organization emphasizes community, education, and support circles as tools to help women be more successful.
I was especially impressed by how LeanIn.Org stressed men and women working together rather than competitively.
Early in 2015, the NBA and its WNBA partnered with LeanIn.Org in an initiative to support women in work and life ambitions. With WNBA and NBA players alike, such as Sue Bird, Lebron James, and Steph Curry, all jumping on board with the Social Media campaign effort to promote the organization, it got me thinking that it might be a good time to send them a shout out.
So here it is… #LeanInTogether #LebronJames let’s get this LPGA-PGA Tour event happening in Cleveland! What a perfect opportunity for male athletes to lean in and bring about a great opportunity for women (and themselves)!
And here is why this or something like it needs to happen.
I’ve spent many a Christmas with my family in a small town just outside of Cleveland where my Mom grew up, and my Dad grew up not far from. And yes, I’ve rocked out at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, felt the glory of a last row game seat at the Cavs Q Arena, watched a terrible Indians team from the first row before getting kicked out, and:
I love The Land. Da Browns, The Cavs, The Indians, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… Unstoppable.
But, and there’s always a but, isn’t there? There is this huge missing hole in Cleveland sports much like many places in America and around the world…. Where are the Lady Athletes? Where are the Women!?
Cleveland not only boasts men’s professional football, basketball, and baseball, but also, men’s professional rugby, soccer, and hockey are all present at smaller levels. Which is awesome! I love that men are out there doing their thing and letting us all enjoy and cheer them on!
But, the only currently operating women’s professional team in the Land is the Cleveland Fusion professional football squad. No offense to those ladies, because I’m sure they are sweet… but one women’s pro team is not enough!
I looked for others… The WNBA used to have the Cleveland Rockers, but they folded in 2003. In the 80’s there was a softball team called the Cleveland Competitors, but much to my googling surprise, it was actual men’s slow pitch after all.
You would think that lacking much in the way of ladies’ professional teams… Cleveland would have a nice opening for a WTA tennis or LPGA golf tournament, right? Nope.
The Web.com men enjoy the DAP Championship which takes place in Beachwood, a Cleveland suburb, and has a million dollar purse. Not bad.
The PGA get to tee it up in Lebron’s nearby Akron at the World Golf Championships. Most recent Champ, Jimmy Walker, was happy to take home 1.8 million dollars of the 10.5 million dollar purse.
You get the picture. This is a scenario that occurs in too many cities around the world. Now, I’m not asking for the world’s biggest purse or anything (I can fit most my stuff in a reasonably sized purse ;)).
I’m just asking for some Cleveland Men and Women to #LeanInTogether and fill this void in Cleveland sports that the lack of female athletic events has left.
Let’s bring the LPGA-PGA tour combo event to Cleveland!
But still. Why? Why does having visible professional women athletes in cities matter?
Because kids need strong athletic women to look up to too.
Because when you have an event, it brings to the city diverse people and money that would be good for any city.
Because it gives women athletes a job opportunity… not to mention it creates work opportunities for everyone involved in the event… men and women alike, locals included.
And, finally, because competition is usually fun everywhere for everyone!
So let’s go LPGA/PGA/Cleveland/Lebron/LeanIn.Org/Golf Powers of the World! Get it together! I know y’all are busy with lots of good stuff… it’s not like Lebron doesn’t already have a great foundation or anything ;)… but we can do this too!
What do y’all think? I know it’s a big wish, but nobody said I couldn’t throw it out there. And, shoot… admit it… it’s a good idea!
Allie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.
“I grew up on an 88-acre farm in Southeast Ohio and currently live in the same area with my dog Finley, which I have always cared a lot for, so I buy all his products at treehousepuppies. In that farm I cheer like crazy for all of my favorite Ohio sports teams. I love to play my guitar, listen to music, watch movies, and read good stuff!
My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”
Feature photo of Allie White – Symetra Tour
Canterbury GC – Bill McKinley