Lorena Ochoa Might Miss Tour, but Lives Life She Wanted
I’m sure that Lorena Ochoa, the great who retired before her 30th birthday, misses the regimen of competition sometimes -Â but only sometimes, it appears. Most of us should be able to identify with that. We all get that “if only I could do such and such just one more time, or even just once in a while” thing. In some cases we could go back and do just that, if we really wanted to, but we either don’t feel like going through the hoops again, reigniting the fire, or giving up some of the new joys we’ve found.
Lorena and her family live in Mexico City, and she still plays a dozen or more charities around the yearly calendar. That’s no accident. Charity is a big part of what makes Ochoa happy. Family makes her happy – children make her happy – friends make her happy. Playing world class championship golf is a nice touch to what is already a personality type that nows what’s good for emotional health. We have seen this in other members of the LPGA. Lydia Ko has often spoken of playing until she’s thirty, then going into another profession.
Competitiveness lives in different people, well…differently. There are those who live it obsessively and long-term.in order to be the best that ever was. Tiger has to stay in the game if he’s going to break Jack’s record. I don’t think that Lorena cares if she breaks the existing LPGA records, those she hasn’t already broken. She was the best during her time, and that’s good enough. She was a happy warrior as well, without a trace Shakespearian brooding or outwardly professional angst.
Among the myriad of fans who follow their favorite golfers, competitiveness plays itself out in a wide variety of expressions as well. For some, Tiger breaking Jack’s record is up close and personal, as if they themselves are in the hunt to break it. If he wins the Masters, these fans are stuck with the knowledge that other people have won it in the past, and many will win it in the future. That means that the only thing left is to win more of them than anyone else. Some players and fans need to be history, while others appreciate being part of it, and do their part with gusto.
That being the case, some of those fans who live too vicariously through their stars have a problem. When their star retires to do something else, they just can’t understand it. Ochoa says as much of some in and out of her circle. It is difficult for people stuck in this quandry to see it from the player’s point of view rather than their own, and even worse, to feel it from the needs of the players, putting their own aside. In this scenario, a person who has never met us, one who plays a game we can’t play, and whose life belongs partially to us because we invested our energies into it, let’s us down by moving on. It pionts to a certain lack on the part of the onlooker who, perhaps, has not found the same contentment as the adored star. Beiing a fan then has a spectrum, one that runs all the way from celebrative, admiring, and appreciative of unusually fine play, to parasitic and mood-dampening, unless of course the star wins in the next week.
By enjoying the game so much and providing us with so much pleasure while she played, Ochoa might have given us a greater gift in her transition to being a family-oriented national celebrity. In taking away the neurosis of planting the flag on top of the golf mountain and daring history to beat her, she reminded us to simply enjoy the game, however well or poorly we play it. Weren’t we supposed to do that from the very beginning? Â Ochoa didn’t take any of the fire away from the love of competition, but by example, tells us to chill out. I wonder what the word for “chill out” is in Spanish.