I’ll start this rant by saying I’m a solid 16 handicap and that’s on a good day, with ideal golfing conditions and just the right amount of swing oil. So when I read the story of young Emily Nash from Lunenburg High School in Massachusetts being screwed over because of her gender I was outraged. Nash is the best Division 3 golfer, male or female, in central Massachusetts, and maybe one of the best high school players in the entire state, but she won’t have a chance to prove it because she is a girl.
Since Nash’s high school team doesn’t have a full girls’ team, she plays as an individual in the spring competing against other high school girls in the state, and competes with the boys’ team in the fall…from their tees mind you.
Playing against boys last week in the state sectional, from the same tees, Nash won the sectional tournament with a 3 over 75, yet is ineligible to advance to next this week’s statewide contest, which is boys’ only, by rule. She didn’t even get to keep her first-place trophy; it was awarded to the runner-up.
In a statement from MIAA Associate Director Richard Pearson he refused to even acknowledge Emily’s name.
The MIAA and its member schools congratulate all golfers on their performance at the recent fall sectional team golf tournament. In particular, the skill of the female golfer from Lunenburg was on display as she represented her personal ability and effort on behalf of the Lunenburg High School Boys Golf Team.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association defended its rule in a press release last week, reiterating that Nash’s scores — during the fall boys’ season — could only count toward a team total and not individually. Her individual scores can only count in the spring during the girls’ season.
No trophy, no shot at states, no recognition for her incredible accomplishment. Great job by one of the most liberal states in the country.
But who’s getting the last laugh it’s Emily. By yesterday, her story had gotten the attention of many in the golf world who felt the MIAA made the wrong decision, including that of World Golf Hall of Fame Member Annika Sorenstam.
A 72 time winner on the LPGA and 10-time major winner, Sorenstam extended an invitation to the “female golfer from Lunenberg” as the MIAA referred to Nash, to play in the AJGA’s Annika Invitational, which features the top junior female golfers from around the world. The tournament will be played Jan. 12-15, 2018 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida.
To the MIAA, as a supporter of youth sports in Massachusetts, and some one with just a bit of common sense, if you win playing by the rules, then you win, plain and simple. Give Emily the trophy and the shot to compete, she’s earned it.
To Emily Nash, keep up the outstanding play and good luck in January and the spring season, remember to play your game and ignore the noise outside.
To Annika Sorenstam, as someone who face the challenge of competing with “boys” and all the vitriol you endured playing at Colonial in 2003, you know first hand what Emily Nash is going through. She just wants to play a sport she loves, inviting her to play in the AJGA Annika Invitational is amazing. You embody what it means to be a Hall of Famer, Kudos!