So the LPGA tour stop in Rochester will bow to the wishes of the PGA of America, KPMLG, and NBC Golf Channel. Most look forward to better national and international coverage, bigger purses, greater attraction of the golfing elite female players. It is hyped as a “win-win” situation. All I can say is that Stacy Lewis says the Rochester tour had a homey feel. I can guarantee that homey feel will be missing because big somehow kills it dead. This country has long lived on two things: greater publicity and money. The trade here, is that homey feeling that Rochester brought to the pro and amateur alike. Here, again, I offer a parallel by use of a personal story.
I reported years ago on a little farm chess tournament annually held over Labor Day weekend. It attracted a small group who traveled to the event held by a farmer in his barn which he had made attractive and all had a great time. There were an elite list of friends who looked forward to the annual menu and game play competition. As the Region II Director, I had set up the rule that no open tournament could be organized that conflicted with the known events over any three-day weekend within the western NY state region. It was to avoid conflicts and protect organized annual events.
The powers that be were bent on nailing down that weekend permanently, holding a huge regional event in Rochester, NY. I was the lone NO vote and I gave my reasons before the group who simply said I was standing in the way of advancement toward promoting chess because of this hick town event.. Well, you probably guess the result. Years later, and never getting any feedback from anyone who attended the farmer’s tournament, one chess master, who told me that my long time organizer and friend blamed me for letting this happen. In fact, the master refused to attend any Rochester sponsored event since. I made no attempt other than what I stated above to him that I was outvoted. You might now wonder what the result was from all this.
This led to my being removed as a NYSCA rep and USCF Director. That is understandable given the power of size and money in America. But do you know what? I was glad to shed the teamwork I had thought I amassed in making chess a special place in society, especially with that word “integrity” and that word “honor”. I devoted time to school, work and family enjoyment with gardening as a hobby. Today, only the Marchand Open event is a major locally. To me there is no honor or integrity left when size and money is involved. I find that success today is measured strictly by material considerations.
I still support the Rochester Chess Center started by the Lohrman family. My wife and I had proposed that the location was ideal for combining chess lessons with physical activity. As my wife wisely said, “its promoting body and mind.” Leave it to a wise lady. I liked that idea and so did Ron. I am still a dues paying member and support the club reporting on their activities. Club chess instructors conduct lessons in many area schools and operate a school tournament schedule. It has a knack for developing numbers of talented young players whether they play in tournaments or just for fun. I have long ago given up playing tournament chess for health reasons. As my wise mother told me when I was just a little boy, there is a time for birth, a time for growing, a time to enjoy the fruits of labor, and a peace that ripens with age.
My point is that the joy of golf is not dead in and nearby surrounding communities where the LPGA had developed a 37-year local fame. Golf will prosper because it has a following of both area pros, scholastic programs, and club members that span a large region. Having said that, I go back to what lady Stacy Lewis had to say about it, “The Rochester tour stop had a homey feel.” I do hope when the LPGA goes to a new home in the New York City area that the elite pros will come away year after year with that “homey feeling“. For some anyway, those who braved it to our little city tour stop will find New York City hospitality equal to Rochester. Somehow, I rather think there will be something lacking until it builds a historic semblance of what Rochester brought to Ladies Golf. And I hope those gals who played and entertained here will always cherish those tour stops and find reward and such friendships in years to come.
They will all come to find as I have, that life has many holes– many ups and downs. With success and work ethic comes financial joy and knowing how to handle it with grace and fond memories emerges within the spirit and character of each. Like I wrote many years ago, “Life is like a bowl of cherries. It is full of pits!”