A Pro, But Still Just A Teenager
Wednesday - October 12, 2005
I hope you don’t mind me taking a little different slant on the Michelle Wie story. That’s what you have to call her, not Michelle, not just Wie. If you’re a sports fan, and even if you’re not, you refer to her by using her full name. Michelle Wie.
And I don’t want to talk about Michelle Wie as a golfer, or even as the sport’s newest millionaire.
Oh yes, I know about her golfing skill. Magnificent. Amazing. Spectacular. Hits long drives like men. Has an unbelievable touch around the green. Works hard to get better. I can’t say enough about her skills on the course.
And I know all about her new millions. The multimillion-dollar contracts with NIKE and SONY and her half-million-dollar donation to the Hurricane Katrina fund. Yes, I know about Michelle Wie, the business, too.
What I’d like to talk about is Michelle Wie, the teenager.
You see, I know something about teenagers. I have four of them. And my youngest daughter, Amanda, turns 16 years old this week, the same week Michelle Wie turns 16 years old.
I know my Amanda. She’s into her friends, her cell phone, windsurfing, and talking on the computer. I never realized how many teenagers talk on the computer, so this is all new to me. She’s into making jewelry and, sometimes, even her own clothes. She has a real knack for that.
And Amanda studies hard, too. Just like Michelle Wie, she goes to Punahou, and she knows that she has to stay on top of her academics. It’s not uncommon to see her up late, writing a paper on the computer. After she’s done talking to her friends, of course.
She’s an incredible young lady, my Amanda. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
She’s just 16. She has her whole lifetime ahead of her. Wow, just the thought of that is mind-boggling.
And that’s what really blows me away about Michelle Wie. She’s also just turning 16 years old this week. With all she’s accomplished both on and off the golf course, she, too, has her whole life in front of her.
When she walks into a room now, just like she did at a worldwide press conference at the Kahala Mandarin Hotel last week, she does it in style. She’s grace and class and talent, all rolled up in a 16-year-old body.
Sixteen years old. I can’t emphasize that enough.
But on the Punahou campus, she’s just like the other teenagers. Sometimes proud. Sometimes a little scared. But ever hopeful.
Just like my Amanda, she enjoys her time with her friends and her classmates. Sure, Michelle Wie stands out. Who wouldn’t at 6-feet-1-inch tall? And even taller when she wears heels. But you can tell from her magnificent smile that she can escape into the world of a teenager when she’s at school at Punahou.
She’s only 16.
So, when I hear some people criticize Michelle Wie for turning pro too early or for not winning enough tournaments - yet! - or for gaining too much attention too fast, I say hold on there. This is a young lady who loves her family, loves her home, and who has been blessed with unbelievable skills. I say use those skills - whether they’ve been achieved in music or theatre, or clothing design, or golf - and continue to get even better at them.
Sure, she might miss out on one of the school dances. But she’s not going to miss out on much. She still has plenty of time to be a teenager.
And that’s what makes me feel so incredibly emotional this week. Choked up, actually. My daughter and B.J. Wie’s daughter are both celebrating their 16th birthday. Both of us couldn’t be more proud of our daughters of Hawaii.
They’re both worth millions. Especially in our hearts.
Happy Birthday, Amanda Hogue. And Happy Birthday, Michelle Wie. Conquer the world, ladies. It’s your world to conquer.
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