The Prodigy

This article is more than 15 years old.

The stiff neck that I wake with and the pain behind my knee
Are earned. I am a beat-up guy, as any guy might be
Who's worked and raised up kids and also played a little sports...
And I could live with all the dings, but for this week's reports
That seem to me to make a case that time is not the stuff
That qualifies a person in the world of sports. It's tough,
In any case, to see the stars get younger every day,
But when the g.m.'s do it too, what's left for us to say?
The Rangers, in a bid to move from merely blah to great,
Have hired a general manager who's only twenty eight.
I guess this would be well and good, acceptable and fine --
Two years ago the Red Sox guy was only twenty nine --
But in the week the news in Texas broke we came to know
That golf's most stunning prodigy is really turning pro,
And when the news of that appeared on my computer screen,
Michelle Wie, who's the prodigy, was not yet quite sixteen.

Not quite sixteen. The context to which you'll, perhaps, relate
Is that Ms. Wie, in years, has not yet quite reached two times eight.
Her peers are dreaming of a day that's still some time away
When they can drive to school. Meanwhile, Michelle will weekly play
With women who hire baby-sitters older than Michelle...
And cannot hit the ball as far or hit it half as well
As she can. It's some solace that Ms Wie will hike the pay
Of all the women on the tour, as Tiger in his day,
Did for the men, who didn't much resent the way he won
The biggest prizes on the tour when he had just begun...

But what of all the baseball men who've worked for years as scouts
Or personnel directors because owners had their doubts
If they were truly ready to make trades and build a team,
When they were not yet fifty five or sixty? Might it seem
A terrible injustice to these patient, solid, sad
Guys, when a fellow far too young to be Michelle Wie's dad
Achieves the top job with the Rangers. Gee, he's twenty eight.
Don't get me wrong. I wish him luck. I hope it turns out great...

But if these trends continue, golfers will know it's too late
To play the game at all if they can't play it when they're ten,
And guys who work in offices will have to think again
Before deciding sixty five's a happy quitting time;
At sixty five they'll be about four decades past their prime.

This program aired on October 7, 2005. The audio for this program is not available.