International golfer Lorena Ochoa will always be a champion
The challenges for an athlete taking on motherhood seem so daunting to me that I won’t even begin to describe them. So when the top ranked woman golfer in the world, Loreno Ochoa, announced her retirement this week, it really didn’t seem all that surprising.
Mexico’s favorite daughter follows the previous No. 1, Annika Sorenstam, who also recently left the game to raise a family and pursue her other interests, which include golf course design.
Ochoa, as brief as her career has been, has won more than $131 million and already qualified for the Hall of Fame herself, so what else does she have to prove?
There have been women who have played professional sports and managed to raise a family, including World Golf Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but it isn’t easy by any stretch. It’s a difficult calling.
This is a dilemma male athletes really don’t face. They can basically have as many kids as they want. Some of them don’t even take responsibility for them. But women? For the first nine months they have no choice. Then after that, few could argue that there’s anything stronger than a mother’s bond.
So women like Ochoa are almost forced to make a choice – family or career. For that matter, that applies to any woman, no matter what the career is. Sure, touring is tougher on the family than a career in accounting, but even a successful businesswoman, if she has husband and kids, is often unfairly perceived as neglecting her family if she’s really good at her job. After all, it is difficult to do more than one thing extremely well.
Ochoa really hasn’t played well recently, and it’s obvious this has been on her mind for quite some time. And while golf is a great test of physical skills, it tests the mental focus even more – especially at her level.
I applaud her decision to walk away on top and see what else life has to offer. In the grand scheme of things, winning golf tournaments is trivial; life is about making a difference in the lives of others. Ochoa has done that and then some, and with her philanthropic endeavors as well as her family plans, she will write new chapters.
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