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Sports for Girls: Danica Patrick, Bethany Hamilton, and Selena Roberts

Sports for Girls: Danica Patrick, Bethany Hamilton, and Selena Roberts

Danica Patrick came in third place at the Indianapolis 500, which was her personal best for that race.  Bethany Hamilton hit the headlines for the first time when she lost her arm and almost her life in a shark attack while surfing six years ago. Sports Illustrated reporter, and out lesbian, Selena Roberts, she’s written for college and professional football, tennis, motor sports and baseball. Plus, golfers Cheyenne Woods and Nancy Lopez. 

They say that trouble comes in threes, but I think luck does also. I was born on the thirdand have won all my millions playing black and red 3 in roulette around the corner at Atlantic City. I’m modest and have given most of it away to petting zoos and mental hospitals, so that’s why I write this column.

My point…and I do have one, is that three was a very good number Memorial Day weekend for Danica Patrick. She came in third place at the Indianapolis 500, which was her personal best for that race. She arrived at Indy on the heels of two consecutive top-five finishes at Long Beach and Kansas and had posted eighth places in ‘06 and ’07. In 2008 she was running solidly in tenth place when she swept into a pit-lane accident.

Team owner Michael Andretti said he is firmly convinced that Patrick is capable of winning the biggest and most lucrative race on the IndyCar Series calendar, but she’s been criticized for emotional outbursts, including after the pit-lane accident. Patrick had to be restrained by a league security guard after she stomped out of her car to confront her competitor.

"I hope that it's a little bit more contained and hopefully it doesn't reach the level that it did last year," Patrick said of her temper. "I'm learning, and I'm learning how everything I say and everything I do, I just have to imagine that it's all on camera. She’s getting closer and closer. Maybe luck will be with her next year for a first place finish.

Danica started Indy in position 10 with a qualifying speed of 222.882 mph. Driving a car that fast is gutsy…even if it is all left hand turns. I’ve got something else that I find very gutsy. Let me just give you the headline:

Surfer Girl Rides Waves Again After Losing Arm from Shark Attack

Surfing off the coast of Hawaii six years ago, Bethany Hamilton hit the headlines for the first time when she lost her arm and almost her life in a shark attack while surfing. On Halloween, back in 2003 she went for a morning surf with her friend, father and brother. She was lying sideways on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 15 ft tiger shark attacked her, taking her left arm off just below the shoulder. She considers herself lucky: two more inches, and the attack would have been fatal.

Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Three weeks after the incident, she returned to her board and went surfing again.  She is now on the professional surfing circuit, and has become known for her courage and positive attitude. 

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My third gutsy woman is Sports Illustrated reporter, and out lesbian, Selena Roberts. This woman was also a sports columnist for the New York Times and since 1986 she’s written for college and professional football, tennis, motor sports and baseball. Her latest venture is a tell all book about Alex Rodriquez: A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriquez.

The sports' shit has hit the fan for her, like a syringe needle full of steroids hits a ball player’s arm. ESPN has black balled her because she snubbed them and gave her first interview to Bob Costas and the Today Show. Kansas City Star journalist Jason Whitlock and New York Times journalist Murray Chass have weighed in as highly critical of her book because she relies on many anonymous sources.

The simple fact is the book is brutal. Roberts paints Rodriguez as a bad teammate, hedonistic and self -destructive. Page 87, Former Mariners teammate: “He’d put one of those self-help books in front of his locker. He wanted us to see it: Look, I’m improving myself.”

Page 196: He is so infatuated with (Tom) Brady that buddies would joke about their bromance.”

A-Rod has responded by saying Roberts is stalking him.

FYI, the sports' blog Deadspin found out that Selena Roberts is the daughter of hobos…well, actually hippie drifters that did some hoboing on the side…not that there is anything wrong with it.

That’s a nice piece of Soap Opera sports, so I thought I might give you a little “Young and Restless” in some golf news.

For the “Young” I bring you Cheyenne Woods. If the last name sounds familiar, that would be because she calls Tiger Woods “Uncle”. She has been extended a sponsor invitation to play in the Wegmans LPGA in New York in late June. It will be her LPGA debut.

For the “Restless” I bring you Nancy Lopez. At 52, and the mother of three daughters, she’s preparing for empty-nest syndrome and is becoming more visible on the LPGA tour. She’s hoping to work up to ten events a year.

“I miss it,” she told The Nashville Tennessean. “I’ve got that competitive spirit.”

…and with that, I’m going to work on my own slice and try to relax that death grip I have on my woods--see you soon on the couch.

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Helen Wortham