Defining today’s athletes

In the world of sports, athletes are considered competitors, front runners and legends.

Competitors try to make a living at their craft each week be it on the field, links, lanes, courts or pitch. These people feel the necessity to make a pay check each week.

Front runners are expected to win their respective challenge each week, but some seldom accomplish this feat due to the immense amount of competition.

Legends have made their mark on the sport and set the pace or lofty goals for their followers to match.

One such competitor established a mark on the fairways in Scotland. Phil Mickelson joined a short list of golfers to have won three of the sport’s major tournaments. Mickelson shot a 5-under par 66 to win his first British Open Sunday. He demonstrated his ability to fight off troubles, bad shots and putts to finally put his name on the Claret Jug.

Mickelson added the British Open title to his three Masters’ titles and one PGA Championship. He has finished runner up in the U.S. Open six times.

Another competitor on the fairways battling for a title is Paula Creamer on the LPGA Tour. Creamer’s last tournament win was the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open. Creamer was unable to shake off her putting woes Sunday at the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio. She battled some of the young guns and legends of the sport, but lost by two strokes to Beatriz Recari. Creamer was able to solidify her spot on the Solheim Cup with her second place finish.

Every other year the American and European ladies play for the trophy and money, but the ultimate prize is the win for their country.

This accomplishment is what builds the foundation of legends.

As I am an avid golfer and one-time bowler in my younger days – my fondest memory of learning how to lose on the lanes was in 1994. I was bowling in a regional event in northern Ohio against a man larger than life in stature and ability. His name is Dave D’Entremont.

D’Entremont defeated me by 100 pins that day. I was able to muster a 195 on a tough pattern, but “Double D” as he is known on the PBA Tour, bowled a near-perfect game 295. He had a washout five count on his last ball. He shook my hand and went on to his next match, I packed up my equipment and went to the lounge for some spiritual relief.

Some moments later, a shadow was cast over my person. It was D’Entremont coming in to find relief.

His was in the words of an apology for handing me my first loss as an regional bowler.

D’Entremont has retired from the sport due to injuries, but I keep in contact with a man I consider a competitor and legend. Double D is still a giant in life to me.

Contact Eddie Thomas at ethomas@newsandsentinel.com