Replacing What We’ve Lost

January 1, 2022

It came in a simply worded email a couple of weeks ago.  The Danielle Downey Golf Classic will not return in 2022.  Named in honor of one of Rochester’s golf heroes, the Downey Classic had a successful seven-year run at Brook Lea.  The organizing committee chairman noted that, “We are somewhat saddened by what we feel may be the end of an era in Rochester.”  Indeed.

High School Sports Beat story on the 2019 Danielle Downey Classic, by reporter Paul Gotham & videographer Kyle O’Gara

The Symetra Tour event came on the heels of the of the LPGA leaving Rochester in 2014.  There had been a women’s professional tournament in Rochester every summer since 1977.  That’s 45 years.  What else lasts that long?  The mutual love affair peaked in the years that Pat Bradley, Nancy Lopez and Patty Sheehan were dominating the tour.  When the names became less familiar, the newness began to fade, and the LPGA fell out of favor here – in a long, painful decline.  Money was the stated issue, but we simply fell out of love with watching women’s golf.

LPGA golfer Nancy Lopez displays the Vare trophy after being named 1979 Player of the Year during an LPGA luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria on New York City on Jan. 10, 1980. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

The same as we did with professional soccer.  The Rochester Rhinos were the hottest ticket in town in the 90s.   Enough so that we built them their own stadium.  Then when Yari Allnutt, Scott Schweitzer and Bill Andracki exited the stage, we fell out of love with the team.  And it went away.

Change is constant.  Change is tough.  And it becomes more difficult as we get older, and what we perceive as the “good old days” are left further behind.  We turn a page every December 31st, and hope for the best in the New Year.  As we try to find some comfort in ways to replace what we’ve lost.

Watch Bill Pucko every weekend on The Press Box, airing on 13-WHAM ABC in Rochester, NY

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