From the Editor

Drescher: Fathers and daughters, golf and dreams

jdrescher@newsobserver.comJuly 4, 2014 

Frank Maynard III and daughter Laney, 7, left, and Matthew Cafarella and daughter Isabella, 6, watch Lucy Li tee off during the second day of play at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on June 20.


When Matthew Cafarella and Frank Maynard III took their young daughters to the second day of the U.S. Women’s Open in Pinehurst in June, there was no doubt the girls wanted to see Lucy Li, the amazing 11-year-old from California who was the youngest player ever to qualify for a Women’s Open.

Cafarella and Maynard, who work at UNC’s Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, and their daughters went to the first tee at the Pinehurst No. 2 course. But a crowd had gathered to watch Lucy, and the girls couldn’t get a good view.

So they skipped ahead to the tee at the third hole and secured a good spot. Each girl perched on her father’s shoulders, and they were spotted by News & Observer photographer Corey Lowenstein, who captured the moment. We published the photo the next day, Saturday, June 21.

“I like the way my daughter’s eyes were absolutely glued on Lucy,” Cafarella, father of 6-year-old Isabella, told me this week. “She was thrilled at the idea of going (to Pinehurst to watch the women).”

Maynard’s 7-year-old daughter, Laney, also was excited, especially about seeing Lucy. “All day, that’s what she said she wanted to do: ‘I want to see the 11-year-old, I want to see the 11-year-old,’” Maynard told me.

Golf can be difficult to photograph. The click of the camera shutter shouldn’t be heard while a player is swinging. So as Lowenstein, who has worked at The N&O for 18 years, was photographing the Cafarellas and Maynards, she had to look over her shoulder to make sure she wasn’t making noise while the golfers were mid-swing on their drives.

“I loved seeing the dads share the moment of watching the 11-year-old phenom,” Lowenstein said.

Me too. When the U.S. Open golf tournaments (men’s and women’s) came to Pinehurst last month, we prepared for coverage that no news outlet had ever done before: back-to-back Opens on the same golf course. The two tournaments had never been played liked that.

‘Flooding the zone’

Under the leadership of sports editor Steve Ruinsky, we employed a tactic sometimes known as “flooding the zone.” In our case, that meant joining forces with our colleagues at The Charlotte Observer to assemble a large team of reporters, columnists and photographers.

For two weeks, they produced a wave of strong reporting, writing and images for our print paper and various digital editions.

If I had to pick a favorite photograph, I’d make a sentimental choice and choose Lowenstein’s photograph of the fathers and daughters.

The photo reminded me of my daughters 12 to 15 years ago. I didn’t know what to do with three daughters. So I did what my father did with me: I took them to sporting events.

In my daughters’ case, that mostly was women’s college sports – basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball and track and field. (I never attempted to take my children to a golf tournament; I knew my oldest daughter, an energetic chatterbox, could never have kept quiet.)

Cafarella, 35, of Chapel Hill, and Maynard, 38, of Durham, had similar motivations. Both like sports; both like playing sports with their daughters. They want their girls to see determined women (and one determined 11-year-old girl) strive to achieve. They want their daughters to have the same competitive spirit as the female golfers they saw.

“My hope is she just has the confidence knowing she can do whatever she wants to do … whether it’s in sports or in the real world of working,” Maynard said of Laney.

I can’t measure it but I think it makes a difference for girls to watch talented, determined women play sports – and dream of someday doing something big. Lowenstein’s photograph reminded me of the power of fathers, daughters and dreams.

Drescher: 919-829-4515 or; Twitter: @john_drescher

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