It was hardly shocking news, and not just because we reported this would happen back in March.
The United States Golf Association announced last week that the U.S. Open for All Experience — the five-day fan festival that comes along with the U.S. Open — will not be in University Place when golfers tee off at Chambers Bay next month.
Or Tacoma. Or even Pierce County.
No, the fan fest will take place in Seattle at South Lake Union Park (of course). Perhaps the only thing more inevitable is TV coverage of the tournament relying on heavy doses of Pike Place fish-throwing and Pearl Jam riffs.
“Because this is the first championship in the Pacific Northwest, it seemed like the best practice that we could possibly do to be as inclusive as possible,” Diana Murphy, USGA vice president, explained of the decision.
Translation: Dude, it’s Seattle. We’re not going to bring the U.S. Open to the Pacific Northwest and ignore the biggest, shiniest, richest city of them all.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped the outcry.
Tom McCarthy, a candidate in the crowded District 3 Tacoma City Council race, took to Facebook to vent: “Why is it that the five-day US Open Fan Event is taking place in Seattle and NOT in Tacoma? The fact is that we live in a wonderful city that does not promote itself effectively.”
Kris “Sonics Guy” Brannon got in on the social media action: “Well it looks like Tacoma gets the golf shaft of the stick once again.”
One of these men just earned my vote.
Here’s the thing, though: Living in the shadow of Seattle can be frustrating. It’s full of slights. Whether it’s a major golf championship or some no-name beer blogger from the Seattle PI, there’s always someone, or something, to remind you that we’re a perennial second fiddle here in T-Town.
But, just this once, let’s keep things in perspective. The U.S. Open, the Super Bowl of golf and an effort a decade in the making for this region, is coming here, to Pierce County, in six weeks.
And Seattle just got its crumbs.
I say let Seattle have the U.S. Open for All Experience. We can go DIY, and create our own Pierce County fan fest. Let’s serve sandwiches from MSM, pizza from the Cloverleaf and, if the current trend continues (and golf fans are willing to wait a few extra weeks), beer from The Defiant Goldfish.
As I wrote last week, two hopeful local businessmen, Adam Dopps and Corey Webb, are working to reopen the iconic Tacoma tavern — best known as simply The Goldfish — by late June. They’re currently gathering microloans through a Seattle-based “social purpose corporation” called Community Sourced Capital, which helps connect small business owners with what it calls “mission-aligned funders.”
The loans, from average folks like you and me, can be as small as $50.
At this time last week The Defiant Goldfish had just over $8,000 in pledged microloans.
Now? On Monday Dopps and Webb officially surpassed their $18,000 goal, meaning the final total – with a max of $25,000 – will be matched by a nonprofit financing institution known as Craft3. Dopps says that will be enough to get The Defiant Goldfish’s doors open.
Good job, Tacoma.
When Dopps and Webb do open for business, we should ride our bikes there. Sure, Tacoma-Pierce County Bike Month will be over (it’s May), but let’s not let that stop us.
As The News Tribune’s Kenny Ocker, a man who routinely pedals to work, was quick to point out after my bike-curious column last week, “Every month is Bike Month.”
He has a point. But there was one interesting factoid worth reporting that failed to make it into print.
There’s a bicycle gender gap.
Diane Wiatr, Tacoma’s active transportation coordinator, told me that the number of women cycling in Tacoma is significantly less than men. While the state’s annual point-in-time snapshot of people riding bikes in Tacoma tallied 621 riders on one day last fall, only 28 percent of them were women.
“Women are statistically more safety conscious than men,” Wiatr observes.
The silver lining? Tacoma is above the statewide average, which in 2013 was a mere 19 percent women riders.
And the ultimate takeaway? Anything we, as a city, can continue to do to make bicycling safer — be it more bike lanes or, even better, paths that separate bicycle and automobile traffic — will probably help reduce this gender discrepancy.
Bikes for all.