In the dictionary– as in life– success follows sacrifice, and one is seldom made aware of exactly what needed to be sacrificed in order to achieve those sought-after successes. For Sally Little, she soon realized the sacrifices she had made and the toll the game of golf had taken on her body. She needed to overcome these challenges by fighting through the obstacles to win back her health and fitness.
Sally confides that she always thought that she would have children: “I couldn’t have children and this is one of my biggest regrets. I had some huge issues, female problems, very early on in my life. By the time I was twenty five I had a full hysterectomy.” This is the first of a series of serious operations. For an entire year, throughout 1983, she gave up golf, suffering not only from endometriosis (a debilitating glandular growth in the pelvic cavity which occurs when tissue identical to the uterine lining grows abnormally elsewhere in the body – in Sally’s case, in the abdomen) but also from the effects of the drugs she was taking to treat the condition. It was a process, she said, that limited her play right in the prime of her career and turned her into a weakling, robbing her of the concentration, strength and the will needed to succeed at one of the most unforgiving of sports.
One side effect of the drugs was water retention, which most affected her grip, a fundamental key to good play: “I didn’t grip the club the same way. I changed my grip three times just trying to feel the same as before.” These health issues later extended to a breakdown of her pancreas, causing it to not functioning efficiently and was at risk of shutting down and ending not only Sally’s career but her life.
However, her journey to recovery did not go unnoticed. She was awarded the Golf Writers’ Association of America’s Ben Hogan award for adversity, which was a major recognition of all Sally’s hardship during her battle with endometriosis. It is an award presented to an individual who has continued to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
Despite all of these health issues, Sally still notes that these are minor obstacles she overcame in relation to the challenges of male patriarchy: “I overcame the male disease of patriarchal dominance. Of all the trophies I have won, this is a challenge that I still need to continue defeating.”
Journey with Sally Little as she reveals her fighting spirit in winning back her fitness and her right to play on the greens in the face of gender discrimination in her biography “Capturing The Fire.”
Join us at the Book Launch of Sally Little ‘Capturing the Fire’ on the 4th October 2016, 18:30 pm at the Table Bay Hotel. Proudly presented by UniMedia Pro and partnered with The City of Cape Town, Sun International Table Bay Hotel and in association with Khuphula Pigments, Gallop Marketing, Maserati, West Rand Panel Beaters and Real Promotions.