Image by BrianWestChest via Flickr
I've watched what Tiger has been going through over the past couple of weeks with great interest, some sadness and a lot of compassion. I'm one of Tiger's biggest fans. I feel horribly for Tiger and Elin and his kids. But, there's a silver lining in Tiger's "downfall". That silver lining is we need our icons knocked off of their pedestals every once in a while so the rest of us can maintain some perspective.
Like millions of others, I have watched Tiger grow up. I've fantasized about living his dream life. Professional golfer. Most recognized athlete in the world. Richest athlete in the world. Married to a knock-out blonde. Mind like a steel trap. Built like a Greek god. Two beautiful children. I mean Tiger had it all. What more could you possibly hope for. I'd watch Tiger and think "Of the billions of people on the planet, how did this get get the fortune/karma to be Tiger Woods?" I'd watch Tiger and fantasize about his "perfect" life. Wow. What would be like to be like Tiger? Why couldn't my life be more like that? It's easy to get caught up in that. I mean Tiger carefully projected the near-perfect image. The only fault we could find with Tiger was he's too competitive. Every once in a while he'd let loose with a blue streak of swear words. Other than that, perfect.
The reaction to Tiger's downfall has been pretty predicatable. Some are outraged at him. How dare he let us down? (Did we forget that who he let down was Elin, his kids and himself?). Women it seeems are more angry at him. Men (more easily seeing themselves in Tiger's behavior) seem to be much quicker to forgive. Me, while I feel sorry for Tiger, I look at this as a teaching moment for my children and a reminder to myself. In a way, I'm glad it happened. I hope Tiger's marriage survives it and is stronger going forward.
Tiger's downfall is a reminder that no matter what we have, we are all still (only) human. No amount of money, or fame or power makes us immune from making the stupid mistakes that humans make. No one's life is perfect no matter how it looks from the outside. We all have our insecurities, our temptations and our imperfections. A few years back when Michael Jordan was "the man" there was a commercial "Be like Mike" was the tag line. Honestly, there was a time when I could have said the words "I want to be like Tiger." and really meant them. To have his golf swing, his looks, his money. Right now, not so much. I wouldn't trade what I have right now for all of Tiger's fame and fortune. Today, I'm guessing if Tiger knew who I was, Tiger might say "I want to be like Brian."