Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Tiger's Downfall Is a Good Thing

Brian Prepares to Launch One Into The WoodsImage 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." 

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kc bob said...

Did you see the Bob Schieffer's comment about Tiger? You can see it here.

Brian said...

No, Bob. I hadn't seen that.

I have mixed emotions about Tiger. On the one hand, Bob's absolutely right, as I said elsewhere, Tiger sold his privacy. He can't expect to get it back. He's been paid close to $1B. If he thinks that is just for hitting a ball with a stick he's dead wrong. Schieffer's right about his opinion even if it was put a little harshly.

OTOH, Tiger has faced temptations, pressure and situations most of us can't even imagine. I can't say what I'd do given the exact same situation.

I've always said though anyone who complains about the media spotlight is free to drop out of it any time they like. If you're going to take the good, you've got to be willing to accept the bad.

okiedragon said...

Recently heard something on TV about kids and their heros - fortunately most of them responded with their heros being a family member, a teacher, coach, someone who actually walks around this world close to home.

My dad always called golf a form of pasture pool - I know it is a lot harder to hit that ball with that club than it looks - but why is it that the athletes of this country make more money for playing a game than many teachers combined make helping grow our children's minds?

A half dozen women seem to be coming out of the woodwork claiming to be his mistresses - that isn't a man who just became attracted to another woman and loved her too - this is signs of another man who could put his life in jeopardy along with his wife's thru sexually transmitted diseases - eeewwwwww.

Since I am not a fan of big sports, I have generally only seen him as a novelty since black men have not been big in this particular arena. Sports figures don't capture my imagination but then I am a woman. I can't stand the sound of a football game so I leave the room and hubby doesn't watch golf.

So when it comes to real heros - I am glad the kids choose their own dads, coaches and teachers for their inspiration - gives me hope that our sports worship isn't as bad as I had once suspected. To me he's just a dipshit for being so stupid with so many other women. Reminds me of Clinton.

kc bob said...

@Brian - Agree.. there but for the grace of God and $1 billion go I :)

@okiedragon - golf = "pasture pool".. as a pool shooter I take offense.. with a smile of course :)

okiedragon said...

I guess Tiger's mother-in-law has taken ill - I am a mother-in-law myself. If you think about being the parent of the daughter who's husband is fooling around - and the anguish caused to your child - it does not seem quite as easily brushed aside.

Kansas Bob - notice I didn't call Tiger a dog - as I personally love dogs. Nods!