Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Tiger Post
• Tiger Woods. What can I say about you that hasn’t already been said? You cheated on your wife with a porn star. Or maybe you didn’t. And your wife beat you upside your head with one of your golf clubs. Or maybe she used said club to save your life (we KNOW next to nothing!). What we do know is that you were asleep on your lawn. Barefoot. I think it’s important to recognize that there are only a few individuals who know something in the ballpark of the truth, even fewer who know the actual truth, and none of the individuals reading this know anything. Except that Tiger was asleep and snoring on his lawn. Barefoot.
• The shock of Tiger’s dalliances have in fact created a maelstrom of dialog regarding male/female relationships; some quality, some not so much. But I’m still not sure why Tiger has inspired these conversations. He never held himself out as a moral crusader, at least not in the marital sense. Not that he showed himself to be immoral, but it seems clear that morals never figured into his carefully crafted public image. In fact, he never provided the public with any real ideas concerning his personality or urges. Yet folks seem to have understood his stoicism to be a sign that he would never cheat on his wife. But folks ignored the fact that he’s a highly-successful, highly paid athlete just like any other (giving true meaning to the notion that golf is a “gentleman’s sport”). It is quite possible that the only difference between Tiger and Shaun Kemp is that Kemp never had enough sense to wrap it up (I guess I’m assuming that there isn’t a paternity suit against Tiger in the works. I wonder if he assumes the same…).
• I am now thoroughly convinced that what makes an athlete truly great (in that MJ, Tiger, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown form of greatness) also makes him the opposite of what one should aspire to personally be. None of the “All-Timers” were genuinely good people, and that most definitely includes the individual I hold up as the closest to being a hero: Muhammad Ali.
• One of the few conversations I’m interested in regarding Tiger is why he cheated. Did he cheat because he couldn’t control his sexual urges (I truly do sympathize with that, but shame on him, as he broke a promise. Not a promise to God, but one to another person)? Did he cheat because his specific marriage wasn’t happy (don’t know what to say about that…)? Or (and here’s my fear), is the entire institution of marriage one of misery for those living within it? But as I write this it is becoming clear to me that there’s no way to know what marriage entails until you’re in it, so there’s no real way to know whether marriage is “for you” before you're in one.
• As I read the stories about Tiger, one excuse for him continues to be used: the media scrutiny is greater now than it ever has been, and if Tiger had been the institution that he is back in 1960, the public never even hears about this. I firmly agree with this one. So what? He got caught doing something (again, we don’t know what, other than that he cheated), and the fact that everyone else is doing it does not justify his actions. And please believe: I am not holier than thou in discussing this. I am not sure how I would respond to the amount of… (ahem…action) Tiger received. It was a difficult situation (has a larger understatement ever been written? Women were throwing it at Tiger like he alone possessed the cure to breast cancer, and we all expected him to turn it down? Really? The only mystery here concerns why Tiger chose some of the least attractive women known in the groupie world. As an aside, golf groupies must rank somewhere between professional fishing and bull riding on the groupie scale. You know, if he actually slept with those women who we’ve seen pictures of. Now my head hurts. Let’s just move on). However, to me, “everyone else was doing it” simply doesn’t justify Tiger here, just like that line of argument did not justify Barry Bonds in his performance enhancing drug use.