In Attitude, Becoming a Champion

Tiger Woods is getting far more publicity than he’d like these days for a different game he plays than golf. I guess you can call it the “cheating game.” He got caught red-handed in the midst of a 3-year affair which apparently started when his wife was pregnant with the couple’s first child. (OUCH!)

Some people are self-righteously incensed with Woods for suddenly being such a bad role model, letting his fans down and being dishonest. “How dare he!” they scream. Others, perhaps who might be a tad bit jealous and envious of the man’s immense success are taking some serious delight in watching him sweat and squirm under the hot lights of the media, a once polished and fine image now terribly marred. Some people in both groups are demanding his full disclosure!

Me, I have two thoughts on the matter. First, Tiger’s private life is none of our business! Do YOU have to call up the local paper, gossip spreader or sportscaster every time that you decide to do something privately deceitful and in bad taste? If this is how he chooses to conduct himself in his marital relationship, then that’s his business, NOT OURS!

Second, I’m a bit dismayed and, yes I have to admit it, disappointed by this additional, not-so-squeaky clean information about Tiger the person. Mind you, I know absolutely nothing about Tiger other than what I’ve read, watched on TV or heard others talk about. An intensely private person (for damn good reason), Woods had carefully scripted his public image as a fierce and hard working professional, good father and spouse and an overall class act.

However, Tiger’s public image, like just about any other high visibility athlete, movie star, singer or politician is just that, an image. Most of us don’t have CLUE ONE about who these very successful people really are. We believe what we want to believe about them. We project all of our hopes, fantasies and/or resentments onto these people who, except for their skills and prodigious success, are really no more or less human than the rest of us.

Because Tiger is a superstar as a golfer, some of us might want to believe that he is also a superstar as a person, husband, father and friend. Sadly, this is not necessarily how it always works in real life. Red Sox fans may feel the same way about the seemingly huggable, lovable David Ortiz, otherwise known as “Big Pappi,” the hard hitting slugger for Boston. However, as lovable as he may be, Ortiz is a confirmed steroid user (spelled C.H.E.A.T.E.R.) along with far too many of his successful, multi-millionaire dollar colleagues to bother listing here. In addition to cheating, many other professional athletes are wife or child abusers, miserable, neglectful fathers, insensitive sons, narcissistic, egotistical, drug addicted or alcoholic and exhibit their own personal form of warts and ugly behaviors which covers the broad spectrum of human behavior.

Want to know why?

Because, despite their seemingly super hero appearance and status, every last one of these superstars are no different than the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. They are small people standing on a stool behind a curtain operating flashing lights, voice amplifiers and smoke machines to make their appearance look larger than life. But in reality, they are all just simply human. Nothing more! Nothing less!

Here’s the really ironic thing about Tiger’s latest unwilling revelations: From the outside looking in, Woods appears to have it all: Fame, Fortune, the beautiful wife and family, the high profile friends, multimillion dollar paychecks, etc.Too many of us may look longingly or even with jealousy at his life and success, wishing we could have just a little bit of that massive happiness that he appears to be enjoying.

Well, “appears” is certainly the magic word here. Money, fame, unbelievable athletic success, a picture-book marriage, etc, obviously has not made Woods very happy.If he was so happy and feeling so fulfilled the way a lot of us imagine him to be, then why on earth would he stray so far outside of his marriage? Happy people don’t behave in that way! Fact is, Tiger is human. Like it or not, he, like the rest of us has problems. Exactly what personal problems compelled him to transgress, we can only speculate about.

But, why should we take that inane tabloid route? It’s his life and, as ugly as this affair may appear from the outside looking in, it’s his personal business to work out on his own or not. Vilifying him in the media for not meeting our expectations or not “coming clean” is a bunch of self-righteous crap! Taking delight in his personal suffering or choosing to judge him for it is blatantly hypocritical.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. We all have our vulnerabilities. We all have our own personal demons that we get to choose to directly face or not. When you jump all over Tiger for not being perfect, you may be better served if you went and simply stood in front of the mirror and took a good look at yourself, (to quote Harry Stack Sullivan), for “we are all more simply human than otherwise.”

Perhaps what Tiger really needs in the end is what we all need from the people around us: A little understanding and forgiveness as well as the privacy to work his personal and relationship problems out on his own.


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