While I don’t adhere to the belief of many that athletes can and should
be role models, unfortunately and undeniably, they are. Children look
up to athletes and try to emulate them on and off the playing field. If
you don’t believe watch as they mimic their moves touchdown
celebrations, stick their tongues out when taking a jumper, twirl their
club after a good drive and they stand and admire a home run blast.
They do that because they want to someday become the athletes they
admire when their young.
For many parents, Tiger Woods was the one of the few athletes they
could actually encourage their children to aspire to be. Not because he
was the best golfer on the planet and not because he had built a
financial empire that would make Bill Gates envious. But because parents
gravitated toward Woods and even pushed their kids into his footsteps
because he appeared to be the exception the rule. The one athlete who
came from a good family, learned that hard work would net results and
one that had the morals that all parents aspire their children to
strive for. Unfortunately those dreams have been dashed by Tiger’s
recent admissions and his life, like so many other athletes before him,
has turned into yet another nightmare.
But are these revelations about Tiger having an affair with at least
one, if not more women who were not his wife really that shocking? Did
you really expect Tiger to be a superman on and off the links?
And please don’t misunderstand me as condoning his behavior because I’m
likely more disappointed than most of the youngsters old enough to
understand what he did. I’m disappointed because even being as cynical
as I am when it comes to athletes and sports in general, I truly
believed that Tiger was as close to a role model as you can get these
days and I appreciated that. But just like so many have done before
him, Eldrick Woods failed to live up to the standards the Tiger Woods
persona created. You know the image. The one that has been carefully
sculpted since he first burst onto the scene almost 20 years ago
destined for super stardom. The same image that would leave you to
believe he can not only drive the ball 350 yards and drop 30-foot
triple-breaking putts, but walk on water as well. The perfect
spokesman, the perfect philanthropist, the perfect father, the perfect
husband, was actually anything but.
While I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see this one coming, it wasn’t because I
didn’t think Tiger was capable of such behavior, it was because I
thought Tiger would have learned from the Jordans and Kobes who came
before him. I thought he would have known that eventually all secrets
in the Information Age become public knowledge.
And let’s be honest, if
you have a blonde Swedish model waiting for you when you get home, do
you really need to go out skirtchasing when you hit the road? Anybody
dumb enough to risk that in favor of some random bar skank deserves
more of a penalty than a $164 fine and some minor cuts on his face. And
Tiger will suffer more than that, you can take that to the bank. Just
don’t wait too long or Tiger’s wife Elin will beat you to it.
We all covered the kids’ ears when you shanked your drive into the
woods and belted out profanities like a drunken sailor and we told the
kids it wasn’t your fault when you screamed at the overzealous photags
clicking in your backswing. We told the little ones you were under a
lot of stress when you whipped your clubs like a spoiled brat and we
said you had your reasons when you blew off the interviews after
choking the lead down the stretch. But this is where I must draw the
line Mr. Woods. You’re no longer keeping up your end in being an
almost-role model and I’m no longer a fan.