Friday, February 19, 2010
There he stood, at the barest of podiums, looking as unsure of what he was doing as most of us would sitting 27 yards from the pin and no caddy to assure us what club we should use. Let's face it, this apology was one of the most difficult things for a person like Tiger Woods to do that any of us could imagine. It was rehearsed. It was hard for him to know how to inflect and say things the way the audience of millions watching would want him to. And I think he's proven, he's not a very good actor. That being said, he did it, going very deep into accepting his responsibility for things, and offering us a glimpse of his path to come. He apologized.
But that's just it. Did Tiger Woods owe us an apology? Or perhaps we owed him an apology? Or maybe both.
Women seem to have the biggest gripe with Tiger. "He's a pig," they'll say outright, as if any of them have walked even a step in this guy's shoes. Or as if they've never committed a sin in their lives. Naturally, the fact that Woods had a mistress in every city makes him an adulterer, albeit a rather copious one. But again, does that mean he should apologize to us?
To his sponsors, who pay him, he owes an apology.
To his foundation, he owes a tremendous apology.
To his wife and children foremost, he not only owes an apology -- he owes countless moments that have yet to come: of explanation, of apology, of consolation....of simply time attempting to rewrite history if he can.
But to the public, I say he owes very little. Why? Because he didn't make himself a celebrity. Tiger Woods hits a golf ball very well. Tiger Woods, out of the generousness of his heart and maybe some guidance from his parents, decided to open the Tiger Woods Foundation, to which he donated countless amounts of dollars. Tiger Woods didn't ask for the adulation which we the public have thrust onto him. He didn't ask that we elevate he and his ego to a place reserved for the elite of our people. The media, and we the people, put him there.
And I say it's high time we stopped misplacing our adulation on people simply because they are good at their profession. That's one aspect of a person, but that's all it is. We don't elevate our teachers who helped us through some of the toughest times of our lives to that status. We don't laud the surgeon who removed a tumor from our liver, or our doctor who spotted the first sign of skin cancer early and had it removed. We don't elevate the drug company President who has taken to producing the H1N1 vaccine, which has probably saved some lives, to that status.
Instead, we place our idolatry on what our eyes see, and what we see only. We watch television and that device has become our assignor for where we place our hearts and minds. If it doesn't appear on the television, it doesn't exist.
Tiger Woods hits a golf ball well. But because of that, and the financial success that has come with it, he has been heaped favor upon favor by his adoring public. We have built his ego by purchasing his merchandise, following his sport and lining golf courses to shout encouragement to the God of Golf WITHOUT KNOWING A SINGLE THING ABOUT HIM. We don't know his character, we don't know if like Andre Aghassi he was forced into a life of golf -- one of which he doesn't even like. We have no idea what it's like to have women throw themselves at you for no other reason than they recognize your face and your fortune.
And while we're at it, why isn't there more criticism of the women who knew Tiger Woods was married and had kids? What kind of opportunistic and insecure women were these? And yet, they're being elevated and doted upon. They'll soon be starring in reality shows, model shoots, etc., I guess that's the reward for being an immoral lady these days. Financially, they couldn't be doing better right now -- I ask you, whose fault is that???
So perhaps we as society should not only accept Tiger Woods' apology, but should extend him one as well. We're sorry Tiger for lifting you onto a pedestal you did not earn and did not deserve. We should never have placed so much of our hopes and wishes on you when clearly you did not know how to handle them. We're sorry for giving you responsibility and position in society that you in no way were prepared to hold. Perhaps we too can learn from this and start placing our love and encouragement behind our educators and philanthropists. Maybe we'll start extending privileges to those that constantly strive to make our lives better by educating, listening, giving aid and assistance, and protecting. Instead of loathing your teacher for giving you homework try understanding it serves a purpose. Instead of hating the police officer who pulled you over for driving like a maniac, perhaps think that that person might just have saved your life.
For Tiger Woods, I wish him luck in his therapy. I can honestly say for all the privilege you received and all the talent you have, I wouldn't have wanted to be you today, or from this day forward. But then again, I never really viewed you as much more than you were: a great golfer.