Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Fist Pump for Tiger

Tiger Woods teed off at the Masters at 1:42 PM ET today and with that, we can (hopefully) put all the other stuff to rest and just marvel at his dominance. Frankly, I was never outraged by Tiger's affairs because a) those girls were, to quote my mother, "some top-of-the-line hookers" (so at least he wasn't knocking boots with, you know, the Steve Phillips targets of the world) and b) as a devout follower of both sports and politics, I've seen this story play out too many times before. Powerful people surround themselves with loyal handlers (who don't say peep until the proverbial feces hits the allegorical fan), the handlers arrange for the powerful people to be "accompanied" on the road and then they do it all over again at their next stop. The handlers tee it up; the powerful people drive it down the fairway. I'm pretty sure Tiger's capable of doing that.

The critics, like Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club Billy Payne, rant about the effects of Tiger's actions on the American youth who considered Tiger their "hero." To that, I respond, "get another hero."  And this time, make it someone other than an athlete or political figure who wields an obscene and indiscriminate amount of power. The reason these public figures think they're holier than thou is because, to us, they almost are.

We bow at the altar that is our TV set, take their words as gospel and pray for them to succeed.  When they stray from our ideals, we feel personally let down. We evoke the terms "abdication of responsibility" and "negligence of one's role in society" without considering that we carelessly bestow that responsibility upon them.  We're so busy finger-pointing that we willingly put ourselves in the same situation the next time a captivating guy woos us. We lionize these powerful figures until they fall from their pedestal and then we toss up a substitute and again watch them disgrace themselves and, by extension, us.  It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  I guess we better start mass-producing straitjackets...

The Nike commercial that premiered last night and has already been shown on ESPN 76,364 times shows Tiger staring awkwardly into the camera while someone who creepily plays the voice of his late father (ed. note: it was actually Earl Woods' voice that was taken completely out of context from an interview in 2004.  I think that makes this ad even creepier) says that he wants to know what he was thinking and what he's feeling now. I care about neither.  The two questions I would ask him are if he's going to make the cut this weekend and if he will ever let Nike bully him into making such an asinine commercial again.

Tiger is not my idol and never was.  I never invested myself in his private life; I invested myself in the four times a year I watch him play major tournaments. I have rooted for Tiger because he's one of the most compelling athletes I've ever seen. If he's on the 18th hole on Sunday and needs to sink a putt to win it, I'll be on the edge of my seat with a fist pump at the ready. I'll be cheering for Tiger the golfer the same way I would applaud any other person who mastered his or her craft. If he wants to celebrate afterwards in a swanky hotel room with Rachel Uchitel and a bottle of Moet, there won't be any sweat off my back. I just hope he doesn't stain his green jacket in the process.

1 comment:

  1. Kubin, this has to be your best post yet. Very well done and an excellent finish to the rant (pun intended).