The other day when my friend Sandy and I were talking about the Tiger Woods drama, she very abruptly said, “He’s dead to me!” At first, I thought, “She’ll get over it; we all will.” He’s like all those other celebrities who do this sort of stuff. He’ll be like Michael Jordan, known for his legendary talents, even though he made a few mistakes, like retiring and coming back too many times, trying baseball, cheating on his wife, gambling, and oh yeah – trying to run an NBA team.
Now, I’m not so sure. As more reports come about Woods’ “transgressions” – aka booty calls and hook ups – I’m starting to think of him as a legend we’ve all lost, a fallen sports hero. The Tiger I thought I knew loved his wife, adored his children, got teary-eyed when he played at The British Open after his dad passed and appeared on Oprah when he was just 22 showing more maturity than most 40-year-olds. His life embodied that of core values and beliefs we expected of someone we put on such a pedestal – hard work, dedication, compassion…commitment. Woods took golf to another level. A place many thought golf would never see again. He made African-Americans and Asian-Americans alike feel proud of their heritage.
When rock stars or other celebrities are caught “with their pants down,” it’s almost expected. Not Woods though. He had loving, thoughtful parents who taught him better. He has always known right from wrong and modeled a better way to live. He had style and grace. He would NEVER disrespect women, or more importantly, his wife.
But, now, we all know better. We all know better because not only is he not perfect, he’s proven he’s stupid and selfish. Woods’ behavior goes far beyond just making a mistake. It shows he’s a man that doesn’t really care about the things we thought he did that put him on the pedestal in the first place – hard work, dedication, compassion…commitment.
Like golf, he’s raised the bar for sports celebrity mistakes. He’s made sports celebrities like Jordan look much more fragile. While he will always be known for his talents on the course, Woods will now be more known for the “holes” he made off the course.
RIP, Tiger Woods.
Think I’m too harsh? Can you think of other sports celebrities who have fallen from grace as hard as Woods?