Robbins Rants: Tiger season is over
Vail, CO Colorado
Phil won. Tiger lost. The good guy defeated the villain. The Masters is over, and the karmic balance of the universe is intact. Can we just forget about Tiger Woods’ personal life now?
Last weekend’s tournament in Augusta was a refreshing change, as we saw Tiger Woods not in front of paparazzi at a news conference, but instead where he should be – on the golf course.
For all the hype, it wasn’t really that dramatic of a return. There were no jeers or boos, no protests, and no drama-inducing interviews. Tiger deflected every leading question in a way that Barry Bonds would find admirable. The focus throughout the Masters was where it should be: On golf.
Now hopefully, we can keep that up, and view Tiger for what he is: a golfer.
Living through Tiger
Tiger’s actions were undoubtedly extremely stupid and reckless,. But is it our place to judge a man that we will never meet? Absolutely not.
Tiger Woods never vowed to lead a life of moral righteousness and integrity. He merely swung a club at a golf ball better than anybody else in the world, and made a heck of a lot of money doing so.
It is the sports and celebrity-obsessed culture that pervades America today that placed him on a pedestal. America saw a quiet, mild-mannered, well-spoken athlete and immediately bestowed upon him an aura of perfection.
Up until this year, if you wanted your kids to be fans of an athlete, Woods was an obvious choice over selfish narcissists like Terrell Owens or thugs like Ray Lewis. We elevated Tiger to role model status whether he wanted that title or not.
The speed with which everyone jumped to vilify and condemn Tiger was more a result of feeling disappointed or lied to than an actual denunciation of his actions. Would the same reaction have occurred if it were any number of egotistical football or basketball players embroiled in this scandal? No way.
The fact that it was Tiger was particularly disconcerting because he was the one from whom nobody expected that kind of behavior. He played a gentlemanly game and possessed a gentlemanly demeanor (except for after a bad shot). The problem is, that when people have grown so accustomed to watching athletes on television, they begin to feel a certain sense of connection with them; almost like they actually know the athlete on a personal level.
And this is where the blame falls on the American people.
We shouldn’t be so quick to worship athletes and celebrities when we really have absolutely no idea what they are really like outside of their public personas. And their personal lives are none of our business anyway. So if your child wants someone to model his golf game after, show him tapes of Tiger Woods on the course.
But if you want someone for your children to model their behavior after, provide that example yourself. Because the truth is, most athletes don’t possess extremely strong morals, intelligence, or integrity. They got to where they are by excelling in a certain sport, and by doing so, many of their weaker qualities are often excused or justified.
We know very little about most athletes except for how high they can jump, how fast they can run, or how far they can drive a golf ball.
Tiger Woods is an athlete. He is not a politician, a leader of men, or a teacher. His job is to wear a collared shirt, travel to world-class resorts, and swing a club at a little white ball.
So let’s appreciate him for how good he is at that, regardless of his shortcomings in other areas. Root for Tiger if you want. Root against him if you prefer. But don’t tell your kids to be just like him, because as we’ve seen, all that leads to is disappointment.
As hard as it seems to realize sometimes, athletes are human just like the rest of us. And no matter how many zeros are on your paycheck, being human makes you susceptible to make mistakes every now and then.
Over the last few months Tiger Woods has been torn to shreds by the media and the public alike, when it was really only his family and friends place to do so. He’s apologized time and time again. Hopefully, he’s really learned. But whether he has or not, one thing is for sure: He’s not going away.
He’ll continue to compete in golf tournaments, and will probably cement his legacy as the best of all-time. So whether you love Tiger or hate him, let’s just move past discussing things that don’t concern us anyway and appreciate Eldrick Woods for what he is: The best golfer we have ever seen.
Ascher Robbins writes a weekly column for the Vail Daily. A Battle Mountain alumnus, Robbins is majoring in communications at UC-Santa Barbara.