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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Tiger Woods Thing: My 2 Cents

Let me preface my comments with the following: I don’t much care about professional golfing or professional golfers. I have for some time, of course, been aware of who Tiger Woods is, and I know he is a fantastic golfer. (I’ve also heard of Jack Nicklaus and Paine Stuart and a few others) But I can’t stomach more than a couple minutes of watching the stuff, and I never have any clue who is winning or leading in the whatever-it-is championship. I do somewhat enjoy playing golf, I just righteously suck at it. I also enjoy golf of the electronic variety, having only a few moments ago taken a break from my 2-under-par game at Bethpage in Tiger Woods 10. Ok, done with that.

Now, I don’t really care about any of this mess. My comments aren’t even really about Mr. Woods’ affair (pun intended), but really the coverage of it. Here’s the thing; I am so frickin sick of pundits and other assorted idiots referring to this mess as Tiger Woods betraying “us”. What the hell? The argument is that he, and his handlers and sponsors etc. played him up to be this goody goody family man who also is a great golfer. First, I’m not aware of this “image” being so highly touted. Again, as I said, I don’t keep up with the golfing world, so maybe I’m missing something. But as I see it, it’s less of a matter of him being portrayed as a saint, as it is simply not mentioning his sins.

Ah yes, his sins. He has, ahem, “allegedly” had affairs and has, recently, “allegedly” gotten caught by his wife. Ok, and people are surprised by this why? I’m not, by any means, saying that it is right or good, but the fact remains that, more often than not, rich and/or famous men have affairs. Actually, a study was published in a 2000 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family that showed that the more money one made, the more likely he was to cheat on his wife. J. Treas and D. Giesen, found, in a piece titled "Sexual Infidelity Among Married and Cohabitating Americans", that individuals earning $75,000 or more per year are more than 1.5 times more likely to have had an affair as those earning less than $30,000 per year. Quite interesting, but again, not surprising.

Ok, so he screwed around. That was bad, and I do feel sorry for his wife and family. I get it. But a betrayal of “us”? I still can’t get there. He most certainly betrayed his wife and family. But I can’t see how he owes “us” anything at all. He may have betrayed his sponsors, as most of those sorts of contracts contain a morality clause. The same goes, perhaps, for the PGA. But you and me? Nope. The only ones that I can see being so terrifyingly offended by Woods’ infidelity are those who saw him as somehow more than a mortal anyway. And THAT is the problem here. Not Woods’ transgressions, but the fact that there are people who saw him, and who see anyone actually, as more than a man, a creature virtually guaranteed to transgress.

I’ve always had a problem with the idea of seeing peoples as idols or heroes. There are certainly people I admire and respect, but none I idolize. None I worship.

This sort of idolization of stars, athlete or otherwise, is for small children and idiots. I would argue that even small children should be dissuaded from this. You’re only going to be let down by your expectations. Not betrayed by the people because they turn out to be human; you’ve only betrayed yourself by looking to others for greatness, rather than looking inward.


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