Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You Say Tiger... I Don't!

I promised myself I wasn't going to write about this, adding to the gossip, mudslinging, and he said/she said garbage, BUT...

Since he's come out and admitted his "transgressions," and there are a ton of facts behind the initial accusations, I feel there are one or two (or 20) lessons to be learned here. Which lesson is most important to write about?

1) The simple topic of his cheating, and all the associated affects.

2) His not "owning up" to anything. Admitting his transgressions is fine, but does he have an obligation to publicly speak to his sponsors, fans, and friends? Is it o.k. to hide in his house and wait for things to blow over?

3) At least three major sponsorships that have let him go, resulting in millions and millions of dollars lost this week alone.

4) His "indefinite break" from professional golf, and what that means to t.v. ratings, money, and his fans.

5) The link he has to a Canadian Dr. who is under investigation for giving Human Growth Hormones to other athletes, as well as using them himself... allegedly.

These are all valid topics, but I choose to talk about...

6) Us, as a society, putting these athletes on pedestals, thinking they're God-like, incapable of making mistakes. Sure, everything that Tigger has done is immoral, arrogant, etc., but he IS human... an unhappy human! Trust me when I say that I've been the biggest Tigger-basher imaginable, but have realized it's because I thought of him as more than human. I bought into his image as the "perfect specimen," both on and off the golf course. I felt deceived, as if he lied to my face. He never said he was perfect ~ I was the one who jumped to that impossible conclusion.

Maybe I felt as if he let me down, personally, because I used him as an example for my students more times than I can count. "Look how Tigger does it. You want to be like him." I still stand by those words... but only ON THE COURSE! I allowed his brilliance to bleed into my personal beliefs of the man, which influenced my teaching and students' potential view of all things related to him. This isn't Tigger's fault. I'm the only one to blame. I allowed him to climb the ladder of societal perfection, and worse... taught about it.

As former NBA great, Charles Barkley said: "I'm not a role model, and don't want to be. The parents are our children's only role models."

I used to think Barkley was crazy for saying this, but now completely agree with him. I think Tigger can be a golf model, but never a role model. Admire his amazing skill in between the ropes, but stop right there. Let's not make him more than he is... human, who happened to make some horrendous mistakes, and who'll be paying (literally and figuratively) for a very long time.

Feel sorry for him ~ not for his recent actions, but because he's an incredibly unhappy man, searching for peace in all the wrong places. I don't apologize for him, and never will, but...

Without compassion, what do we have?


Bendigo said...

While I totally agree with the message I think that it's more than we as adults or parents setting the good example. Like it or not, our children look up to these guys, and more often than not they are too young to understand that outstanding athleticism doesn't equal outstanding citzenship. I take extra care to explain to my children that he is just a man like any other, he just happens to be good at golf. I can only hope that combining that with the right example will be enough...

Dayne Gingrich said...

I agree, but our kids HAVE to learn this asap! It's tough, for sure, but we as parents need to stay on top of this all day. T.V. they watch, sports center type shows, entertainment t.v., etc... we need to pump this message into their heads nonstop!

Lessons can be learned 24 hrs./ day... unfortunately, some parents just don't take enough time (for their own reasons) to teach teach teach. Sad, because we too often look at guys like Tigger as heros OFF THE COURSE, INSTEAD OF ON ... ONLY ON!

Hovito89 said...

I understand, agree, and enjoyed your views and blog.. I'm a writer/reporter.. freelance and independant. I'm starting a news broadcast, and just began my blog. I would love to get your thoughts.

Bruce Coltin said...

They are role models, whether they choose to be or not. If Tiger gets irrefutably connected to banned substances, he will become Barry Bonds (a sham)to Jack Nicklaus' Roger Maris. And another generation of kids will have heroes they can't trust.

plainolebob said...

The pedestal is ours to build,
The lessons are ours to teach.
The sports stars will always be made by their performance in the arena and venue of their choosing.
What they do off, or out of, that arena, makes them no less of a performer, in that arena.
I do not condone their actions, but marvel at their talent.
The top performers will always live with a bulls eye of a target on their back.
Bruce, mentioned a few, and I am sure their are many more that will come to mind,
My question is did he cheat any of us on the field of play?
Did he not give his all every time he teed up?
Did he ever throw a hole for the sake of winning a side bet?
For his performance on the field of play, I think not.
For his personal life, does it make a crossover into his professional life, without us making it so?
I choose not to throw the first stone, nor any for that matter.
I am just as disappointed as any one else, but I do believe he has enough problems on his plate with out having to deal with outside distractions.
When we choose to place, a man, on a pedestal, are we then a prisoner to his faults as well?
Just my thoughts.

spldbch said...

We put professional athletes on pedestals when in fact these people probably have more temptation to do things like Tiger did than the average person. Being a professional athlete means being away from home a lot and neglecting family relationships. It's hard on a family. Being a professional athlete means you are desirable to many people because you are rich and famous. Being a professional athlete means you have a lot of stress and a lot of pressure.

I'm by no means making excuses for Tiger or for anyone else who behaved as he did. I am simply agreeing with you Dayne -- we definitely have unrealistic expectations of these people.

Alice in Wonderland said...

I've been thinking a lot about all of this lately, not just with Tiger, but with almost every celebrity. It's US that made them who and what they are. Where would they be without US piling on the pressure of things that happen to "normal" people everyday for one reason or another? I totally agree that he should be penalised, but he made a massive mistake in his career, and he might never regain that status again. So is it our fault for putting these people on pedestals instead of treating them as normal human beings with thoughts and feelings of their own?
The public can make or break anyone, but they have to accept the responsibility of what they did and accept the consequences.
Many people have "fallen from grace", but still managed to climb back to the top again.

Dayne Gingrich said...

Bruce~ I agree that if he's proven to have used a banned substance, then his career will have been a sham... although HGH only builds muscles, it doesn't create the incredible mental and emotional toughness Tigger owns. He's only a role model to our kids if we say he is. They're going to ultimately choose to make their own decisions, but it's our responsibility to show why they shouldn't make these athletes more than they are~ as we do w/ drugs, etc.

Bob~ You said it perfectly. It isn't so unless we say it is. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment.

Melody~ Being a pro athlete IS NOT "greener on the other side," as many think. You're right... it's brutal. Our expectations need to come back down to earth.

Alice~ It is DEFINITELY our fault for putting them on pedestals, but it's their fault for making the decisions they often make. They think they're above the law (both moral and societal)... and that's our fault!

Anonymous said...

You are right--we, as a society, put too much value in the "role models" that sports and entertainment create for us. As parents we should be our children's role models and should help them navigate the world as they find others who embody what they strive to be. Tiger didn't disappoint me, personally, but I am deeply disappointed for him and because of him. Let's face it--the world doesn't need any more "role models" who lie and cheat. We need to role models who are simple, decent, and honest--even our teachers, our civic leaders, our religious leaders, and our parents need to return to a simpler time when we made decisions in consideration of what good or harm it might cause others. We may think we live in a world where our actions effect no one but ourselves--but that is simply not true. Not true for Tiger, and not true for me.

Dayne Gingrich said...

Bonnie... EXCELLENT points. I couldn't agree with you more! It's up to us to change who our role models are. It's expected, because it's accepted that athletes and entertainers are our children's models. Why them? Respect and model their specific talent... but nothing else, unless you personally know them.

Sarah said...

once they are getting paid with millions of dollars for what they do, they become role models whether they want it or not. that's why they all try desparately to hide their imperfections to maintain the fake images and to continue their fortune. it's a money culture and it's hard for young people not to idol them.

Dayne Gingrich said...

"once they are getting paid with millions of dollars for what they do, they become role models whether they want it or not."


It's time to change the definition of Role Model.

Melissa B. said...

The man is a mess...seriously! I think SNL hit the nail right on the head with this one...Elin needs to hit him over the head a few more times!

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