Sunday, July 10, 2011

Let Them Live

"I am not a role model." -Charles Barkley

In my opinion, he's half correct. Off the basketball court he wasn't, but on, he definitely was! Kids watched him in person and on television, and all they knew was how he reacted to challenges, treated the fans, and how hard he worked during games. This is what they knew, so for this, he was their role model in that small part of their lives. Off the court is a different story. The internet and media make us think we know these athletes, but we know nothing about them, their personalities, how they treat their family, and their moral beliefs.

My Twitter account has been blowing up about Tiger Woods, the media's unfair bashing of him, and the fans' relentless attacks on his personal life. And recently, more allegations of Tiger's use of Human Growth Hormone has sparked talk about whether or not he's "who we think he is." @GolfSchott, specifically, has been passionate about his defense of Tiger, believing the media has unfairly targeted his off course mistakes, and haven't given him a break, allowing any forgiving to take place. (I hope Brad doesn't mind me using his handle, but he's been very articulate and open about his beliefs... and I greatly respect his opinion. Thanks, Brad).

Tiger Woods is not a role model off the course, and never should be considered one. When my 2 year old daughter is old enough to understand his amazing physical gifts on course, we will discuss THAT part of his game in detail. I'll teach her the importance of his work ethic, mental toughness, and his ability to never settle for less. This is what's important to me, as a teacher and father, not his choices off the course. Again, we don't know him as a man, we only know him as a golfer ... perhaps the best of all time. Now, if the HGH rumors are ever proven to be true, I'll be forced to adjust that talk with my daughter, as it directly affects his on course play, in one way or another. @GolfSchott and I have debated how it affected Tiger's  performance, but the bottom line, in my opinion: He's an on-course role model, it's cheating, and he should be judged harshly if he has ever taken these drugs.

I'm not here to prosecute Tiger, only to make it clear that my belief is simple: We, as fans and parents need to understand that all professional athletes are human beings, living their lives, and making mistakes, just as we do. The media has made us believe they aren't human, they shouldn't make mistakes, and when they do, we shouldn't forgive them. We definitely should forgive, but more importantly, we shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking we need to know every detail of these people's lives. Watch them on t.v., cheer when they do well, and let them live!


Jordan J. Caron said...

You nailed it bang on Dayne. Take certain parts of his game that you think people can benefit from and educate them on how and why he does some things.

Not to turn a blind eye though I have told a couple of junior students not to handle themselves like Tiger on the course. The drugs, the woman are one thing but respect the game of golf on the course and handle yourself like gentleman.

Dayne Gingrich said...

I agree that Tiger's outbursts aren't ideal, and shouldn't be emulated. He's one of the very few athletes I've seen who's able to refocus after his temper flareups.