Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Tiger in the Tank

Tiger's wife said she had to use a golf club to rescue him from the wrecked car he drove into a tree.  From the back seat on the passenger side...?  Oops.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  She did a pretty good job breaking out the rear windows on both sides.  Looks like some damage by the door handle, too.  Kinda think she was not exactly aiming at a rescue here.

Can't say that I blame her a bit.  I think she showed incredible restraint. 

What is it about sports figures that makes us want to imagine them as heroic moral models?   We create their personas from whole cloth.  When they fail to live up to our expectations, we are stricken.  Our imaginary Tiger Woods is forever a three-year-old golf prodigy, as free of genetalia as a Ken doll, and about as real. 

Sports figures are blown all out of proportion and made into golden heroes.  The same testosterone that drives their success at sports also feeds their libidos.  The hero-worship that elevates them to superstar status is a powerful aphrodisiac.  Groupies follow them.  Temptation is rampant.  The fact is, they are not heroes.  They are ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances.  Intoxicated by their own PR, down they go.  It's actually more amazing when one of them doesn't fall into the trap than when one does. 

When we hear the news, we are furious because they have given the lie to the stories we have created about them.  We are exposed for the idiots we truly are for doing this, and we do not want to forgive them for it.  Ever.  We play endless games of "ain't it awful?" with our friends. 

Magic Johnson is a similarly idolized sports hero who also fell from grace, but his fall was cushioned by the sympathy he got for coming out as HIV positive.  We swept his astounding promiscuity under the rug in order to comfort him in his life-threatening illness.  We still get the warm fuzzies when his name comes up, but while Tiger had maybe dozens of ladies, Magic had thousands.  Thousands.  Hard to believe. 

I am not suggesting we give them a pass.  Adultery is what it is, and when kids are involved, it is very, very bad stuff.  I know that first hand, having been a kid who suffered from the results of a father's adulterous affairs, and watching what it did to my mother. What I am suggesting is that we stop making them into idols,   that we stop imagining them as Ken dolls and understand that they will do this stuff and we should not be too surprised.  It should not be a career-ender unless we think Tiger's screwing around also extends to fudging on his golf scores. 

I think maybe a good, reliable moral compass might make a nice holiday gift for each of them.  It does seem to be the one thing missing in their fabulous collections.  Anybody know where they might get such a thing? 

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