In 2009 he capped off his 13th-straight year as a top-5 earner on the PGA tour. He had the most winnings of all golfers for nine of those individual years. Details don’t need to be revisited regarding his altercations or what led to his 2009 downfall. That has been covered in detail plenty of times. The lesson we can learn, even as adults, is everyone gets lulled into a sense of comfort, whatever it may entail.
I wouldn’t want my kids viewing a professional athlete and thinking he’s perfect – that he keeps that smile and professional demeanor both on and off the camera. I don’t want them seeing the world through a public relations microscope. Let them see who these players are. Where they grew up. What they’ve done. How they’ve grown up. How they’ve become who they are. Because it’s not just an act on that camera or filtered lines in an article – those quotes and things these people say are done by choice. It is them talking.
I’m not saying tell a 4-year-old the world is a terrible place and nothing good happens either. Tell them the opposite, in fact. Feeling the bad things is what makes it apparent that the good times are good. Unrealistic expectations force kids to find the negatives out on their own. If they know their heroes and idols overcome challenges, it doesn’t mean they’ll follow in the footsteps. Instead they may do what they can to not make the same mistakes.
Look at the definition of role model: A person whose behavior one wishes to mimic. Naturally, you don’t want to repeat all of someone’s life. Then it’s not really unique. It’s not really your own. Role models should be looked at in pieces (which are not inclusive to): How they perform at a certain activity, how they interact, how they always seem to find success. All these characteristics lead to one thing: All great role models overcome obstacles.
With the Masters starting this week and Tiger looking to make yet another emergence from injury rehab, kids will be watching the man who was once labeled the golf prodigy. When they air the Masters highlights on SportCenter, they’ll focus on Tiger and what he is doing. Why? Ratings. It’s what people want to see – a golfer that’s outside of the Top 100 for the first time since he became a professional. Fans know Tiger has suffered. They’ve watched as he has shown several performances that were not only painful to watch, but also were physically painful for Woods as well.
While several of Tiger’s corporate relationships were voided or suspended, Nike stuck with him, prompting some backlash against the brand. Regardless of hits it may have taken, Nike stood by its man, getting him through the tough stage. It also shows that after a fall, everything is not destroyed. Despite the misjudgment, you can pick up the pieces and move on to become someone new – and no one really knows who it will be until that person emerges.
The golfer has lost so much of his megastar self – endorsements, family, coaches, caddies, portions of his body – and he is trying to reestablish himself as the power in the golf world once again. Although not nearly with the economic cost of Woods, we can all relate to trying to recover from a substantial loss – trying to make ourselves whole again. We scoffed at his absurd behavior, we played his video games, we saw him on commercials, we may have even shared our tears in his emotional moments. That’s why we hope for his success and why we still care so much. We see him fighting harder than he ever has in his life. That’s something we can all respect and look to emulate.
This article is a part of our ongoing “Opposites Attack” series where we aim to play devil’s advocate on hot topics in the sports and entertainment world while providing a fresh perspective of these subjects.
Image: Bunkers Paradise