I cared about Tiger Woods' family problems for about five minutes, mostly as evidence how marital relationships can be more fragile than the tempered glass of a car window. (please click, 'read more')
Along this line I had the same reaction as NY Times sports columnist George Vescey's "Thanks for the Tasteless Sermon" when I watched NBC Nightly News excerpts from someone named Billy Payne, who apparently represents the board of directors of the Masters golf tournament. Payne is one of the good old white boys who populate the board of America's big public corporations; exactly the sort who are privileged to play as members or invited guests to Augusta. Payne's little sermon about our disappointment in Tiger Woods, how he let down our children and grandchildren, as a role model, etc. etc. is just plain offensive.
Whether Brazilian soccer players consort with transvestites, baseball stars with each other, or --yes-- politicians straying from wives: I'm just plain tired out by the American penchant to imagine athletes and politicians should be any different, fundamentally, just because they reside in the public eye. It is distracting and a misdirection of energy and effort, better directed toward hope, empathy and grace.
Most great professional athletes do one thing exceedingly well: hit a golf ball with unerring accuracy under immense pressure, or a baseball at 100 mph, or float in the air longer than humanly possible on the way to a basket. These skills share a common thread: great physical skill and a mental focus to the exclusion of all else. The brilliance when this happens is a wonder to behold. But well-balanced? Or even, to be admired? Professional athletes and successful politicians can be people to marvel at and admire if one is so inclined, but when push comes to shove, their behavior off the court, in the bedroom, has little if anything to do with our real lives.