Oh it's fun, but it just never seems to work out. The hunt for the perfect human being. The man would I like to be that guyguy. I've watched many Sunday afternoons when Tiger Woods blocked out everything: the crowds, his opponents, flashing cameras, and all the doubts that creep into the head of a normal man in pressure situations, and then he calmly sinks another million dollar putt like he was playing miniature golf with his young daughter.
"He's unbelievable," I've said out loud at least a hundred times. He's Superman. But this week, Superman took on a tragic look. He stepped into a phone booth and came out looking more like John Daly than Jack Nicklaus, the man whose records have served as a rabbit for Tiger to chase on his trek to golfing immortality.
After the shock of the details of Tiger's transgressions began to wear off, I couldn't help but think of the words Jesus once spoke. He said "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Now, I'm not about to start claiming that Tiger is hopelessly lost on his journey to eternity. It's hard enough for me to navigate my own route on that trail, but it has reminded me once again of the power of those words and the sense of urgency in the warning they send.
It's tragedy like Tiger's that seems so often associated with both the chase and accumulation of money and material things. Let's face it, the more money you have, not only do the cars and houses and luxury yachts get bigger, but so do the temptations. And I think too often people who have accumulated great wealth, have done so by placing a higher value on money than on the principles and morals that would hold up against those very temptations.
And on the other side of the Tiger story. What on earth would motivate women to proudly announce to the entire world, with pictures and voicemails included, that they have carried on an affair with a married man. A father of two young children. Money, that's what. Because unfortunately magazines and television shows are going to appeal to far more viewers by sharing the details of a struggling star than an ordinary man trudging through each day in a seemingly meaningless manner. And they'll pay good money for those details.
And so I am reminded just how futile that search for the perfect human really is. Because in the end, we all really are the same. We are all imperfect. I actually feel sorry for Tiger and others like him, because I think the media and us who watch their representation of stars like Tiger start to convince them as much as we do ourselves that they are somehow infallible. And when they make the kind of mistakes that Tiger has, mistakes many before them have made, they fall from these mountains we've foolishly built and set them upon.
I am reminded how thankful I am for the values I was raised on. They have far from assured a perfect life, but they have always served as the perfect starting point to getting back on track. I am also reminded that as many things as Katie and I will teach Elliott and Ian, like throwing and catching a baseball, shooting a free throw, catching an over the shoulder pass in the end zone for a touchdown, the Notre Dame fight song, and oh yea, some of that school work stuff, what is most important are the values we impart on them to use when they are finally set free to make their own decisions. Sometime shortly after their 40th birthdays.
I heard some sports talk guys debating the other day what impact Tiger's personal issues would have on his ability to get back to winning major golf tournaments. And it hit me, he could return to Superman status in my book, not that he cares. He could announce to the world that he is giving up golf. He could decided to put that same focus he uses on those million dollar putts into being a million dollar husband and father. Now that would be a story, but I'm afraid it wouldn't sell.