Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Cheetah Is Not Out of the Woods Yet

Last week, the Cheetah finally broke his silence with a televised press conference, where he read a statement expressing his sorrow at getting caught...er, I mean, a public apology for his failings as a role model. Its amazing to reflect that his fall from grace happened Thanksgiving weekend. It actually feels a lot longer. The joke at the time was that Tiger crashed into a tree and all these bimbos fell out. Who knew that one mysterious late night car accident could be the crack that unleashed a torrent of salacious revelations? Another joke making the rounds was that Tiger changed his name to Cheetah. I liked that one. Cheetah Woods!

What's more surprising is the amount of cynicism some have expressed regarding Woods' public apology. Some have questioned the suspicious timing, others have questioned his motives. One look at the conference and you can see how uncomfortable Tiger looked during the whole thing. His mother was sitting right in front of him. You just know that he would rather be anywhere else than where he was. Also, to all the cynics out there, how often have you heard any major sports star give such a difficult public apology? Not just to his wife, children, mother, friends, and corporate sponsors...but to the parents of every child who looked up to him as a role model. To me, this public apology took major guts. Its far better that he gave one than not give one.

Since the scandal broke last year, besides hearing all the jokes and the drip-drip-drip of the latest confession by one of his paramours, there have been reports that he checked himself into a clinic in Mississippi that treats "sex addiction." I've read a few articles that question whether "sex addiction" could actually be considered an "addiction." I know that it seems to inspire a lot of giggles and jokes, but what is addiction? People can be addicted to alcohol, drugs, video games, porn, or abusive relationships...so why not sex? An addiction means that the person cannot control his or her compulsions, to the point where the obsessive behaviour disrupts one's life and even career. President Clinton probably has a sex addiction. So did actor David Duchovny (starring in a show like Californication should have clued in his wife that he had a problem!). Its no laughing matter. If Tiger feels like his sexual compulsions got out of control, why snicker at his decision to check himself into a clinic to treat his addiction?

In the aftermath of Woods' public apology, I've also read comments by people online and on Facebook that they just want Woods to return to golf. They don't care about the details of the scandal and are ready to put it behind us. Whoa...not so fast! Haven't these people seen the excellent golf film Tin Cup? You can't play your best game if you have too many distractions going on in your head. The head game is even more important than the golf game. Right now, Tiger Woods' only obligation is to win his head game...as in, figuring out what his reckless behaviour was all about. According to basic psychology, sex was not the underlying reason. His reckless behaviour is rooted much deeper than that. Sex was merely an itch that he scratched. He needs to learn the root cause of the itch. I think its quite obvious what the root cause of the itch is. Too bad our country is not interested in curing the itch.

I heard a commentator on TV last week say that whenever Tiger Woods plays a golf tournament, the viewership doubles, which means millions and millions of dollars. There's no doubt that Tiger Woods is a gigantic cash cow to many corporate sponsors. He's a cash cow in the same way that Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Lindsay Lohan were / are cash cows. These personalities make millions of dollars for corporations and the leeches who depend upon their millions. All of those people I named have also had their own moments where they fell from grace, some harder than others. Does anyone see a pattern here?

None of these cash cows are allowed to be their true selves. They are caricatures. Blank canvas. Millions of fans are emotionally invested in them and keep them in a neat little box. When the fall happens, its like an act of rebellion. A rebellion from their "wholesome" public image. Their shadow selves decide to break out of the box and show us their true selves, which horrifies a public so used to the sanitized image. Sometimes, they never fully repair their image. Others are blessed with successful comebacks. But a successful comeback often depends on returning to the same role the public expects of them. They'll never live in true freedom to be who they feel they really are. That's sad. There's a certain amount of risk involved in being a real, authentic being. There's no risk at all being the cash cow to corporate leeches. Sure, you get rich. But the best question ever asked is from the Bible: "For what doth it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?"

So please, people...get over your Tiger Woods fix and let him have however long it takes to be his authentic self again. Tiger Woods doesn't exist to make you feel awe in his golf swing. You shouldn't be sitting on your fat lazy asses watching him play golf in order to feel better about your life. Get yourself out to a driving range and hit a few balls yourself. Develop your own swing and stop living vicariously through someone else. Tiger Woods does not exist to entertain you or to make you feel better about yourself. Let the man have the privacy he needs to find the soul he lost when he sold it to Nike. Let golf go back to what it was originally invented for: to give a bunch of old white men a reason to get out of the house during retirement so that they don't drive their wives crazy.

1 comment:

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