Writing a Tragedy

Featured, Humor, Sports — By on December 18, 2009 at 12:00 am

TigerWoods“Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Maybe I’m too old to have heroes…

Maybe, but in my defense I first read about Tiger Woods in a March, 1991 issue of Sports Illustrated.  He was 15.  I was 13.  For the next 19 years I watched in awe as he became a billionaire by hitting a little white ball fewer times than his peers.

You see I enjoy hitting that little white ball too, and throughout high school and college my walls were adorned with posters of Tiger.  Tiger swinging his driver.  Tiger pumping his fist.  Tiger washing his Buick with Gatorade.  Then later in life, when I started to make money, I bought Nike polo shirts just like Tiger’s.  And I bought a Scotty Cameron putter just like Tiger’s.  And I bought a Gillette Fusion razor just like Tiger’s.

Maybe I’m too old to have heroes…

Maybe, I just turned 32.  But golf needs to shoulder some of the blame here.  What other sport lets you follow a guy not named Brett Favre from the age of 15 to 60.  I started liking Deion Sanders in seventh grade too, and he retired five years ago.  Tiger has just reached his prime.

And you’ve got to admit, Tiger is fascinating.  He transcends a sport many associate with old white men and Sunday afternoon naps.  Tiger made golf cool, and if you were a Tiger fan, he made you feel cool.  So what if I run around my living room making imaginary putts and practicing my first pump.  The blinds are closed.  It’s a victimless crime.

Maybe I’m too old to have heroes…

Maybe, because I shouldn’t be this angry at someone I don’t know, since technically he didn’t cheat on me.  Technically I don’t know what he did.  My television tells me he was unfaithful to his wife.  Of course my television told me a six-year-old boy was floating across Colorado in a balloon, so it’s been wrong before.  But I admit things look bad.  There are voice messages, and dirty texts (I think you kids call it “sexting”), and Tiger released a statement saying, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.”  This sounds a little more serious than forgetting to wash the dishes.

Maybe I’m too old to have heroes…

Maybe, because next came the jokes.  You saw them.  You probably re-tweeted them.  Everywhere I turned people were making fun of Tiger Woods.  It made me angry.

I wanted to lash out at those who would enjoy a cheap laugh at the expense of my hero.  Many were Christians, and I had to fight the urge to reply to their Facebook taunts with something like, “Ha-ha, adultery!  Ha-ha, broken families!  This is the funniest situation imaginable!  Ha-ha!” But this would be so hypocritical of me.  I’m only upset because it’s my hero being mocked.  If this happened to another celebrity, someone like Kenny Chesney or Donald Miller, I’d be twittering jokes about their demise without remorse.  But this didn’t happen to someone else’s hero, it happened to mine.

Maybe I’m too old to have heroes…

Maybe, I guess it’s something we all learn eventually, though some of us much later than others.  People will let you down.  Even if they look happy in family photos, and even if they win US Opens with broken legs, and yes, even if they are the Godliest people we know.  People will let you down.  Well, one person won’t, but the cost of following Him is much higher than a Nike polo shirt.

Maybe I’m too old to have heroes…

Maybe, or maybe I should chose them more carefully.

Chad Gibbs is the author of God & Football: A Season of Faith and Fanaticism in the Southeastern Conference, to be released by Zondervan in late summer, 2010.  You can learn more about Chad at www.chadgibbs.com.  You’ll learn specifically that he hasn’t updated his website in some while.

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  • karen says:

    Chad: You are my hero. Don’t mess it up.

  • aaron donley says:

    The finest piece on Tiger Woods since Mistress #4.

  • JT Hornbuckle says:

    That reminds me I think you had a poster of Tiger just right beside our Viagra clock and a sign that said “Pee Like a Champion Today” in college hope those don’t let us down either.

  • Candace says:

    i think this goes farther than just “choose your heroes wisely” and is just another example that we were not created to be worshiped. we were not wired to be in the lime-light 24/7, worshiped by our peers and everyone giving us whatever we wanted, never telling us “no”. if anything, it’s the fans that have let tiger woods down. i bet 15 year old tiger played purely because he loved the game (obviously, he’s brilliant!) and then he was catapulted into fame and notoriety, achieving a god-like status. at that point you begin to look at your life and your decisions through incredibly fractured lenses and it’s only too easy to fall. my heart is saddened for not only his wife and children, but also him. he’s made a total mess of everything and i wonder if he even knows what got him to this place, what happened to drive him to do this.

  • Danny says:

    “Ha-ha, adultery! Ha-ha, broken families! This is the funniest situation imaginable! Ha-ha!”

    I see already that you have more restraint than I do on most days.

    Kudos to you, good sir.

  • Ben says:

    Wow, Most articles on Tiger I can barely make to the third sentence before I sigh and move one. This article really had me agreeing the whole way through. Maybe it is my close connection to golf or maybe it brought back to my mind the simple talk I had with Tiger at Augusta in the Spring of ’96. I was a young Junior at a local high school working as a litter boy. I saw Tiger got Tigers autograph just before he was going back to the clubhouse. As he was signing my hat I said “There are a lot of kid looking up to you”. Now that I look back, those words were so vain. Not because of what he’s done but because of how meaningless ‘it’ all is when it won’t last. thanks Chad.

  • Helmsey says:

    Great read Chad! I only wonder why and when we made the guy a good person. Great golfer and one of my all time sport heroes as well but good person? People are making it out like the guy was a saint from day one. I have followed the guy around major championships and watched him in awe but sadly enough I wasn’t shocked when the news broke. Scary but that is what it has come to in our society. I just hope my golf hero can turn the corner. Wouldn’t it be awesome to one day be referencing him and his transgressions with the likes of David and Bathsheba. And how he conquered this travesty like David conquered Goliath. It may sound silly but I am praying for him and his family and that he is touched in such a way that he can turn this around for the good of the kingdom. Imagine the impact if he was to find Jesus or lean on God during this unfortunate season in his life.

  • Harrison says:

    Told you it was way better to be a Phil Mickelson fan. At least he only lets you down on the course.

  • Greg J says:

    What a great article. I felt the same way you did Chad. He was not really my hero (my wife is my only hero because of what she has gone thru) but I admired him. I admired the way he played the game, the hard work, intensity and passion for a game that I also love (but can’t play worth a hoot). I also admired the way he honored the game and its legends. He always spoke with respect for great players that played before “his” time (like Palmer and Nicklaus). In a sport that requires a GREAT deal of commitment, he had it. It was always a “gentlemens” game, and he seemed to treat it that way.

    My wife and I would watch to see what amazing shot or comeback he would manufacture. My brother and I would call after each week to talk about his latest feat. But, now it is a who “cares thing”. We are sorry for his wife, for his kids, for even him. But as far as watching golf, just don’t care now. Don’t care if he plays, or doesn’t play. Pretty sad.

  • Darren Faix says:

    this is a laugh for you from me :)

    In the dark I hold your hand, because in the light you look like a man. :)

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