Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tiger's Trap

Considering the magnitude of Tiger Woods’ return at the 2010 Masters, in Augusta, Georgia, I think it would be remiss for us to overlook the reason Tiger’s return was so “newsworthy” to the masses. And, ironically, it’s that premise that has inspired this commentary today.
To discover the answer to the question of why it is that Tiger Woods’ collapse and return to golf is one of the top news stories of 2010, I think we have to begin asking some rudimentary questions first, like; who is Tiger Woods; what has he done that deserves such intense media focus; and why do we care enough to follow this story wherever Tiger takes it?
On the surface we all know that Tiger Woods is a golfer, but more than that he’s the most prolific winner golf has seen in decades. He is on track to, and most predict he will, if not annihilate, at the very least break the all-time career major victories record of 18, held by Jack Nicklaus. At 34 years of age Tiger already holds 14 Majors in his grasp, 71 PGA Tour victories, plus 3 US Amateur titles. Compare those numbers to Jack’s numbers at the same age, of; 12 Majors, 52 PGA Tour wins, and 2 US Amateur titles, and it seems hard to fathom at the end of Tiger’s career that he’ll be remembered as anything less than the best golfer that has ever lived.
Beyond his unprecedented achievements on the course, Tiger has also claimed the status of being the first professional athlete, billionaire; with career earnings that top $82, 000, 000, he has also amassed an amazing total of somewhere near $920, 000, 000 in commercial endorsements, in less than 14 years of professional golf! So my question is: are these accomplishments the reason that people all around the globe are familiar with Tiger Woods, and more recently thriving on the epic story of his fall? Is it Tiger Woods’ “brand” that has had people devouring the stories of his sexual exploits and now the story of his return, or is it his achievement in sport? Perhaps it’s something else?
If the top ten executives of Coke, for example, were found to be engaged in the same activities as Tiger Woods has been, beyond a passing curiosity, would any of us care? I don’t think so. So I think it’s safe to say that we can rule out Tiger’s brand as being the catalyst for our interest in this particular story. But maybe Tiger’s worldly accomplishments are what have left us so disappointed with his off course escapades? To be fair to the truth, then, we should ask ourselves how we would respond if the news reported that Richard Dawkins, for example, as the world’s most prominent atheist, bestselling author, and leading scientist in the field of evolution, had been caught carrying out sexually devious behaviour that was unbecoming of what society deems to be morally correct; would any of us care?
Aside from the obvious free pass that the public would more than likely grant a man like Richard Dawkins in this hypothetical scenario, (since as the leader and crusader for atheism worldwide, Richard Dawkins himself, believes humans to be equivalent to animals in our need for morality) would any of us care if Dawkins’ with his worldly accomplishments, power, and influence, acted in the exact same way as Tiger Woods has confessed to behaving? I am almost certain that the answer would be a resounding... NO! So why then, why do we care so much about Tiger’s fall from, and now return to his sport?
The word conscience literally means with knowledge; con-science, or with-knowledge. Despite our personal opinions regarding religion and God, unless ours has been seared, all of us have a conscience that we can hear. That conscience was given to us by God. It is by our conscience that we can all agree on basic morals; right vs. wrong. Aside from the very few of us, like Richard Dawkins, the vast majority of us know what Tiger Woods did was outlandishly wrong; unfortunately, most of us will arrive at that opinion on a fairly high pedestal, a pedestal known as self-righteousness.
So here’s the truth. Humans, without a Saviour, are all slaves to our sin. At the end of the day, if we are truthful, none of us can say we are capable of living without doing any wrong. So truthfully then, none of us are any better than each other, are we. But because of our sinful nature, we are always trying to find examples of others that are obviously “worse” than we are in their moral depravity; so we assign levels of “goodness” in an attempt to elevate ourselves above our fellow man. And so most of us believe that we are pretty high up on that scale, but in that classification of our own “goodness”, we also find people that we feel extremely inferior to, as they seem to be much better than we are in their day to day “goodness”, as we so assign.
For most of us, Tiger was one of those people; that society collectively elevated to the status of a god. That elevation of Tiger to god appeal, I believe, was in many ways a direct result of his athletic achievements, his monetary worth, and his fairytale life. But without fashioning Tiger into a god, what makes Tiger Woods – Tiger Woods, would never have been enough to fuel our hunger the way we’ve lusted after the sensational appeal of his baffling break down. We needed to believe that Tiger was a better human being than each one of us, a god, in order for us to be so extremely offended and intrigued by this entire ordeal that we would follow so intently, and then: contracts could be broken, private lives could be invaded, people could be shamed, and many more millions of dollars could be made. I don’t feel sorry for Tiger, but the truth is, Tiger was a god to many, and now, to many he is a man, lower in “goodness” than the self-righteous ones that put him on that pedestal in the first place.
Check yourself in the mirror tonight, and ask yourself; how many people do I believe I’m better than? Here’s a question: how many people believe they’re better than you?
Jesus Christ said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". There is no other way to goodness, since none of us possess it in the first place.
There is only One who is truly good. Think about it.

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