Roger Marolt: Roger This
Dear millions of people who wasted last Friday morning getting Tiger Woods’ apology, Were you really hurt by his infidelity? Did you cry yourself to sleep the night when the news of his multiple affairs broke on SportsCenter late last November? Were you humiliated? Was it a blow to your self-esteem? Was it all the worse because you were the last to know?I didn’t think so. So, why did you think he owed you an apology? Just curious.I could be wrong, but I don’t believe Tiger Woods ever made any promises to us other than to play great golf. First of all, any promise more personal than that would imply that he knows you. He doesn’t. Second, it would imply that you know him. You don’t. Sorry to break this to you.Oh, I see. You just thought he should man up, is all. Well, wouldn’t the first thing a real man do in this situation is protect his family? Well then, why didn’t we let him? Sure, all we asked for was an apology … in a worldwide press conference, but what we really wanted was a confession of every sordid detail. And, when he didn’t give it to us, we said he sounded scripted. What did you expect from this guy anyway? You thought because he was good at golf he was bound to be a good husband and father? Yeah, I know it sounds funny, but those are the dots we connected.Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you never believed he owed you a personal apology, but he did at least owe it to the sponsors that paid him millions of dollars to endorse their products. It’s good of you to be looking out for them.But, let me get this right: You bought Nike golf equipment and a Buick with built-in Gatorade bottle-holders because you thought Tiger Woods had good morals? If that was truly the criteria, I would imagine that Mother Theresa would have her own line of active wear and General Motors would be rolling out the next incarnation of the Escalade available in the Mr. Rogers trim package.Besides, you can bet that if sponsors paid Tiger millions of dollars, they made billions in return. Do you really think Nike would like to take a mulligan and go back to 1996 to do it all over again and plant their $40 million seed money into a Fuzzy Zoeller marketing campaign to build their company’s golf image around instead? Sure, they hoped that the gravy train would roll on forever, but it didn’t. Oh, well. Call it a fantastic run and look for the next young athlete who you can create a temporary god out of. Talk about being unfaithful. Look, from what I can tell, Tiger never asked us to believe that he was anything more than a foul-mouthed, club-throwing, one-dimensional megalomaniac who had his priorities a little out of whack, but who happened to play golf better than anyone else who has ever tried to put the little white ball into the tin cup. Looking back through the highlight reels it is right there to see. At the time, though, we were too busy creating our own images of who we wanted him to be to notice who he was. Sure, he took the money. Who wouldn’t? Maybe you would really like him to apologize for that. But, you know as well as I do that it’s the American way, and to assail that is to assail ourselves. That’s not allowed in a gentleman’s game. The truth of the matter is that we don’t know much about celebrities. You can know as much about a person by how clean they keep their car as by how far they can drive a golf ball.Wouldn’t life be grand if we were all judged solely by one thing we do well, no matter how meaningless it is in the Grand Scheme? Have you seen Chuck ski Corkscrew? He hammered moguls all the way down and didn’t miss a turn. What a guy! Did you see the canvas Mary finished last week? She could sell if for three-grand, easy! She’s an incredible role model.Unfortunately, it’s tougher than that in the real world. People get judged on a lot more than what they rolled Saturday night at Lucky Lanes or how fast they ran the Rotary Club 10K. To be a real-life hero you have to do more than be the three-time club doubles champion. But, in our eyes, Tiger didn’t have to. That’s the different standard we held him to. So, if Tiger’s apology sounded hollow and scripted, I’m heartened. It means he did it only to get us off his back. He gave us what we deserved. Let’s recognize it, and from now on let’s try to be heroes ourselves instead of sofa surfing for them on Sunday afternoons. Had Tiger made a heartfelt apology to me I would have been certain that he just doesn’t get it. He hurt his wife. He hurt his kid. He hurt friends and relatives who really know him. He threw away things from them that are valuable. If instead of spending all of his efforts on getting those things back he says “sorry” to me so that hopefully I continue to use AT&T as my long-distance carrier, then to hell with him. He is worse than I thought.Finally, just maybe we should be the ones apologizing to Tiger Woods. We set him up for failure by making him into something no human being can ever be. Maybe we should apologize to our children for allowing them to idolize a man we don’t know and telling them all kinds of impossible “truths” about him. Maybe we should apologize to Tiger’s sponsors for buying products primarily because of who endorses them. Maybe, when we make all of these apologies, we should sound a little less scripted. Sincerely,I am not Tiger Woods
Roger Marolt really isn’t Tiger Woods and he’s got plenty of clubs to prove it with. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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