Monday, January 04, 2010

The Fall of Tiger Woods: A Time for Reflection

As the dust settles on the Tiger Woods scandal, we would do well to reflect on the issues that it raises. Not for the titillating details but for the lessons we might learn about human nature.

Unlike any athlete in history, the world is reacting to the scandal surrounding Tiger Woods. Much of this reaction goes beyond the curious and appears to be festered by cruelty, condemnation and self-righteousness.

As a response to this feeding frenzy at the emotional expense inflamed by the failures of a celebrity, there must be reflection from another perspective which allows character to be its foundation. But first, a brief look at the unprecedented athletic accomplishments of Tiger Woods.

Woods has won 93 tournaments; 71 on the PGA tour including five Masters, four PGA Championships and three U.S. Open Championships. In 2001, he became the first player ever to hold all four professional major championships at one time. Aside from these victories, he is referred to as the world’s first billion dollar athlete for his earnings on and off the course.

Even after his recent personal scandal, he was the runaway winner of the male Golfer of the Year in the December Golf Writers of America Awards. Woods was also selected on December 16, 2009 as the Athlete of the Decade by members of the Associated Press. But his recent earthquake of scandal has struck the legacy of Tiger Woods to its core. Fascination with his fall from grace has been international and despite this hysteria, reasonable minds must pause for reflection and consider the following:

  • Money and fame are fleeting and can never assure happiness
  • The family is sacrosanct and must be the focus of time, talent and trust.
  • It is very easy to have fair weather friends but when we are down the intentions of others quickly surfaces
  • Never judge a book by its cover…look beyond the externals which can be a cloak of superficiality and try to understand what is hidden in the heart and soul of others
  • A life of character must be deeply rooted on solid ground…if it is built on sand it will certainly crumble in time
  • Each and every person will always reap what they sow and there are always consequences for every action, even those which are believed to be done in private
  • Sooner rather than later, acts committed in the darkness will be shouted from the rooftops
  • A reputation can take a lifetime to build but it can be destroyed in the blink of an eye
  • When others fail, compassion and counsel, rather than cruelty and condemnation must be the order of the day
  • Failures are an opportunity for contrition, forgiveness, justice, growth and transformation
  • Never kick someone when they are down but always help others to rise up
  • Never rash judge another since we have not walked in their shoes
  • If one is without fault, only then do they have the right to cast the first stone

As the tragic headlines of the fall of Tiger Woods continue to unravel the details of his scandal, the qualities of understanding, wisdom, counsel and fortitude deserve cultivation and reflection.

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