Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger Woods: The Conclusion

I don't want to turn my comments on the Tiger Woods saga into a sermon, but there are undeniable spiritual truths being illuminated by this situation that beg to be examined. First, though, I have to say I was not the least bit surprised when an undeniable bit of evidence of dillydallying came out. The voice mail message of Tiger pleading with a fine young fling to remove her name from her phone because his wife was checking on him was a total blow up. I just had this feeling that Tiger had indeed, had relations with women outside his marriage. He had to address this as he did on his web site, confessing to "transgressions". I think he did not have to go into details about his transgressions, just using such a word (a close synonym is "sin") indicated the seriousness of the matter. It also shows that Tiger acknowledges the seriousness of his deeds. I also respect his privacy in terms of wanting no details of the counseling and other steps the Woods family are taking to restore the marital relationship. Of course, if they split up, the chances of that happening privately are nil.

So this saga is over. Law enforcement has tagged Tiger with a fine, four points on his driving license and a civil violation of careless and imprudent driving. His indiscretion has become known to all, including his wife, and now he must work that out. His sponsors are all hanging in right now, but Tiger probably ought to make sure he stays off the National Enquirer front page for a while.

Finally, the folly of believing that you are invincible and can have it all is revealed again. Temptations for athletes are unreal. Male athletes find that women want to get close to the physical and social power they represent and the money and power that they own. Women with no real life of their own throw themselves at athletes all the time. And that feels good to a man. It feels better than at home, where their wife doesn't look so good all the time, and is busy caring for kids and the household. (This is not just confined to athletes; it happens to doctors, lawyers and politicians too.) It takes a certain amount of spiritual strength and stamina to stand up to this kind of pressure and say no. The environment is not going to help; (do not tell me that Tiger is the only golfer to get some on the side while out on the PGA Tour circuit) in fact, there may be peer pressure. It takes internal steel. It takes values that say that the vows made before God and witnesses during the marriage ceremony mean more than a momentary flash of pleasure and power. It also takes real support, from family, friends, and yes, faith. I pray that from now on, Tiger acknowledges his weaknesses, takes practical steps to stay out of tempting situations, and seeks wisdom from others.

He is still a great golfer, and I expect he'll continue to do well in his career. I just hope he can find peace in his personal life.

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